Removing Hard Water Stains on Marble and Granite

Do you have annoying hard water stains on your beautiful marble and granite surfaces that are marring its magnificence? Luckily, these types of imperfections can be easily remedied.

What’s a hard water stain?

First of all, let’s identify what a hard water stain is, and what it’s not. It’s important to know the difference so you don’t use the wrong method to correct your stain, causing the surface additional damage.

A hard water stain is a buildup of mineral deposits on your kitchen countertops. It looks dull and feels slightly raised to the touch.

A hard water stain is not an etch mark, which can often be confused with each other. An etch mark is caused when an acidic agent (certain foods, citrus-based cleaning sprays, etc.) chemically reacts with the marble or granite and literally eats away the surface, causing a slight indentation that feels rough.

What causes hard water stains?

Hard water stains on your marble countertops are caused from hard water (water containing minerals including calcium and magnesium) being allowed to dry on the marble surface—as the water evaporates, the minerals are left behind. Once the minerals have adhered to the marble or granite surface, it becomes easier for more and more buildup to occur causing those tell-tale dull spots.

How can you remove water stains?

To remove hard water stains, try using cleaner specifically made for marble or granite countertops (not an all-purpose surface cleaner) and scrub with a dry towel. Ask your granite or marble provider which brands they recommend.

You may also try using a fine steel wool grade #0000 by wetting the stain and lightly rubbing the steel wool in a circular motion over the stain until you are able to buff out the dullness.

Another common remedy is to create a thick paste using water and baking soda. Rub the mixture onto the stain and rinse away with water. Dry with a clean, soft towel.

How can you prevent hard water stains?

Preventing hard water stains is easy, you just need to be conscientious about keeping your marble or granite countertops dry and clean.

The most obvious areas to have a buildup of hard water stains are around your sink where water is constantly splashing onto the sides and backsplash of your granite or marble countertops. Be sure to dry those areas completely with a dry towel following sink use. Similarly, don’t leave water to dry naturally anywhere on your countertops—even thin, wet smears will eventually start to dull your surfaces.

Is the stain still there?

If you have tried the various methods above to remove your hard water stains, it’s possible you have misidentified the stain and it is, in fact, an etch mark. But don’t worry, etch marks can also be removed. See our article on removing etch marks and you’ll be on your way to gorgeous countertops once again.