Polishing Black Marble


Once you have removed scratches and etching, what do you use to shine marble and give it that high gloss, glass look?

dull black marble countertop needs polishing


Marble polishing is a confusing issue that is usually misunderstood. And polishing black marble is trickier than other marble colors.

Below we discuss the various marble polishing powders and products you can use to restore the shine to marble and the particular issues with black marble countertops and tile.

But first, it's important to understand the truth about how to polish black marble and the entire marble polishing process.

The Truth About Polishing Black Marble

Most people think that the "high-gloss glass look" is achieved by applying a coating or wax to the marble surface.

This is not true.

What you are asking is equivalent to asking "what product do I use to make my mirror reflective?"

Well, everyone knows that glass is made into a mirror that is shiny and reflective. You can spray Windex on a piece of glass all you want, but you'll never turn it into a highly reflective mirror.

It's the same with marble and stone. The shiny polished "finish" on marble is part of the marble itself... not from applying a "polish" or coating of some type.

But the use of the word "polish" definitely confuses the issue.

The original shine on marble is achieved via a polishing process (much like sanding wood smooth) on big machines or by skilled and experienced professionals using special abrasives and tools.

Take a look at the cut edges or the backside of a marble slab at a stone warehouse. This is raw marble. It will be dull and rough with a muted or grayish color.

It's this polishing process that transforms the surface of a raw marble slab from the quarry into a smooth and shiny finish.

Once this original shiny finish is created, it can be restored or repolished using DIY products and methods (discussed below). But polishing raw black marble to a shine is a more demanding process as explained just above.

Nearly all black marble slabs shipped from the factory and available for purchase at a stone warehouse will be polished and shiny.

shiny polished black marble slabs for countertops

Some may be honed (matte finish), but if you wanted it honed, your installer will likely have to hone it for you.

Here's more in-depth info on our marble polishing page.

The long and short is that marble can be finished with a number of different surface types. The shiny reflective "polished" finish is but one.

Polished marble is very common so people often think that all marble including black marble is supposed to be shiny and if it isn't you just need to apply or re-apply the "polish" product.

As if all marble is dull when first installed and then the installers apply a "polish" to add the shine. No...

If marble is not shiny it is either:

1. Meant to
be that way (it has a honed, tumbled, hammered finish) or...

2. The marble has been damaged by using the wrong cleaning products or from contact with acidic foods/drinks causing dull spots, water spots, or glass rings.

How To Restore Black Marble and Etching

You can restore the shine on such etched dull spots using the ETCH REMOVER / Marble Polishing product if your marble was originally polished to a shine.

  1. Clean the surface with a quality marble cleaner.

  2. Sprinkle a small mound of the Etch Remover marble polishing powder on the dull or etched area.

  3. Add water to the powder to make a thick paste.

  4. With a clean damp cloth rub the powder in small circles for 15-30 seconds.

  5. Wipe off the powder residue and completely clean the area with the marble cleaner.

  6. Inspect the area of repair for progress and repeat the above steps until the shine and color are restored.

Etching is likely your issue, so... this is what you use to get the gloss back... (but not to polish raw marble to a shine in the first place).

Note that etching and stains in marble are different.

Etch marks are always dull and lighter in color or clear. Stains are always darker.

If your entire black marble countertop currently has a matte and non-reflective surface, then it has a honed finish. This was intentional.

If you now want to shine the black marble and create a polished finish, then it's best to call in a stone restoration pro.

You could do this yourself using the Etch Remover product above. But for a larger area this Marble Polishing Powder and Pad Kit is the better option.

Note that refinishing black marble is more demanding than other marble colors.

It's just that way. Polishing black marble requires a bit more effort, skill, and repeated applications. Normal.

DIY restoration of black marble is doable, but a pro may give you better results.

Of course, you can always try it yourself, and if you don't like the results, then call in a pro. Nothing you do will permanently damage the marble. A pro will still restore it in the same way as if you hadn't touched it yourself.

The good news is that a pro is rarely needed to restore the finish and shine to all other marble colors.

The Topical Polish/Shine Enhancer can be applied to a polished or shiny finish to enhance the shine, but it won't "create" the high-gloss glass look you desire if the marble is dull.

It isn't permanent. But it lasts a while, can be applied as desired, and makes the shine really pop.

One last option... is to apply a Color-Enhancing Sealer to a honed or non-polished finish.

This will give your black marble countertops and tile a "wet look". It's more of a sheen than a shine, though. And it will darken the color for a rich, deep black.

Comments for Polishing Black Marble

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Black Marble Table Etch Marks
by: Mel

I have rings from glasses of water and orange juice on a black marble table. The etching remover product said it’s not recommended for dark marble.

What can I use to remove marks on black marble?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

True, it's not all "dark" marble but the Marble Etch Remover Powder will struggle on black and green marble.

The reason is that green marble is not actually marble. It is sold as marble, but it is actually a stone called "serpentine" which is hard like granite but can etch like marble so a DIY product like this will not work.

Professional repolishing is required in most cases of etching on green marble.

The same is often true of black marble but for different reasons. Black marble is not too hard to polish DIY by hand but it just tends to be tricky to polish period.

It's harder on black marble to bring the stone back up to full shine and to get an even shine vs. all other colors of marble.

Again, professional repolishing is often the best solution.

You can try the Etch Remover product and you might get lucky and save a bunch of money.

But we won't guarantee results on green or black marble.

So, it's a relatively cheap experiment and if you cannot produce the desired results, then you just have it professionally repolished.

Dull surface on black marble wall cladding
by: gsrimoyo

Hi, I have Noir St. Laurents marble used as wall cladding in bathroom. To my dismay, even before the jobs handed over, the marble already looks dull (it looks like cloud on the entire wall).

I get the contractor to re polish and the shiny surface returns.

Now, upon inspection to other rooms, all the marble cladded wall (other type of marble) show similar phenomenon.

Now I was wondering what has caused the premature dull surface and whether I'd face recurring problems in the near future.

The marbles were said sealed with Idrobase 303.
Appreciate your comments/advice.
Thank you
G. Srimoyo

===== Countertop Specialty comment:

It is difficult to know why this occurred without knowing how the marble was installed, chemicals used and seeing the marble or at least photos.

If the marble was grouted, then it could be that a grout remover was used that etched the marble. Or some other product used could have etched the marble.

Some questions that may help diagnose this issue:

Is the dullness uniform / even over the entire surface or is it worse in some parts, spotty or in a pattern?

If even all over, then not likely the result of the use of a damaging product.

But again, just can't say with any certainty how this happened.

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Spots on Black Marble Tile in Kitchen

by Carolyn


I have black marble tile as my kitchen counter. It has been in for about 6 months.

I now notice rings, light areas and spots that are somewhat white and have dulled the surface.

Even the feel of the tile is rough as compared to the un-affected tiles.

When this was laid, no sealer was applied by the contractor. I didn't know about the care of marble tile, just loved the look of it.

I need to know what I can to do restore what is damaged and what to do to stop any further damage. I am desperate!!!!!!!!!



Carolyn, take a deep breath and relax because I have solutions for you.

And if it makes you feel any better, you are not alone. I can't count how many times someone has told me, "I didn't know anything about marble, just loved the look and now I have XXX problem."

Marble is beautiful and there is no reason not to install marble in many areas of your home, except you must know what you are dealing with first and once you do you'll realize that for kitchen countertops, marble is not the best choice.

Unfortunately, many consumers are getting the wrong information or simply no information. The whole point of this website and forum is to help consumers get the right info so they can make the best choice, avoid problems and really get the most out of their stone.

Here's what has happened...

Marble is sensitive to acidic foods and drinks. When in contact with acids, marble will corrode or "etch." The acid actually eats into the marble causing dull spot that are lighter in color and sometimes rough.

I'm sure you've tried to "clean" these and nothing happened. They are not "stains." Nothing has been absorbed into the marble. It's physical damage that must be repaired.

How to remove etch marks...

You'll need to buy a good marble polishing compound like ETCH REMOVER / Marble Polishing Product which is made specifically to remove etch marks and light scratches.

And you are right. You also need to learn how to properly protect, clean and maintain your marble so you can avoid problems in the future.

Fortunately I've written an ebook (that you can download) with exactly you in mind. And since your marble countertop is in the kitchen, you have a bigger challenge and will definitely need this guidance.

The Cleaning Marble Secrets ebook will teach you everything you need to know about etching, removing etch marks, sealing, stains, scratches along with every other topic related to marble maintenance.

Every marble owner should have this information. It will save you lots of time, money and headaches.

So Carolyn, get the Etch Remover Product and the manual and follow the step-by-step instructions. For most etch marks, it's a fairly simple DIY project once you know how.

Use the "comment" link below or contact me if you have further questions.

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Polishing & Cleaning Black Marble Tile

by Theresa
(Jacksonville, FL)


Marble color - Black, Marble color-Gray: Black marble is stained with food acids such as mustard, etc... from catering......

Some black marble is very dull needs polishing. Gray marble is dull need polishing.

I also would like a maintenance program for marble tile.
Thanks, Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena


Theresa, the marble in question has been etched from the acidic foods as you suspect. This is a different issue than "staining," although you may have stains too.

If the etch marks are not too rough (severe damage) then you can repair them and get the shine and color back with the Etch Remover Compound (see links noted above and below).

It's easy to use.

If large areas of the marble (whole countertops, floors) are dull, then professional restoration may be required.

For a marble maintenance program: Our marble maintenance manual Cleaning Marble Secrets will teach you everything you need to know to properly protect, clean and maintain your marble.

It includes step-by-step instruction for all procedures and includes simple solutions for just about any problem you could encounter (including etching & staining of course), marble safe products, etc.

Good Luck,

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Re-Polishing Black Marble Counter Top

by Renee Shmuel


I have accidentally set a pot with an acidic material on the bottom of the pot on the black marble counter top in the kitchen we are renting in Israel.

Now I have a ring from the pot onto the marble and some of the finish is gone.

What to do without having to replace the whole countertop??


Usually, if the shiny finish is removed that means the acid has eaten into the marble. It's a corrosive process called "etching". If the etching is severe (rough to the touch) you'll probably need to hire a professional stone restorer to re-polish the area.

However, severe etching is rare, so you should be able to restore the color and shine just fine using the Etch Remover Compound (see links above) designed just for this problem.

If the marble is honed (a matte, non-reflective surface), then the etch remover can't be used and you'll have to follow the simple instructions in the Removing Etch Marks e-book or call a pro.

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Whitish Spots from Spilled Alcohol on Black Marble

by June
(Lexington, Ky.)


We were having a quiet wonderful party and I knocked over some champagne and wine on my beautiful black, Italian marble coffee table which has left it with spotting (whitish).

I have applied mayonaise on the tabletop - it looks as if it is helping a good bit, can you recommend anything else?


Marble is sensitive to acidic foods and drinks and will react chemically when in contact with such substances.

This is a corrosive reaction called "etching". If you Search this site you'll learn all about etching.

The good news is that etching can almost always be repaired using the Etch Remover mentioned above, which will restore the color and shine on shiny "polished" marble, travertine, limestone and onyx.

Basically the corrosive action of the wine and champagne destroyed the polished surface layer of marble.

Marble polishing (done on big machines... not by applying a potion or lotion or "polish") makes the color darker and deeper, so when the polish is destroyed the marble looks lighter in color and dull.

So, remove the mayonaise. I'm not sure where you got that idea or what it is supposed to do, but it isn't doing anything except maybe staining the marble if you left it sit there for a few hours or more.

And use the Etch Remover product. That'll take care of it for you.

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Black Marble Bar Top Beer Stain


I have a new bar and the top is black shiney marble. How do I get a spot off it and make it shiny again? A beer leaked on it left a spot.


Beer like many alcoholic drinks is acidic. Marble is reactive to acids and the acid will corrode the marble countertop destroying the shiny polished layer leaving a dull and discolored spot or ring.

It's called "etching" and it's a known marble cleaning issue. But this is different than marble stains.

Too late now, but because marble etches it isn't a good choice for a wet bar top.

Luckily, you can use ETCH REMOVER / Marble Polishing product to remove etch marks.

Be sure to use coasters diligently and store alcohol, etc. on a tray. But the above paste is easy to use and will restore all but the rare severe (rough to touch) etch marks, so it good to have around.

For severe etching your only option is to hire a marble maintenance pro, but again severe etching is not common.

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