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How to Remove Oil Paint From Stone

Irene A. Blake

Individually, oil and paint stains on stone both pose difficult cleaning obstacles to overcome. Porous stone readily absorbs and diffuses oil, "darkening" the stone's surface color. Cracks, crevices, and pores trap paint, speckling or mottling the stone.

To remove oil, you must use a solvent or chemical detergent that breaks up the oil. To remove paint, you must break up the pigments and flush the particles from the stone. Although a combination stain from oil paint poses additional difficulties, it isn’t impossible to remove. Simply apply the same cleaning methods that you would use to remove these substances individually.

  1. Remove as much excess oil paint as possible using a plastic putty knife or spoon. Place your tool at the edge of the paint, push forward slightly in an angled scraping motion and "lift” the paint with your tool. This excess oil paint removal method—scraping and lifting paint in short segments—helps stop the paint from spreading across more of the stone’s surface as you clean. Repeat this action until you have removed the bulk of the excess paint.

  2. Blot the stone surface with a paper towel or lint-free textured microfiber cloth, after you've removed most of the excess, to absorb/lift any paint trapped in cracks, crevices or pores. Place a clean textured microfiber cloth over the stained area and rub the back of the cloth with a soft-bristled brush so that the bristles push the cloth strands into the tiny or narrow spaces.

  3. Apply a solvent such as rubbing alcohol onto the stone surface to help break up/dissolve the pigments and oil in the paint.

  4. Rinse away the solvent and excess paint. Spray water on the area and blot with a paper towel/microfiber cloth or blot with a wet textured microfiber cloth.

  5. Wash the stone with a mild liquid dish detergent that contains chemicals that break up oil. Gently scrub with a soft-bristled brush. For difficult stains, mix baking soda or pumice powder into the detergent—the amount dependent on the size of the stain—and lightly scrub in a circular fashion across the stone.

  6. Rinse away any remaining paint or detergent residue with water. To remove detergent and paint residues from cracks, crevices or pores, use hydrogen peroxide ("3 percent solution") or carbonated water.

  7. Blot the stone lightly one last time with a clean and dry microfiber cloth and then air-dry. Apply a coat of polish or lacquer after the stone surface has completely dried, if needed.

  8. Warning

    Never use paper towels to "wipe" excess oil paint from stone as paper towels don't easily lift oil paint from a surface and can cause paint smearing. Always test your solvent, dish detergent and/or hydrogen peroxide on an inconspicuous area of the stone before cleaning—especially if dealing with stained or painted stone/stone tile—as these cleaners can fade or remove pre-applied stains, paints, gloss coats and stone or tile protective treatments. In addition, acids, mineral-dissolving chemicals and other substances in dish detergents can dissolve stone. These substances etch stone surfaces or break down the stone into a "powdered" form.