Best Cleaning Products for Honed Marble Shower

QUESTION:

How do I clean honed marble counter tops and travertine shower?


ANSWER:

Cleaning marble counter tops and a travertine shower is simple.

The main thing is to use only products safe for cleaning marble & travertine to avoid etching or other damage caused by common name-brand household cleaners.

Also, use non-abrasive, soft-bristle brushes/pads (like nylon... not green scrub pad) or soft clean cloths.

For general cleaning use Granite Countertop & Marble Cleaning spray daily or as needed.

For soap scum (which is a soft, whitish build-up) use this Soap Scum / Hard Water Remover. This product is also excellent for hard water deposits (which are more of a crusty whitish build-up).

Really this is the best product for "regular" shower cleaning since soap scum and hard water are constant issues.

For mold and mildew removal use this Bathroom MOLD & MILDEW Remover.... it's excellent.

Make sure to turn on the exhaust fan and to leave the shower door/curtain cracked open to allow for air circulation to dry quickly.

Also, using a squeegee to wipe excess water off the walls after each shower is good to minimize soap scum, hard water, mold and mildew.

You should clean marble and travertine showers at a minimum of every two weeks, but weekly is best to keep mildew and bacteria at bay.

Also, follow these Marble Cleaning: Do's & Dont's.

FYI... you can save some money and get all the products suggested above (plus a squeegee!) in this Bath & Shower Cleaning Kit.

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Shower Stains In Tumbled White Marble Mosaic

by Lizzy
(London)


QUESTION:

I have installed a white tumbled marble mosaic in the shower room.

After four months installed various discolorations seem to show in various places (on the wall and on the floor.)

We thought water had seeped in from the back due to a water problem because the tile doesn’t seem to dry out or at least the discoloration seem to stay.

It also seem strange to me the discoloration is grouped in various patches without a logical explanation why it happens in these places and not in others.

What would be a solution to restore the original colour and prevent this from happening in the future? I have included a picture. Many thanks. Lizzy

ANSWER:

Thanks for the picture Lizzy... that really helps.

Unfortunately, looks like you have water behind your tumbled marble tiles. Water is probably coming in through cracks and gaps (possibly not too obvious) in the grout, thus the random distribution.

It could be a plumbing problem as well, but much more likely a faulty installation. Notice how the "stains" are all below the shower head and where the falling water hits on the ground.

This is not a sealing issue. Water is seeping in and getting trapped behind the tiles creating an area of constant moisture. The tiles absorb the moisture and that discolors the tumbled marble.

Definitely get your installer back to correct the problem. It's almost certainly their fault. It may be solved by re-grouting the problem areas, but since it is occurring in multiple places, you may have to rip it all out and start over.

This is one of the most frustrating marble shower problems encountered because there's no simple (even if expensive) solution. I hope you get it worked out.

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Cleaning Grout In Tumbled Marble Mosaic Shower

by Michelle
(Toronto, Ontario)

QUESTION:

I have pale green tumbled marble mosaic floor tile for my shower. The grout is dirty.

I was told not to put anything but mild cleanser on the marble. How do I clean the grout without using a cleanser?

What product do you recommend for cleaning the tiles? Can I use a diluted bleach solution?

ANSWER:

Using products specially formulated for cleaning marble is good advice.

The reason is that marble (and sister stones travertine and limestone) is sensitive to acids (many foods and drinks) and alkaline substances (most cleaners) and will "etch" or corrode on contact creating dull spots and discolorations.

Etching is not as visible on tumbled marble tile (vs. a polished surface), so you may not notice the damage right away (especially when a solution is applied uniformly over an entire surface), however, tumbled marble will still etch.

To be clear, when a polished marble surface is etched it becomes rough like a honed or tumbled surface. Contact with an acid/alkaline may still show some damage on a honed surface, but the acid/alkaline substance simply wouldn't change the nature of the tumbled surface enough to notice right away, unless possibly it occurred in only one spot where the chemical sat for quite awhile or stained the stone.

For more detailed info see the Etching and Marble Repair page.

You should not use bleach on the tumbled marble tile. You could use it cleaning the grout, but of course you'll get the bleach on the tumbled marble tile.

A very very dilute bleach solution could work, but could etch. Although, since you have tumbled marble any etching wouldn't be seen easily, however, getting the mix right is tricky, so it's best not to try this in general for marble cleaning.

For regular marble / travertine shower cleaning I recommend this Soap Scum / Hard Water Remover. This product line is the best on the market and it won't etch your stone, so it's much better for regular use.

For cleaning grout or grout stains use this TILE & GROUT Cleaner. This product could be used for the entire shower as well.

Let us know how it works out via the comment link below.

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Marble Shower Floor Turning White

by Juan Seliman
(Los Angeles, California)

QUESTION:

It's been about a month since I had my whole bathroom redone with travertine and a marble shower. I had tile in the shower, which I chose not to be polished.

When I had it installed it was a beautiful dark brown one, but now, its has begun to turn white.

I'm certain it's not soap scum since I carefully rinse and wipe it off after every use. Is there anything I can do?

ANSWER:

What you are describing sounds exactly like soap scum and/or hard water build up. However, it could be etching over the entire surface from using damaging cleaning products (which is nearly all common cleaners).

Now you may be very diligent about wiping it down, but I can assure you that soap scum is an insidious little devil and will build up despite your best efforts.

Simply wiping it down even with a cleaner will not remove soap scum.

In fact most people after cleaning marble showers, think it looks great until you look closer and realize that there is still a film of soap scum on the tile. It's tough to clean without a specific cleaner for the problem.

Soap scum is not that noticeable unless you have dark tile and it is a whitish (sometimes yellowish) smooth, soft film.

Hard water build-up looks similar, except a crusty white build-up that is usually not as uniform in coverage.

And a tell-tale sign is where in the marble shower do you notice the tiles turning white? ... is it all over every tile... or just those more near the floor from say chest-height down?

If only on the lower tiles, then this is soap scum or hard water in which case use this Soap Scum / Hard Water Remover. Spray on and let sit for 5-10 minutes then scrub with a soft-bristle brush. Repeat until clean. Use regularly to minimize future build-up.

The only other cause is that you are using a product that is not safe for cleaning marble. In that case it would etch (corrode) the marble, which can make it look somewhat white and dull.

And since you likely clean all the marble shower tiles (and not just the lower ones) you'd notice all the tiles turning white.

If etching is the problem you'll need to apply the ETCH REMOVER / Marble Polishing product to restore the color and shine.

Of course, from now on be sure to use only products safe for cleaning marble.

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Black Stains on White Marble Shower

by Caren
(Huntington, NY, USA)

QUESTION:

The part of our white marble shower stall saddle that is inside the glass shower door is marked with black stains. How can I clean them off?

ANSWER:

Sounds to me like advanced mold and mildew stains. You certainly want to use a product that is safe for cleaning marble... (most common brand name products are too harsh and damaging).

I'd recommend this Bathroom MOLD & MILDEW Remover.

Spray on and let sit for 5-10 minutes, then scrub with a soft-bristle brush.

Cleaning marble showers more often will minimize this problem.

If the mildew has actually stained the marble and/or the stain is from something else, then you'll find all the answers including step-by-step instructions on how to remove all types of marble stains in the Removing Marble Stains Manual.

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Cleaning Marble Bathroom Mold

QUESTION:

How do I clean mold out of a tumbled marble shower?

ANSWER:

Using Bathroom MOLD & MILDEW Remover works best (see link in previous question).

Super-effective and completely safe for use on tumbled marble and all other natural stone.

A couple other important tips to consider:
  • Good ventilation is key to dry out the shower quickly after use.

  • "Squeegeeing" water off the walls speeds drying too.

  • Clean the shower every two weeks at minimum... every week is better.

  • Recurring mold/mildew = water behind the tiles from a leak, cracks and voids in the grout and/or simply a bad installation.
For detailed advice on the above see our cleaning marble shower mold & mildew page.

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Black Streaks on Onyx Shower Panels

by Deb Lucas
(Milwaukee, WI)

QUESTION:

Our beautiful white marble looking onyx shower panels of 10 years are starting to show black streaks near the bottom 1/3 of each panel that regularly gets water residue.

I've tried using non-abrasive cleaners including diluted vinegar, to no avail.

Is there any other cleaners that will remove residues without affecting the gloss finish?

ANSWER:

My first thought here is that the onyx has some fissures in it and water is getting in followed by mold and mildew.

I'd quit using the shower and let it dry out for a week or two and see what happens. If you notice the streaks get lighter and turn more gray, then it's probably mildew.

At that point I'd use Bathroom MOLD & MILDEW Remover (links above), which is safe for cleaning marble and onyx polished or otherwise.

Vinegar will etch marble/onyx in too high a concentration or if used repeatedly... so not recommended.

You'll probably have to use the Mold and Mildew removal product repeatedly and really saturate the affected areas so it can work into the fissures.

Once you eradicate the mildew, you need to repair the grout and/or caulk between the floor and wall to ensure water is not getting into the stone that way.

Only after you solve all the above would I start using the shower again.

If after letting the shower dry out really well (if water is behind panels could take a long time to evaporate), the black steaks are as dark and noticeable as ever, then I'm afraid I don't have a good answer for you without a close visual inspection... but not much else it could be.

So, if you unfortunately find yourself in this position I'd call in a marble maintenance pro to take a look.

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Cleaning Extremely Dirty Marble Shower

by dale
(cherry hill nj)

QUESTION:

Beautiful marble shower, floor to ceiling in a home I took over. It was never sealed & dirt from regular use of shower, which was apparently never cleaned by prior owner, has discolored the marble.

(Marble is poplar grey & white-forget the name but it is rather common) Any advice on how to clean?

ANSWER:

For cleaning marble showers that are really soiled or grimy use the intensive TILE & GROUT Cleaner, which is the most potent cleaner still safe for marble maintenance.

Spray on and let it sit for 5 - 10 minutes and then scrub with a soft-bristle brush. Repeat until marble shower is clean.

If after through cleaning, you have marble stains (dark areas where possibly oils and dirt have absorbed into the tile), then you'll need to proceed following the instructions in the Removing Granite & Marble Stains ebook.

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Marble Maintenance for Bathtub/Shower Surround

by Gretchen
(Rochester, NY)

QUESTION:

We've just installed a marble tile bathroom and want to be sure we protect it from soap scum, mold and mildew and hard water stains. What should we do?

Sealing is a no-brainer, but what daily maintenance makes sense? And how do we remove soap scum, mildew and hard water stains if they occur?

ANSWER:

Actually sealing a marble shower/tub surround is not a no-brainer. In fact, it is best not to seal stone in a wet environment in order to let it breath.

Sealing will do only one thing... help guard against stains from a substance left on the surface too long. It won't protect against soap scum, mildew or hard water build up.

Your risk of staining in a shower is virtually zero unless you plan on drinking coffee and eating spaghetti in there!

Most bath products are not going to stain and everything is being quickly rinsed away. Of course, if you store oily bath products on a marble ledge, a leaky bottle could produce a stain.

So, given the risk is so small, the best recommendation for a shower is not to seal it. Sealing won't necessarily cause a problem, it just provides little benefit in a shower.

And if the marble is polished, it may not even take a sealer since polished marble is not very absorbent and does not stain easy as is often stated (incorrectly) on the internet, etc.

Attempting to seal a stone that is not absorbent could cause a problem though, if the sealant does not absorb and dries on top it will leave a dull streaky haze that will need to be stripped off.

Go ahead and seal the floor and countertop though, if the water test shows they need it.

I'd suggest using these recommended marble & granite sealers.

For regular cleaning, I recommend Granite Countertop & Marble Cleaning spray.

For soap scum and hard water, see links for the Soap Scum & Hard Water Remover above.

For mold and mildew removal, the Bathroom MOLD & MILDEW Remover suggested above (links above) works very well.

You shouldn't get mildew much if you are cleaning regularly and the shower has good ventilation. Consistent mildew is often a sign of a bad installation and/or water behind the tiles from cracks or voids in the grout.

To learn everything you need to know about cleaning marble, marble maintenance and solving any problem you may encounter get the Cleaning Marble Secrets Guide.

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Cleaning Dingy Marble Shower

by Betty Enriquez
(Bakersfield, CA)

QUESTION:

I need to know what's the best product to use on my marble shower?

It looks a bit pale/dingy. I guess it like water stain?

And what can I use on my marble floors to take that pale look? I want it to shine.

ANSWER:

Most likely your marble shower has a build-up of soap scum.

If it still looks pale/dingy after removing the soap scum, then you can try this Color-Enhancing Sealer. It will make the stone look "wet."

Or... have the stone professionally re-polished, which is done with tools and not chemicals or sprays.

Dull Marble Floor

A shiny polished marble floor requires a lot of maintenance to keep it shiny. The shiny polish is the result of grinding and sanding with specialized machines and not by application of a spray or chemical.

So, to keep them shiny you'll need to have a professional re-polish your marble floor on a regular basis.

Foot traffic will constantly wear away the shine. And if your marble floors were not polished to begin with, they will never shine... they were not meant to since it is such a pain to keep them shiny.

Yes, I know you see shiny marble floors in malls and office buildings, but they require and get regular professional maintenance to keep them that way.

It is possible that you have a soapy build-up on the floors depending on what has been used to clean them.

Again, mop with the Tile Floor Cleaner to clean and apply a color enhancer to bring out the color more dramatically if that is what you are looking for.

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Marble Shower Pink Stains

by Monica
(Colorado Springs)

Marble Shower pink stain

Marble Shower pink stain

QUESTION:

I have a 100 year old Carrera marble shower. There is a pinkish stain growing up the walls from the bottom of the shower. Not sure what it is - and how to tackle getting rid of it.

ANSWER:

I agree that the cause here is not too obvious. My best guess is that the pinkish substance you are seeing is a pre-cursor to mildew.

However, it is accumulating rather oddly on the wall surfaces rather than in corners and seams that gather more water.

First, I'd quit using the shower for few days to let it dry out. Then check your grout seams for cracks and voids. It could be that water is getting behind the marble, the marble is absorbing it and bathroom mold and mildew is forming.

I'd also recommend using this marble-safe Bathroom Mold & Mildew Remover to clean the spots.

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How To Clean/Reseal Tumble Marble Shower Gunk

by Amy Kelly
(Hollis, NH)

QUESTION:

Our tumbled marble shower was sealed a year ago when it was new, with Miracle 511 Seal & Enhance. I clean it with Stone Care International's Countertop Spray Cleaner but somehow that seems insufficient.

My question is, does it need resealing after a year, and with what, the original Miracle stuff?

We also have some Miracle 511 Impregnator that I don't think we ever used - it says it is a "penetrating sealer for tile, marble, and grout" and that is a "Water, Stain, and Slip protector."

At this point, which of these should we use and if both, in what order?

Also, is there a better cleaner than the one I mentioned above? Sienna Gold is the color of the marble - I do not know the name of the "maker." (I know - it's not "made" it's quarried or whatever.)

ANSWER:

For the most part a marble or travertine shower doesn't "need" to be sealed.

Sealing is to protect against staining and for all intents and purposes staining rarely happens in a shower, unless you like to drink coffee and eat hot dogs in there!

The other argument is how well can a stone "breath" once a sealer is applied. Sealer technology is advancing and many sealers let the stone breath better, but in a constantly wet environment sealing can potentially trap moisture in the marble (if water gets behind the tiles), which is not good.

And with tumbled marble tile you already have plenty of traction... the sealer won't improve that much.

I'd say forget the sealing, but to answer your question, the 511 impregnator is a straight sealer. If you did happen to get a true stain in the shower you can use a poultice to remove it without much trouble.

Seal it if you want to, but you really aren't gaining much by doing so.

The color enhancer is a different story. Most enhancers will seal a little, but the real job is to give a tumbled marble tile that "wet look" which makes the color darker.

No need to do that again unless you really want to darken the color, but since it has been done once it's hard to say how much darker it would get.

Cleaning the gunk and general marble shower cleaning... see the products recommended above on this page. The Soap Scum Remover is best for general shower cleaning... best we've tested.

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Cleaning Marble Shower & Floor

QUESTION:

If urine gets sprayed around the toilet on a marble floor, how do you suggest cleaning it?

How do you maintain and clean a marble shower? Thank you.

ANSWER:

For the urine, usually it's not a matter of "cleaning" it. Urine will "etch" marble. That is, the acidity of urine will corrode the marble making it dull and possibly discolored.

Urine can stain if left long enough. In this case, you'd have an etch mark and a stain. You'd need to get the stain out first, then repair the etch mark.

The methods to do this depend on whether your marble is polished or honed.

For polished marble, ETCH REMOVER / Marble Polishing product will restore the etch marks. Remember you must remove the stain (if present) first.

For removing etch marks on honed marble, removing stains and cleaning travertine and marble showers... you'll find all these answers/solutions in our comprehensive Cleaning Marble Secrets Guide, which I recommend you get.

This marble maintenance manual will teach you everything you need to know to protect, clean and care for your marble correctly and avoid problems. It also includes simple DIY solutions to any problem you may encounter.

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