Help! Old stain has yellowed natural stone on my fireplace

by Debbie
Our house was built in the late 50's and it came with a stone fireplace. The sealer they used on the stone has turned yellow, giving the stone an ugly orange hue. The area below the insert stove is what the stone looks like without the sealer. For some reason it wasn't sealed. Would like to whitewash the stone or remove the stain without calling a mason. Any suggestions?
The stone below the stove is not stained. The stained stone has that ugly orange hue to it. Is there any way to cover over it or remove it altogether?
This is a close-up of the stained stone. I would love to see it in its natural state!
  12 answers
  • Susan E Susan E on Mar 31, 2015
    Whew! I have a small slab beneath my wood stove and cleaning it is a real project. I don't know what to use --- from the 50's probably something toxic. Have you tried mineral spirits? It will be a LOT of work to clean all this off.
  • Infomaster Infomaster on Mar 31, 2015
    Not knowing what caused the stain, not sure what will remove it. If it is mostly above the fire area, it could be either heat or smoke caused. Great non-toxic cleaners include white vinegar, or lemon juice. Sometimes, if a little stronger cleaner is needed, you can use vinegar and baking soda together. Generally these will not cause problems, but it is always good to use a new method on an inconspicuous spot to verify there is no bad reaction. If you can get it back to the original look, one thing that may help keep it that way, is to cover it with shellac; it sticks to most anything except wax, can be easily repaired if damaged, and easily removed if needed. And it is food safe. Good luck,
  • Susan E Susan E on Apr 01, 2015
    @info master This looks to me like old shellac that has yellowed. Do you know of a safe way to get shellac off? I have been reading about vinegar and V, along with salt, are wonder cleaners. Would never hurt to try.
  • Susan E Susan E on Apr 01, 2015
    I found this online--you might try a small spot using fingernail polish to see if the coating is lacquer then try the hydrogen peroxide tip: Follow these steps to remove lacquer and varnish stains from Alabaster, Marble:If any stain remains, make a poultice of water, 3% hydrogen peroxide, and a mild powder detergent.Apply the poultice to the stain and cover with a damp cloth to retard evaporation.When the stain has been bleached out, rinse thoroughly with water and wipe dry.
  • Susan E Susan E on Apr 01, 2015
    I would really like to know what works for you...this is a very cool fireplace!
  • Monica Monica on Apr 01, 2015
    FYI, I beleive anything you use to clean it that contains vinegar will yellow the grout. There are products you can purchase that will remove the sealer. You can use a product such as Neutral cleaner for stone then do a neutralizing rinse to neutralize acid residue from concrete, masonry, stone, tile, brick, and grout before sealing surface. It restores proper pH balance to improve sealer bond-ability.
    • Debbie Debbie on Apr 01, 2015
      @Monica Removing the sealer is what I want to do first - thanks for the feedback. Will look for a neutral cleaner for that.
  • Debbie Debbie on Apr 01, 2015
    Not yet
  • Infomaster Infomaster on Apr 03, 2015
    Shellac is the resin left by lac bugs (they use it for a community place to lay the eggs), mixed with alcohol. When I clean the brushes after using shellac, I use ammonia mixed in water, Within a short time, I rinse the brush, and the shellac is gone. If I were there, I would put a small amount of ammonia in an inconspicuous spot, and see what happens, My experience is removing / cleaning fresh shellac. But if your were to refinish something covered with shellac, after cleaning the area, all that is needed is to put on more shellac over the damaged area. The alcohol in the shellac softens the old shellac, and the old and new form a solid coat. If you try the ammonia, read the container for safety information.. I would like to know how it works out,
  • Oms5101411 Oms5101411 on Mar 21, 2016
    @Debbie, you have to first use paint remover, then take it from there, might help?
  • you can easily white wash it! Mineral paints aer great for this!

  • Deb K Deb K on Nov 02, 2022

    Hi Debbie, hope this helps you out.

  • Mogie Mogie on Nov 04, 2022

    Step 1

    Fill a bucket with 1 gallon warm water, 1/4 cup dish soap and 1 cup oxygen bleach.

    Step 2

    Line the floor underneath the stone fireplace with dropcloths to prevent cleaning solution from seeping into your floor.

    Step 3

    Dip a cleaning brush into the bucket, and scrub the solution into the fireplace stone. Continue scrubbing, dipping the brush back into the solution as needed as you work your way across the fireplace.

    Step 4

    Rinse off the brush and rinse out the bucket. Refill the bucket with clean warm water.

    Step 5

    Drench a towel with the water and then wring the water out slightly. Wipe the towel over the whole stone fireplace to remove all of the cleaning residue, and let the stone air dry.