…and other similar stones such as travertine, terrazzo and limestone


First off, I want to go over the pH scale with you: the pH scale measures how acidic or how basic a substance is. The scale ranges from 0 to 14; a pH of 7 is neutral. Lower than a 7 is on the acid side and higher than a 7 is on the basic side.

Substances that contain acid, ammonia, and alcohol can etch marble, meaning that the finish or the shine is removed if you accidentally spill one of these three substances.


Here is a list of some surprising substances that can etch stone:


1. Sodas

Soda Spill on Limestone

Some colas contain phosphoric acid, which isn’t a bad thing in moderation because it gives sodas a nice tartness. Sodas typically have a pH level that ranges from 2.3 to 3.5: that’s pretty acidic, so be sure to use coasters or place mats when enjoying this beverage on a marble or limestone countertop.


2. Household Cleaners (with citrus or vinegar)


The presence of citrus usually indicates citric acid. While it does give a pleasant and fresh lemony aroma, citric acids such as lemon and orange do etch marble, limestone, travertine and terrazzo.

Etch Marks on Stone Countertop


Vinegar can be a great cleaner for removing mineral or calcium deposits, but fair warning: it is not an all-purpose cleaner. Vinegar is acidic and does etch natural stones.


If you’re searching for a neutral cleaner for the regular cleaning of stone surfaces, we recommend Lavenet.

Lavenet Neutral Stone Cleaner


3. Milk and Yogurt


Surprisingly, milk can have a pH level of about 6 or 6.5. It also contains lactic acid.

Yogurts are also acidic; some Greek yogurts can have a pH level of around 4.3. Enjoy this after school snack on a place mat. Also, if you happen to spill some milk, don’t cry: just clean as soon as possible with a neutralizing cleaner such as Lavenet.


4. Ammonia


It isn’t just acidic substances that etch natural stone. Even though Ammonia is an alkaline substance with a pH of around 11 to 12, it can also be corrosive.

Ammonia can be an effective cleaner on heavy dirt and grime, but use with caution: do not use on stone and do not mix with other products.


Acid Etch Mark on Stone

5. Toilet Bowl Cleaner


Let’s face it, we all need to use toilet bowl cleaners, but regular toilet bowl cleaners are very acidic, with a pH level of about 1 to 3. When using a regular bowl cleaner in your bathrooms with marble, travertine and terrazzo floors, be extremely careful not to drip on your stone floors.


Alternatively, you can use NABC, Non-Acid Bowl Cleaner: this product is a disinfecting bowl cleaner without the acid! You can thoroughly clean your toilet and sink bowls without the worry of etching the surrounding stone.


By the way, if you do have etch marks, International Stoneoworks can professionally restore your stone surface to remove etches, stains and surface scratches.