6 Reasons Why Water Stain Marble Plus Tips On How To Fix

Why Does Water Stain Marble?

Marble is a beautiful and timeless stone that is used for countertops, tabletops, flooring, bathroom shower/bath surfaces, and more. Well, in this article, I’m going to focus my discussion on exactly what you need to know about why water stains marble surfaces.

So why does water stain marble? Water staining is a common problem for marble surfaces. Marble is a stone that can be stained very easily with water. This will especially happen if water is allowed to sit on the surface of the marble for a long extended period of time due to how porous marble is. The most common water stain is usually caused by water that contains calcium and magnesium often known as hard water.

To learn more reasons why water stains marble, keep reading this article.

Why Does Water Stain Marble – Details

1. Marble Is A Porous Material

Marble is a porous material made mostly of minerals and silica. This creates a variety of unique effects, from the beautiful variegated finishes found in some natural marbles to the intricate patterns created by the varnish used to protect them.

Marble is a natural stone and like most other natural stones, it is very porous. This means marble contains very tiny pores on its surface which naturally allows it to breathe.

But at the same time, this unique feature of breathability also makes marbles highly susceptible to staining. So doing, water and other liquids can easily seep into the pores of the marble and cause it to stain.

While water staining marble this way may seem like a serious issue, this may be the beginning of even greater damages to come like rust and other oxidation-resulting stains.

That said, two factors should be considered when choosing marble surfaces – that is, the type of marble and its sensitivity to moisture.

2. Marble Will Stain Because It Hasn’t Been Sealed

Marble is beautiful and a popular choice for home decoration. However, most people don’t think about the fact that something as simple as water can stain on the marble.

This opens up the opportunity for several other damages to occur on the marble which may even lead to costly repairs if not taken care of promptly.

Due to this nature marble has, most marble surfaces are sealed with a special varnish that helps to repel water, grease, and other types of stains.

Sealing the marble surface does not only repel liquid from its surface but is also perfect for concealing or hiding spots or scuff marks and blemishes.

Without a good marble or natural sealant on the surface of marble, water will be able to easily stain it.

3. Water Will Stain Marble If There Are Cracks Or Gaps

Marble will sometimes have cracks and gaps which can allow water to get into the marble and cause stains. This will often happen when the marble is poorly installed. Also, marble is generally not a hardwearing material when compared to other natural stones like granite, quartz, or quartzite.

So when it is put to very serious use or over-worked, it will begin to develop cracks, chips, and etches that can allow water to seep into the marble and cause water stains.

What happens is water will begin to find its way into the crack, gaps, or crevices of the marble wall, floor, or countertop and will allow water to penetrate and spread throughout the stone causing it to warp and ultimately lose its shine.

Water stains will not always appear as a typical watermark but will sometimes appear as very tiny specks. If you’re lucky, such water stains will appear and disappear pass after a short time.

But all in all, marble will get stained by water when gaps, crack, and chips are not timely sealed to keep water away from seeping into the marble.

4. Extreme Weather Can Cause Water To Stain Marble

Extreme weather conditions are one of the common things that cause water to stain the marble. This is very common when on outdoor marble.

Outdoor marbles are often subjected to a combination of factors like humidity and temperature. What actually catalysts the type of water staining you get on your marble is the quick change in weather conditions.

Even if you clean your marble floors regularly, extreme weather conditions can cause even the slightest water on the surface of the marble to quickly stain.

For example, extremely humid conditions below 40 degrees that prevail for more than 12 hours can cause water stains to appear on natural stone surfaces.

One of the best ways to avoid this is by covering up your marble surfaces very well or if possible put your marble into a safe storage unit.

Not only will humidity cause water to stain on your marble but also ice from freezing water will also factor into the equation making for faster degradation of your natural stone.

5. Contaminants In Water Will Cause Stains On Marble

Water may sometimes contain certain contaminants that can cause it to stain natural stone surfaces like marble, granite, etc.

For example, water can stain marble when there are microscopic algae living in the water. Although water is mostly colorless, the presence of algae or mold living in the water can produce slightly colored stains that are often seen on marble surfaces like floors.

The way this will happen is tiny molecules in the water begin to move around and repel one another. As a result, tiny imperfections on the surface area left by previous water are left unobstructed, causing the marbles to appear more vibrant due to the overall appearance of the natural stone.

Also, the presence of water contaminants like sulfur, iron, manganese, etc can also cause the marble to have some discoloration that can range from red, blue, green, yellow, or brown.

While most water staining on marble may be attributed to dirt, this isn’t always the case. Essentially, most stains on marble will often be caused by certain minerals that may exist in the water that comes into contact with the marble.

6. Hard Water Will Cause Marble To Stain

Water spots are defined as water deposits built up on your marble surface. This occurs when water containing large amounts of mineral deposits, like calcium and magnesium (commonly called hard water), is allowed just about enough time to dry on the surface of the natural stone.

After the water dries and evaporates it leaves behind mineral deposits on the marble surface that is often seen as stains.

The containing mineral in the hard water after it has started to build upon the marble surface will now pave way for more hard water minerals to build up to your marble surface.

What worsens the entire situation in the case of marble countertops around washing basins is when the mineral in the hard water builds up around bar soap or any type of soap.

This can result in the formation of soap scum which you do not want to deal with.

How Do Water Stains On Marbles Look Like?

Water stains on marbles look like different things to different people. While some people will see only a color variation, others will see a slightly different hue appearing after the marble has come into contact with water.

The truth is that marbles can vary in color from one piece to the next and depending on how much water comes into contact with them, they can even look different after just one day!

As we have learned, water stains on marble will essentially be a result of a combination of factors including temperature, moisture, and even the type of substances present (for example: on your hands) when you rub your hands over them.

Marble will generally look dull and feel slightly raised to the touch after it has gotten water stains or water damages.

Water, like any liquid, will leave behind microscopic stains on most surfaces including marble which may be often very hard to see. In most cases, water will stain marble due to the absorption of minerals within the marble itself.

If left unattended, the water stains on the marble can gradually become more and more noticeable and difficult to remove with time.

Important Tips On How To Remove Water Stains On Marble

Water stains on marble are generally hard to clean off but there are some important tips you can use to improve the appearance of your marble surfaces.

While consulting a professional may be one of the smartest things to do to help solve the issue of water stains on your marble, if you happen to DIY the removal of water stains on your marble, here are some tips you can use to remove water stains without damaging the surface of your marble.

Ask a professional, but also consider using a polishing cloth and toothpaste with a few drops of ammonia on them. Use a soft rag to mop up any remaining water that may have collected underneath the stain. Allow the marble to air dry before you continue.

has a lot to do with how your stains react with moisture in the air. Water droplets remain suspended in the air even after it has been dissolved by the humidity in your air conditioning system. As a result, stains left behind by droplets of water on marble can remain visible for hours, even after the rest of the marble has been removed from the area.

using an anti-water stain cleaner, a pre-stained cloth, or using paper towels on a regular basis may be sufficient to remove the stains without too much fuss.

Marble Qualities

Although it is true that marble is a durable natural stone, it is less hard-wearing than other types of stone surfaces, such as granite or quartz. So you need to take extra care when dealing with hard water stains. By taking care, you will prevent damage to the stone you are trying to clean. Depending on the color and finish of your marble, hard water stains may be more or less visible. 

Cleaning Routine

The best way, of course, to manage hard water stains on a marble surface is to prevent them from building up in the first place. This is easier said than done when life gets in the way! A hectic family kitchen can quickly experience a build-up of hard water deposits that mark a marble surface. If possible, though, ensure that water is wiped and absorbed from the surface at the first opportunity.

Tackling Build Up

For a particularly bad build-up of hard water stains, you can try scrubbing the stains with 0000 steel wool. This is an extremely fine material which means that your surface should not be permanently scuffed. After delicate scouring, you will need to thoroughly clean and polish the area. This will ensure that you retain the signature glossy shine to your worktop. 

Choosing a Cleaning Solution

High-gloss finishes in any stone can be dulled by acidic or strong cleaning solutions, as they create micro-abrasions on the surface. So although you may not be able to feel or see any damage, a dull patch can appear. Different varieties of stone require different cleaners. So when you invest in a specialist cleaning solution, make sure that it is designed to suit marble. This will ensure that the product works to remove hard water stains from marble specifically. 

The Importance of Drying

It is the extended contact of water with a marble surface that causes the build-up of hard water deposits and limescale. Even while you are taking measures in how to remove hard water stains from marble, it is prudent to take preventative steps too. Regularly wash, dry, and polish the whole surface to ensure a flawless sheen to your worktop.

Home Remedies

Many homemade cleaners include white vinegar as an ingredient. However, vinegar is generally best avoided on marble surfaces as it is acidic. As an alternative, baking soda is safe to use for short exposure times. Rub the baking soda into the hard water stain, rinsing straight away, and then dry. 


Especially around a draining area, you may want to consider protecting your marble work surface from lingering puddles of drained water.

This will depend on your lifestyle pressures. For a busy kitchen that relies on crockery being left to drain, consider some kind of enclosed silicon or ceramic draining board. As a more long-term measure, those in hard water areas may want to look into getting a water softener installed.

It is important not to use harsh chemicals when cleaning marble due to the possibility of harmful chemicals mixing with the stone and causing problems

Removing water stains from marble will take time and patience. It is best to avoid using solvents as they can remain on the marble and damage the surface if not removed immediately. Use acetone, warm water, and a soft rag to remove the stains.


Hi! I’m Kobby, one of the co-owners of favoredstoneguides.com and the newest house owner in town. I’m a huge fan of most things natural. Over here on this site, I'm happy to share all the exciting hacks, tricks, and tips I have learned and continue to learn each day about taking care of natural stones.

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