How Fast Does Marble Etch?

Marble etching from spilled juice, coffee, wine, soda

Marble etching from spilled juice, coffee, wine, soda


I am wanting to use Crema Marfil marble for two of my kitchen countertops.

I have received much conflicting information....

Is a coffee, coke, orange juice or wine spill likely to immediately etch the surface?

Or does marble etching only occur if the spill is left for some time?


The marble etching reaction begins immediately upon contact of the offending substance with the surface resulting in a type of "burn" to the marble surface creating a dull spot.

How severe and how noticeable the etch mark will be depends on...

  • how reactive your marble is (it's a natural material, so it can vary)

  • how long the substance remains on the countertop

Marble etching is a chemical reaction between the calcium carbonate in your marble (travertine tile and limestone too) and the acid in coffee, wine, soda, juice, soda and a bunch of other stuff.

Fortunately, marble repair for most etch marks on polished marble is easy using an effective Marble Polishing / Etching Restoration product, which is designed specifically for this purpose, but it will be a never-ending chore.

Now if you were able to immediately wipe up all spills, then etching would be minimal and maybe not noticeable.

However, as hard as you try you will not be able to wipe up all spills immediately and you will end up pulling your hair out trying.

Etching on marble kitchen countertops is inevitable. That is why marble is not typically recommended for the kitchen counter
top. It's just impossible to maintain that "new" look.

In Europe a marble countertop in the kitchen is very common, but the aesthetic is different... Europeans typically don't expect the marble to remain pristine. It's a work top.

It's meant to be functional, not an ornament. Part of the appeal is that the patina will change and the look will age as it is worn in. And it doesn't necessarily look bad... just different.

In the US we like it to look new always. And why not, you've invested a lot of money. So, 99 times out of 100 marble in the kitchen is a bad idea.

The one time is if you are willing to let it age naturally and won't obsess over blemishes here and there.

If you must have marble kitchen countertops, then you need to learn how to repair etch marks real well.

Also, consider having it honed. Honed marble still etches of course, but it is not nearly as noticeable as on polished marble.

Although, repair of etch marks on polished marble is pretty simple with the DIY Etch Remover noted above.

The good news is that marble etching can most often be repaired (whether polished or honed), but when in the kitchen it's usually a losing battle.

A complete explanation with step-by-step instructions of how to choose the best stone for your project, removing etch marks, stains and everything else about marble maintenance (the real facts and proven solutions) can be found in our Cleaning Marble Secrets Guide.

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