How to Care for Marble
Marble is one of the most popular and beautiful of natural stones for home decorations. Marble takes some extra love and TLC to keep it looking gorgeous. Below are some basic marble counter and tile care tips to keep your marble in its best shape.
Marble is most recognized for its gorgeous veining, but also for its porous surface that is susceptible to easy etching and staining. If you do it right marble can actually be pretty easy to care for.
Clean often especially right after acids come in contact
Anything acidic will etch the surface of the marble so it is vey important to keep it as clean as possible. Etching on marble happens as a result of substances like lemon juice, alcohol, and tomato sauces/juices landing on the surface and not being wiped up as soon as they come in contact with the surface. The acid begins to break down the calcium carbonate in the stone and this creates permanent spots that look dull , dark or like rings on the surface.
A good way to tell if marble is the right choice for you is to visit a bar, restaurant, or other public area with marble and see what a well used marble surface looks like to see if it is something you will still love.
Avoid Acidic Cleaning Solutions
Many household cleaners even the ones you make in your home can contain acids. The MIA (Marble Institute of America) suggests not to clean marble with any cleaner that has vinegar, lemon, bleach and any other acid. The best way to clean marble is with a mild soap and water. This is especially good for kitchen counters.
Warm soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge or cloth is the best method for a quick marble cleaning. Ideally this could be done once a day, and of course anything spilled or splashed should be wiped off a marble surface right away.
- ** Something to remember: a honed surface marble is made to have a duller finish so it will already be etched on purpose, this is popular for flooring so acids will not affect it, but honed marble is more porous and stains easier. Marbles that are polished are more stain resistant, but are very easy to etch.
The best way to reduce stains and etching is with a good quality sealer. A sealant is a coating that is applied to give an extra protective barrier to the surface. You can have a professional sealing done and when you do ask for advice on how often it will need to be re-applied.
Sealing does not give an excuse to let things sit on the surface of the marble, it does give more protection so you can wipe things up easier without a stain.
Oil- based: these would be stains caused by things with oils such as grease, cooking oil, and cosmetics. Clean gently with a soft liquid cleanser, household detergent, ammonia, or mineral spirits.
Organic: stains from natural substances like coffee, food, tea, fruit, etc. Clean with a solution of 12 percent hydrogen peroxide mixed with just a few drops of ammonia.
Rust: These are pretty tough to remove you will need a poultice. Sometimes rust stains are permanent.
Smoke: find a stone professional ( i.e. Where you purchased the marble) and purchase a smoke removal product.
Water spots/rings: get some dry #0000 steel wool and buff them out.
Acidic Substances that cause Etching and Staining: these would be items like milk, fruit juice, alcoholic drinks, etc. First, treat the area for staining. If the stain is successfully removed wet the surface and sprinkle marble polishing powder on. Rub the polishing powder in using a damp cloth or buffing pad on a low speed electric polisher. Continue to polish until the shine is restored. If the etching is too deep you may have to say goodbye to a polished surface and have honing done.
Read more: How to Clean Hard Surfaces
Try applying a poultice or cleaning paste. You can purchase a pre-made, ready for water poultice at any store that carries natural stone supplies. Mix your poultice according to directions on the package and apply to the stain with a quarter to half inch thickness beyond the stain. Cover it with plastic wrap held down with painter’s tape and let it go to work for 24 to 48 hours. Remove the wrap and let dry and as the poultice dries the stain should be pulled out of the stone. When the poultice is dry remove it and rinse with distilled water. Finish by buffing dry with a soft cloth. You can repeat the process if necessary.
Marble Floor Care
The Marble Institute suggests dust mopping marble floors often and using a phosphate-free mild and biodegradable liquid dish soap/powder, or soap made for stone to clean. A soapless cleaner will reduce streaks and film. After washing marble floors always rinse with water and dry right away. If you have marble tile be careful not to use grout or tile cleaners on marble. Also avoid using vacuums with older metal parts and wheels that can scratch.