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Why Are There Rings on Marble Countertop?


Marble is elegant, yet delicate. After some wear and tear, you may start to notice rings on marble countertop. In this blog post we’ll explore:

  • What is marble etching
  • What causes it
  • How to remove and prevent etching
Rings on marble countertop
Image of etch marks on a marble counter

What is marble etching?

These rings on marble countertop are called etches and are a common problem with regular use. Etches diminish the natural beauty of the marble surface and reduce the appearance of your countertops.

From certain lights and angles, these marble rings can be quite visible!

Etch marks look like watermarks or rings on marble countertop. The first thing you should know about marble etching is: Etches are not stains

An etch is an actual change of the natural stone itself. It’s not a discolouration but a dulling of the marble’s surface. This is why the rings on marble countertop often appear lighter than the natural stone’s color.

Etches differ from stains in this way, as you usually only notice them from certain angles when the sunlight hits your marble countertop in the right way.  

marble ethes
Image of marble etching.

What causes marble etching?

Marble is a delicate and soft stone. It’s part of what makes it so beautiful wherever it is in your home! But because it’s delicate, it’s prone to etching. 

This is mainly because of its calcium carbonate makeup. The acid reacts with calcium carbonate and eats away a tiny bit of the stone’s surface, creating etch marks. Any splash of lemon juice, any drippy jar of tomato sauce can cause subtle rings on marble countertop. Etch marks can appear a mere seconds after spilling! That’s how delicate the surface is. 

Common causes of marble etching and stains are: bleach, vinegar and other common cleaners, citrus and citrus-based cleaners, alcohol and alcohol-based cleaners, sodas and fizzy drinks, coffee, cooking oil, and more. The more exposure your countertop has to these types of liquids, the more likely you are to notice etching, marks that can become more pronounced with time and without the proper stone care.

Marble Etching and Stains
Image of some of the common causes for marble etching

How to remove marble etching

At Marble Rescue, we understand accidents happen and that there’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to caring for your natural stone surfaces.

That’s why we’ve put together a series of blog posts, DIY solutions and step-by-step guides to help you learn how to clean, repair and protect the natural beauty of your stone.

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY: Before attempting any treatments on your marble make sure the etch is not a stain. This is an important distinction as etches and stains get treated differently on marble surfaces. Learn more here.

If you identified the problem is marble etching, then check out our blog post with a step-by-step guide for how to remove rings on marble counter in 3 simple steps using the Marble Refinishing Kit.

Best practices to care for your marble

  1. Prevent marble etching by reducing contact with acidic or caustic liquids and cleaners with the marble surface. Treat your marble surface like you would a fine wood finish. Use coasters and cutting boards.
  2. Clean up spills immediately! Clean-, maintain- and polish- marble surfaces often. Use the R-311 Countertop Cleaner to clean up spills and for regular cleaning and maintenance. 
  3. Before attempting treatment, make sure the etch is not a stain. An important distinction is that etches and stains get treated differently on marble surfaces. Learn the different treatments.
  4. Treat marble etching with the Marble Refinishing Kit. Easy to use DIY solution for removing rings, watermarks and small scratches from your marble surfaces. Works great for smaller surface area etches of 9 sq ft or less. 
  5. When in doubt, call an expert! 


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