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How to Remove Discoloration Caused By Hand Soap

Q. Discolored granite near sink. Darker near soap dispenser. It’s obvious that we didn’t seal it properly because it was perfect when it was installed 4 years ago. I tried doing couple DYI solutions to remove Paris of plaster w water mix and then baking soda w water mix another time. Not sure what else to do. Not sure if repair and restoration is something we can afford. Help!

A. There are two possible reasons why you are seeing discoloration. First, many brands of liquid soap contain dyes or colorants to give the product a more attractive appearance. Blue, green, or turquoise dye might be the culprit here. Another possibility is that the discoloration is coming from a soap made from a high fat source, like coconut oil. Natural "soaps" are saponified fats, that is, natural fat with lye added, because the moisturizing properties keep the hand soap from drying out consumers’ skin. This darkened area could be the result of oil acting as a natural "color enhancing" or darkening agent. 

Either way, this is a tough one.

There are commercial poulticing products that might help, but the depth to which this has settled will likely not allow enough of it to budge for you. Even so, it would not hurt to give poulticing a try. Please refer to our Stain Removal Application for specific directions on poulticing, including a video demonstration. If poulticing results in any lightening at all, then keep at it, because sometimes poulticing requires multiple applications. Hopefully, poulticing will draw all the discoloration from the stone.

If poulticing does not achieve the desired result, we highly recommend hiring a professional restoration contractor (click here to find a PRO near you) to perform the following: Hone the entire counter top. Use a non-enhancing, impregnating sealer for the darkened area, applying it with fine brushes to literally paint the place where the two areas meet. Then use a color-enhancing, impregnating sealer on all of the surrounding stone, but not on the darkened area. This method will not truly fix the problem, but it may mask or diminish the problem to your satisfaction.
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