Disinfectant Cleaner Options for
How To Disinfect Marble Countertops Safely
I just got new Carrara marble countertops and a full backsplash installed in my kitchen. How do I disinfect marble countertops against bacteria and viruses or after cooking with raw chicken, meat, etc.?
I'm slightly addicted to using an anti-bacterial disinfectant cleaner, but realize it's a no-no and not safe to clean marble countertops.
True... typical household cleaners in general, including most branded antibacterial cleaners (like Lysol disinfectant spray or Clorox Wipes), are damaging to marble, travertine, and limestone.
How To Disinfect Marble Countertops
You do have some choices on how to disinfect marble. The catch is that some commonly recommended methods are damaging to the finish or cause other marble care issues.
I'll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each sanitizing method below.
Disinfectant Cleaner Options for Marble: Pros & Cons
- Soap & Hot Water: removes microbes but builds up a film.
- Bleach, Hydrogen Peroxide, Vinegar: do kill microbes but will damage and dull marble countertops and tile.
- Lysol Disinfectant, Clorox Wipes, and other branded disinfectants are EPA approved to kill COVID-19 / coronavirus and other pathogens BUT these will corrode and etch marble surfaces.
- Marble-Safe Mold & Mildew Cleaner with Disinfectant
I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. This is a discussion about the use of disinfecting cleaners to sanitize marble and how such chemicals affect marble countertops, tile, and natural stone.
Soap and Hot Water
Soap and hot water is a proven method to help sanitize marble (and all hard surfaces) with one caveat discussed below.
Soapy warm water will remove the vast majority of pathogens from the area and "removal" is the most effective method to "disinfect" the surface and thereby minimize the potential of contracting a disease or illness.
You may think that is just nonsense, but it's a tried-n-true method according to medical experts.
Soap will not "kill" germs but the removal of microbes is the first step to disinfection according to the Center for Disease Control
and medical experts.
Also, Granite & Marble cleanability studies
have demonstrated that such simple cleaning methods when used regularly effectively clean and maintain a hygienic natural stone surface.
In fact, granite is about as sanitary as stainless steel. And marble is similar to granite in this regard. The problem with using soap all the time
is that you'll get a soap scum build-up that will dull the shine.
Soap and water are commonly recommended to clean marble countertops, granite, and other natural stone countertops because it is so simple, but it really isn't the best method for regular cleaning.
By the way... the Soap and Hard Water Cleaner
will remove soap residue and hard water stains. Related content: How To Care For Marble Countertops Marble Cleaning Do's & Don'tsBest & Safest Marble Cleaning Products
For wiping up crumbs and daily spills, just hot water will do along with a daily clean with a natural stone cleaner that won't leave a film.
If you do create a real mess, then washing with soap and water a couple of times will go a long way toward sanitizing marble.
Hydrogen peroxide, Bleach & Vinegar
A more potent disinfectant solution can be mixed using hydrogen peroxide or bleach (not together though!), but you're rolling the dice using these chemicals on marble. Hydrogen peroxide is acidic
, so it will etch your marble counter tops creating dull spots. Diluting with water will decrease the risk of etching (and germ-killing properties), but getting the mix right is tricky, so be prepared for etch marks if you experiment.
Using hydrogen peroxide on granite countertops
is much less risky. Granite does not etch so easily as marble so occasional use on granite is okay. Using bleach
runs the same risks as peroxide. Bleach will chemically burn the marble creating etch marks and a dull finish.Natural disinfectants like vinegar
are popular. The acid will kill many, but not all pathogens, so it has limited sanitizing properties. For example... vinegar as a disinfectant won't kill salmonella.
And since vinegar is acidic, it will definitely cause marble etching.
But then, with white Carrara marble kitchen countertops, you will have etch marks all over anyway from all the acidic foods and drinks that will inevitably contact, and corrode the surface.
Likely no one made you aware of the problem of marble etching, but it's the reason marble is not recommended for kitchen countertops. It's beautiful yes... but you just can't avoid this problem.
And sealing marble countertops will not prevent etching which is physical damage to the marble finish from acidic solutions, foods, drinks, and harsh cleaners. It's like a chemical burn.
The Best Disinfectant Solution Made Specifically for Cleaning Marble
Using this Mold & Mildew Remover
will be your most effective and
safe (non-damaging) option for general disinfecting of marble countertops and tile.
This product contains disinfecting ingredients (bleach) but in a concentration that is specifically formulated to be non-damaging (non-etching) on all marble counters, floor tile, shower tile, etc.
The concentration is the key and the difficult thing to get right without causing etching, dullness, and damage to the marble surface.For regular everyday cleaning,
I recommend this Granite & Marble Spray Cleaner
. Cleaning with this spray will work just as well as soapy water
to remove the majority of pathogens to sanitize marble but without
any soap film build-up to dull the surface.
Then, for the meat and poultry or messes that really make you worry, or for specific disinfecting, first, wash repeatedly with soap & water, or preferably the Granite & Marble Spray Cleaner
and then a final cleaning with the Mold & Mildew Remover
Of course, you should be using a quality cutting board
, preferably one designated specifically for meat/fish... one for fruit/veggies, etc., in order to minimize contamination of the countertop from raw foods.Important... Dwell Time
Like all other disinfectant sprays, the Mold & Mildew Cleaner
must remain on the surface for 10 minutes or so. Apply, let dwell, then rinse thoroughly.
Most people are not aware of this requirement.
Disinfectant cleaners do not work immediately on contact. You can't just spray on and wipe off a disinfectant. It won't sanitize or kill a thing that way. It needs time to work.
Again... simply cleaning the surface regularly and thoroughly removes most of the bacteria, viruses, microbes, and pathogens on the surface.
This minimizes contact and the chance of infection and is, in general, an effective disinfecting technique.
Everyone understands the desire to guard against health problems, although something interesting that you may consider is that many studies are now revealing that the general use of disinfectant cleaners is overkill in most instances and over-use is likely counterproductive.
Using antibacterial cleaners and disinfectants only when specifically needed is apparently the best choice. One last note on etching...
You might as well pick up some ETCH REMOVER / Marble Polishing product
as well to help remove etch marks.
If you are diligent about always using cutting boards, coasters, and trivets, then you can greatly cut down on problems with etching.
But in a kitchen... etching is inevitable, so you'll need this product to repair the dull spots on the polished finish created by acidic foods, drinks, and harsh cleaners.
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Disinfect Marble Counters Prior To Food Prep
I just moved into a house w/ marble countertops in the kitchen.
My felines are in the habit of walking on the counters.
I used to use bleach on my counters before preparing food on them since kitty feet aren't exactly "clean".
I also like to bleach after preparing raw chicken or spilling raw eggs on the counter. I'm guessing I shouldn't use bleach on the marble.
So how can I safely disinfect my marble counters?
You're right... DO NOT use bleach, vinegar, ammonia or any other common household product for cleaning marble including "brand-name" cleaners like Clorox or Lysol disinfectant.
These will etch / damage the marble countertop finish.
Now, you could risk using a bleach or hydrogen peroxide solution. It could (likely will) dull your marble if you don't get the mix right... I really would recommend that you do NOT experiment unless you're prepared to restore the surface.
get away with it if done rarely.... but it's a gamble to use even once. In pretty much every case you'll end up needing to repair your marble.Related content:Removing Bleach Spots on Marble
You want to disinfect daily, so the above is not really a "safe" option.You could use soap
and hot water (yes, soap is a disinfectant cleaner) safely. It won't damage marble... but soap will cause a dull film...
"soap scum" to build up on the marble. This happens even when you rinse, etc. and of course will not make for a clean surface.
You could use soap and also use Soap Scum / Hard Water Remover
to keep the soap from building up. However......The best option
is to use the MOLD & MILDEW Remover
. This is designed for bath & shower use primarily, but it can be adapted.
It has a small amount of bleach, but the mix is perfect. It has been engineered and specially formulated by stone pros and tested, tested, tested to be safe on marble and all stone.
I think you'll get optimum results using this product as a disinfectant spray. Safe, easy.... no muss, no fuss!
Apply the product to the surface. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Sufficient dwell time is important for any disinfectant to actually kill the microbes. Then rinse the area well with clean water.
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Disinfecting Marble in Bathroom & Kitchen
Please I need help asap ....my husband has just been diagnosed with active MRSA, a severe staph infection. We have been told by the doctor to completely disinfect every surface of our home.
The problem is we have marble floors and marble countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms. (tumbled cream marble in the bathroom and polished cream marble slabs on counters).
The product they have given me is for non-porous surfaces. What can I use to disinfect marble... alcohol, hydrogen peroxide?
ANSWER: First, know
that hydrogen peroxide, bleach, ammonia, vinegar, and most common household cleaners and brand-name disinfectants are too caustic or acidic and will dull the finish of marble tiles and countertops.
Many people ask:
Can I use Clorox Wipes on marble countertops?
No. Clorox products generally contain bleach in concentrations that are too high for non-damaging use on marble countertops. In other words, Clorox Wipes can etch and dull the marble finish.
Can I use Lysol on marble?
Lysol makes many products but the Lysol product line is generally not safe to use on marble. We've consulted with many homeowners about repairing Lysol cleaner damage to marble countertops
Is hydrogen peroxide safe to use on marble?
No. Hydrogen peroxide is acidic as noted above and will chemically burn dull etch marks into the marble surface. However, it is an effective antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal cleaner.
Can you use rubbing alcohol on marble?
Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) typically is rather neutral (pH 6-8) and shouldn't damage the marble surface. 70% Isopropyl Alcohol
has proven anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial properties. It can kill the flu virus, bacteria, fungi, and other microbes.
However, the concentration must be at least 70%. Luckily most bottles of isopropyl alcohol in stores are 70% concentration.
Anti-microbial properties diminish rapidly below a 50% concentration so you should never dilute it and never mix it with any other cleaner.
But oddly it is better to use the 70% concentration than a 90% or higher concentration because the water mixed in with the 70% concentration acts as a catalyst to kill germ cells and improves dwell time on the surface and thus germ-killing ability. This is a special case....
Obviously, your husband's health is the most important concern and you want to ensure that the surfaces are effectively sanitized.
And I am not a doctor or scientist so I can only advise on what certain products will do to your marble and not which is the most effective to sanitize marble for your situation.
Although, health authorities do agree that the removal of bacteria, viruses, and other microbes by washing and rinsing is the most effective and should be the first step. And then use a disinfectant.
So, in this case, you could choose to go with hydrogen peroxide which is a potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial. You may also consider using a bleach disinfectant solution but getting the concentration right for both killing germs and not damaging the marble is tricky.
Again, both could potentially etch your marble countertop. Etching makes the finish duller. This is most visible on polished marble.
Given that you have tumbled marble, any etching that may occur (hydrogen peroxide is acidic, bleach is alkaline) won't be that noticeable, and since you'll be cleaning the entire surface area it will etch evenly.
Of course, it'll be very risky using HP on the polished marble countertops. It will almost certainly dull these to some degree.
Again, this is a special case and I wouldn't normally recommend using bleach or hydrogen peroxide, particularly since you do have a "marble-safe" disinfectant cleaner option....A possibly better choice
and marble-safe is to use this Mold & Mildew Cleaner
. This cleaner contains bleach in a perfect dilution to be safe (will not dull) for use on marble including all polished marble.
Certainly, clean all surfaces multiple times letting the product sit on the surface for several minutes before wiping down.
If you use the hydrogen peroxide or bleach, then expect etching. You will kill the microbes but have to repair the marble finish.
The good news is that you do have easy DIY options for repairing marble etching
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Safely Disinfecting Marble Bathroom Countertops
QUESTION: How do I disinfect marble bathroom countertops, floor tile and the attached water fixtures without staining the marble?
I really like to spray bathroom fixtures with a disinfectant cleaner.
My marble countertop will be sealed before installation. This is supposed to be a long-lasting seal.
ANSWER: For disinfecting and sanitizing marble surfaces
or faucets I'd suggest using the Bathroom Mold & Mildew Remover
which is made for killing/cleaning mold and mildew (excellent for marble showers), so it is a very effective disinfectant spray AND totally safe for cleaning marble... it won't etch or damage. "Staining" is not the concern
. Marble is not very porous and does not stain easy especially polished (shiny) marble.
In fact, polished marble is nearly stain-proof and typically does not need nor can it be sealed since the sealer will not absorb.
Just perform the "water test" suggested above.
If it does need sealing, we recommend using these Impregnating Stone Sealers
And don't apply a sealer "just to be safe" unless you want to strip off the dull hazy film it could leave when it doesn't absorb and a residue dries on the surface. What you may be concerned about is marble "etching".
Marble etching is often confused with staining
, but they are two different issues.
Etching is corrosion that causes a chemical burn of the marble leaving dull light-colored spots.
Common disinfectants are usually very harsh and most(all) will etch marble.
Unfortunately, sealing marble (if needed) won't protect it against etch marks... only stains. This is why you need to use the "marble-safe" product recommended for disinfecting marble, limestone, and travertine.Okay... more on disinfecting...
You can never completely kill or clean away bacteria.The best way to minimize bacteria, viruses, and fungi
and stay healthy is to remove them from the surface via regular and thorough cleaning... washing and rinsing... nothing fancy needed.
Removal of microbes is recommended by all leading health authorities as the most effective method and the first line of defense.
Frequent cleaning with a regular cleaner (in this case a marble-safe cleaner like the Marble & Granite Cleaner Spray
) will keep all stone surfaces sanitary.
But when you really want to "disinfect" a surface immediately... use the Mold & Mildew Remover
. It'll do the trick safely. Remember
to leave this cleaner on the countertop / tile for a good 10 minutes. This is the proper sanitizing method when using any household disinfectant. If it doesn't remain on the surface long enough it won't kill the pathogens.
Again, do this after the "removal" step of washing and rinsing. Then you kill the remaining microbes with the Mold & Mildew Cleaner