Stone-cold facts about cleaning marble

July 28, 2015

Marble may seem indestructible, but it's actually porous, stains very easily and is not impervious to harsh treatment.Regular maintenance will help keep it in top shape.

Stone-cold facts about cleaning marble

1. Be gentle

  • In general, clean marble with a gentle, pH-neutral liquid soap (not detergent), and take it easy.
  • Mix about 30 ml (2 tsp) of mild liquid soap in 2 litres (2 quarts) of water.
  • Using a soft sponge or a sponge mop if you're cleaning a marble floor, wipe the marble clean.
  • Follow with two to three water rinses, depending on how soapy the cleaning mixture is.
  • Dry with a soft cloth.
  • Light grime can also be removed by wiping with a cloth dampened with mineral turpentine, then washing with soapy water.
  • Rinse even more thoroughly if using this method on a kitchen counter.

2. Regular maintenance

  • Clean marble floors regularly, before dirt and grit have a chance to scratch the surface, and wipe up spills immediately.
  • As with a wood surface, avoid putting drinking glasses directly on marble, which can leave water rings.
  • Marble will also quickly be etched by the acids in foods such as tomatoes, citrus, vinegar, wine and fruit juice.
  • Water should bead on the marble. If the marble appears to be absorbing liquid, it's not sealed properly and is susceptible to staining and etching.

3. Reseal annually

  • Resealing marble floors is as easy as waxing a floor.
  • Buy a stone or marble sealer from a home improvement store, builder's supply, specialty cleaning supplies store or from a supplier of stone floors and countertops.
  • Take a sponge mop, sponge or rag and cover the entire marble surface, including corners and the splash back.
  • There's no need to strip the floor before you seal.

4. Protect surfaces

  • Marble counters or vanities should also be protected against everyday wear and tear.
  • One way is to impregnate the stone with a protective stain repellent, which will make the marble water and oil repellent.
  • Clean the surface thoroughly first with a marble cleaner, to remove grease, oil and any other stains.

5. Surface stains

  • To clean surface stains on marble, it is best to use a specialist marble-care product, because marble is very easy to damage.
  • If the surface you're cleaning is stained but not of great value, you can try removing stains with a thick paste made of bicarbonate of soda and water.
  • Apply the paste to the stain.
  • Cover the paste with a sheet of plastic to keep the paste damp, and let it sit for 10–15 minutes before wiping it off.
  • Rinse with warm water and dry.
  • Repeat the procedure if the first application doesn't fully remove the stain.
  • If stains still remain, it's time to look for specific marble-care products or call a professional marble restorer.

6. What not to use

  • Never use lemon, vinegar or any other acidic ingredient on marble. Acids will eat through the protective finish and damage the stone.
  • Avoid ammonia as well.
  • Abrasive cleaners should not be used either, since the grit can scratch and dull the shiny marble finish.
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