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Unread 07-31-2016, 07:30 PM   #1
ragtop69gs
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Rust stained tumbled marble shower.

With the help of all the resident expert helpers here on the forum I tiled my master bath 9 years ago, thanks to all who offered advice.

Now I have a problem, Our water softener died and left rust staining on our tumbled marble shower What would the experts advise to use to remove the staining ? I looked at using CLR but the instructions say to NOT USE ON MARBLE Might Oxalic acid do the job without harming the marble? If not, then what will do it?

Thanks in advance for all offered solutions

Jay
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Unread 07-31-2016, 07:54 PM   #2
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Any acid will permanently etch marble.

Got a pic?

In the meanwhile, start preparing yourself to replace the marble and the water softener.
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Unread 07-31-2016, 08:06 PM   #3
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I've used acid based cleaners on stone with pretty good results. Odds are your stone is already etched to some degree anyway. I don't think it would hurt to try it in a small area first. You can follow with a baking soda wash afterwards to neutralize any acid and water rinse.
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Unread 08-01-2016, 06:31 AM   #4
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A picture may help us see whats going on-
If the rust is topical or caused by something outside of the stone itself it can be straight forward to remove it.(on the surface)
Think of the surface of tumbled marble like a microcopic english muffin.
Lots of nooks and crannies-the rust is probably settled there
On a tumbled marble you can use some light abrasives to sand or hone out the rust. Nylo-grit or diamond brushes should work fine-you just have to be able to match the finish you have.
White marbles can contain ferrous minerals which over time can oxidize from within causing internal rust which can be very hard to remove.
I would guess your stone is a tumbled travertine or bottacino and it will be much easier to remove the rust using abrasives.
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Unread 08-02-2016, 01:54 PM   #5
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The last picture shows outside the shower too.

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Last edited by jgleason; 08-07-2016 at 09:07 AM.
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Unread 08-02-2016, 02:02 PM   #6
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The softener has been dealt with and is now working as it should. Replacing the tile is not an option I'm willing to entertain

Why not CLR on marble? Is it also an acid?
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Unread 08-03-2016, 08:21 AM   #7
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CLR is a gycolic and sulfamic acids which may damage your marble.
The random marble pieces look a little hazy and could use some refinishing.
I dont really see rust stains on the surface.If there is an indication of that
abrasive nylo grit brushes will help remove it along with any soap film and or mineral deposits. You may need to color enhance after the brushes are used.
If you do this chemically or with cleaning products I would recommend MB-3 and MB-26 Stain Scrub from MB Stone or something similar then following up with a color enhancing sealer.
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Unread 08-03-2016, 09:07 AM   #8
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I would not use CLR, it's much too corrosive even at very dilute concentrations.

I also wouldn't use oxalic acid, there are some toxicity concerns with it and it's also toxic to aquatic life (if you've got a septic tank, really, really don't do this!)

If your tile was well sealed, most of it is probably at the surface. Mechanically remove the surface rust (another potential is to use baking soda and a scrub brush).

If there is still staining in the marble, you could try scrubbing the tiles with a lemon. Yes, this may etch the tile some...but it's tumbled marble, so it's already got a rough finish on it, i doubt you'd notice. Try it on one tile first that's in a corner. This should also help with your grout by the way. Make sure you clean it off very thoroughly, obviously.

If that doesn't work, try a 1-10 vinegar solution, and then slowly increase the concentration until it starts to work.
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Unread 08-03-2016, 02:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bethg79 View Post
I would not use CLR, it's much too corrosive even at very dilute concentrations.

I also wouldn't use oxalic acid, there are some toxicity concerns with it and it's also toxic to aquatic life (if you've got a septic tank, really, really don't do this!)

If your tile was well sealed, most of it is probably at the surface. Mechanically remove the surface rust (another potential is to use baking soda and a scrub brush).

If there is still staining in the marble, you could try scrubbing the tiles with a lemon. Yes, this may etch the tile some...but it's tumbled marble, so it's already got a rough finish on it, i doubt you'd notice. Try it on one tile first that's in a corner. This should also help with your grout by the way. Make sure you clean it off very thoroughly, obviously.

If that doesn't work, try a 1-10 vinegar solution, and then slowly increase the concentration until it starts to work.
Thank you both for your suggestions. I just ordered up a 1.4 Oz. tube of Alpha RSR-2000 which claims to clean rust off of marble without damaging the marble, if it works as they claim, I'll buy it in larger quantity.

There is definitely rust staining but it was hard to capture in the photos. If you compare the tile color outside the shower with the tile between the drain and back wall the stain becomes more apparent.

The stone was treated with stonetech enhancer pro and then used their sealer after. But the last treatment was 5 years ago.

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Last edited by ragtop69gs; 08-03-2016 at 03:32 PM.
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Unread 08-03-2016, 02:54 PM   #10
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I also have some diamond impregnated 3M scuff pads for my random orbital sander.

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Unread 08-04-2016, 04:29 PM   #11
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You will want to be careful with the alpha product-It does remove rust but can leave a purple stain on anything porous. In your case the grout lines-
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Unread 08-04-2016, 08:44 PM   #12
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Thanks for that warning Stu. Their website says the purple stain is the result of leaving the product on too long, it can be removed with hydrogen peroxide.
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Unread 08-05-2016, 07:12 PM   #13
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I know that scrubbing tile and marble is a tough job. A few years ago I found a round scrub brush that connects to a cordless drill. Makes the scrubbing much easier. I found several different ones on Amazon. Just do a search for 'drill brush".
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