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How to Remove a PVE Oil Stain On Natural Stone

Q. One of our AC repair techs accidentally dripped an oil called PVE (polyvinylether) on a client’s natural stone. The stone was already there when the clients bought the home, so they aren’t sure what kind of stone it is, but we can tell you that it is porous. What specific poultice recipe should we use to remove this stain?

A. Try using diatomaceous earth. It can be mixed with a number of different chemicals to use in different preparations. 

Now, what should you mix with the poultice powder? We have several suggestions for you.

What product do your HVAC technicians use to clean this oil off their tools? Consider mixing the powder with this product, but only if it is not acidic. Acidic substances chemically react with the calcium in natural stone, resulting in etch damage.

If you are not able to use the HVAC tool cleaner, you can try using a mild, all-natural degreaser. For example, there is a commercial janitorial product with D-limonene in it. Some paint strippers also have this ingredient, and they are marketed as "natural or green." 

If you don’t get the results you want, you can try mixing the poultice powder with acetone or a butyl-based degreaser. The ingredients will list this as "butoxyethanol" or something similar. This substance is commonly used in high-powered concrete cleaners. The heavy duty "purple" cleaners are normally butyl. Just be careful and use gloves/wear glasses as the pH will be very high. Also make sure that the dye that is added doesn’t make your poultice too colored, because it can be transferred to the stone. Add some water for consistency and to lighten the color of the poultice, if needed. 

Regardless of your poultice ingredients, it should be the consistency of peanut butter. Put plastic on the poultice mixture and wait 12-24 hours. After that, remove the plastic and let it completely dry. 

If you get a stain to "move" or lighten, that is good news. This process can be repeated as many times as necessary to completely remove the stain. 

If you are unable to remove the stain and if the stone is not sealed, ask if your client will allow you to apply a color enhancing impregnator. Apply it up to and around the stain but not on it. This will help the customer avoid other stains in the future and it should blend the darkened stain with the surrounding area. 

Good luck. Oil is a tricky one and has to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

To learn more about mixing and applying a poultice, visit our Stain Removal Application. And of course, if you feel like you are in over your head and would rather entrust this difficult stain to a professional stone restoration contractor, then Find A Pro in your area.
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