Marble cleaning, protection, and maintenance are unique requiring particular care. Many fuss and fume over their marble countertops and floor tile wondering what the heck happened and why. In truth, it is not difficult or time-consuming.
You just need to learn how to clean marble the right way!
Practice the marble cleaning do's & don'ts presented below and you'll avoid damage, the expense of marble repair, and keep your marble always looking its beautiful best!
For complete A to Z info
about sealing, cleaning, all marble maintenance and repair with the best DIY solutions check out the Cleaning Marble Secrets ebook.
You may have read about applying a marble & granite sealer and all the "hassle" it is, but I assure you it’s not such a big deal once you know what you are doing.
The job is fairly simple to perform. The time and cost involved are really inconsequential when compared to how fabulous marble counter tops and floors look in your home — not to mention the added value when compared with other surfaces.
I recommend using these top-quality penetrating marble sealers to protect your investment from stains.
FYI... some marbles do not need sealing. In such cases, it's best not to try and apply a sealer since it won't absorb correctly, may just dry on the surface, and then you'll have to strip it off with toxic chemicals.
A spray surface dressing like this Topical Polish / Shine Enhancer will make the shine really sparkle and provide a little protection.
Marble is much more sensitive than granite to acidic substances like wine, coffee, fruit juices, tomato sauce, sodas, toiletry products and cleaning products that can stain or etch (dull) the surface finish.
Tip: check out our marble stains & etching page for specifics on diagnosing the different types of "spots" you may see on marble.
The only cleaning agents you should use on a regular basis are hot water and a specially formulated marble cleaner.
I recommend this Marble & Granite cleaning spray or the "green" version is excellent and more environmentally-friendly.
Buff dry with a cotton cloth or chamois. Using a mild soap for cleaning marble won’t harm the stone, but consistent use will lead to a dull film covering the surface like soap scum in a shower or bath.
Marble as a kitchen countertop is troublesome because it is impossible to completely prevent etching. Using cutting boards will protect against scratching and direct contact with food juices that may etch.
These cutting boards are a super choice. Grip the counter, catch juices, dishwasher-safe, reversible. Great value.
For a more elegant option the John Boos butcher block is the Cadillac of cutting boards and will last forever.
Use quality trivets under hot pans to avoid scratches or possible scorching.
Bottles, cans, and glasses that contain acidic drinks may etch the polish or damage the surface.
So make marble cleaning easy and avoid expensive marble polishing and restoration by treating your marble tops like fine wood furniture.
Always use coasters under all glasses, bottle, and cans... no matter what.
A decorative tray on a marble vanity can look very nice and it will protect the surface from the damaging chemicals contained in many toiletry products.
Use a clean, dry, non-treated dust-mop to clean off dust and dirt that can wear on the finish and cause scratches.
Here's a high-quality microfiber mop that works especially well for marble floors, but also wood, or other tile. Its extra-durable, stainless steel, adjustable, swivel-head handle and well-made washable mop heads set it apart from the rest.
Be careful using a vacuum cleaner.
Worn parts or grit jammed by the wheels may scratch the surface. Also,
mop regularly using a specialized stone cleaner.
Tip: Polished marble floor tile makes a very slick surface when wet, so go with a "honed," "tumbled" or "sawed" floor tile especially in the bathroom. It will look warm and inviting and hide dust, dirt, and stains very well.
Grit, dirt, and sand carried in by our shoes are abrasive and will wear and scratch marble floor tile. Doormats inside and out really help.
Foot traffic will also wear away the shiny surface of polished floors over time creating trails. Runners or rugs in high-traffic areas will minimize this wear on the surface finish.
However, rugs and mats must be cleaned regularly to eliminate dirt and dust that builds up within the rug that could then also scratch the marble.
Cleaning marble with products bought at your local store that contain acids, alkalis, and other chemicals can etch or damage the countertop surface or degrade the sealant leaving the stone more vulnerable to staining.
Unfortunately, most common and popular household cleaners (this includes bleach, vinegar, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and well-known name-brand cleaners) are too harsh for use on marble and will cause damage to the finish.
Trying to save money by using a cheap, generic surface cleaner only ensures that you'll spend a lot more time and money on your marble maintenance in the long-run performing expensive repairs or marble restoration.
These are all great for certain cleaning projects around the house, however, they are all acidic and will etch marble upon contact dulling the surface.
As noted above, a sponge with hot water is all you need on a daily basis and a marble cleaner weekly or as needed day to day.
The powders and even the "soft" creams contain abrasives that will scratch and dull the surface. Cleaning soap scum and hard water are the major issues in the bath.
Use only cleaners specific for marble and you'll cheerfully avoid the majority of marble cleaning troubles.
Hair products, toothpaste, perfumes, colognes, nail products, creams, lotions, and potions may stain or etch the surface leaving spots, rings, or dull areas. Protect your countertop by placing these products on a decorative tray like they do in fancy hotels!
Unlike laminate countertops, marble countertops are not flexible and they DO NOT typically have a plywood backing. Too much weight in one spot could cause a crack.
Using a marble countertop (or floor tile) as a staging or work area for various honey do's or home repair projects is asking for trouble. Marble is soft. Nails and screws, hammers, screwdrivers and other tools will scratch or gouge marble.
And dropping anything heavy on marble can create little white dots called "stun marks" that cannot be removed or repaired.
Okay... I know it seems like there is a lot to do and know and learn about cleaning marble, but it's just a matter of learning how to treat this surface like you do with clothes or leather or wood.
Most of the Do’s and Don’ts are things you already do and don't do! And the new tips you’ve learned about how to clean marble are really very easy requiring only minor modification to your normal routine.
If damage does occur, and you need marble repair, you can rest easy knowing that restoration is possible in most cases. Damage to stone is rarely permanent like it is with most other surfaces.
The best advice is to get a separate cleaning tote for your marble cleaning products, so you have everything in one spot.
Label everything and off you go--no problems or guesswork. This is especially handy if you use a cleaning service. You’ll never have to worry that you or the housekeeper might accidentally use the wrong product.
Marble cleaning is simply a matter of learning the particular traits of marble countertops and floors and the correct procedures... then it's just routine.
Again, you'll find comprehensive info on marble cleaning, marble polishing, sealing, prevention and marble repair solutions in the Cleaning Marble Secrets e-book.
Note that marble is time-tested over hundreds of years as a highly-functional and durable surface. It's built for use. Now, with these helpful tips and a little attention you’ll maintain and enjoy its luxurious beauty for years to come.
Learn even more! Click on the links below to read detailed answers to common (and unusual) marble cleaning questions.
Best and Safest Marble Cleaning Products
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Cleaning Marble Countertop Kaboom Damage
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Improving Marble Countertop Look
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Liquid VIM Bathroom Cleaner Marble Stain
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Marble Bathroom Countertop Cleaner Damage
QUESTION: My housekeeper used the wrong cleaner on my marble bathroom counter which left spots scattered all over and I want to find something to correct …
Marble Stain from Lime-Away on Countertop
QUESTION: Cleaning women used Lime-Away product to clean large shower caddy right on new brown marble counter top in bathroom. It left a large (12inch …
Marble Damage from Natural Lemon Cleaner
QUESTION: I have been using a natural product that uses lemon and now my countertops are blotchy and rough. What do you suggest I use to clean my countertops. …
Marble Vanity Top Stain Due To CLR Use
QUESTION: Some CLR cleaner was used on the polished marble countertop. The shine is now gone and spotty. Vinegar and Clorox cleanup were …
Bleach Damaged Marble Floor
QUESTION: I used bleach on my black marble floors and it damaged them. Looks awful. How do I fix this? ANSWER: Using bleach for cleaning …
Ammonia Damage on Black Marble Floor
QUESTION: I inadvertently cleaned a black marble floor with ammonia and water solution - now have streaking, etc. in floor - how to cure, if possible? …
Repairing Lysol Cleaner Damage on Marble Countertops
QUESTION: I am renting an apt. with a black and white marble bathroom - shower, vanity and floor. I used Lysol disinfectant bathroom cleaner on …
Preventing Marble Countertop Etching
QUESTION: Have you ever heard of s-b-s sealer or lifeguard from Aldon chemical? The products are supposed to prevent etching on marble. I would …
Removing Bleach Spots on Marble
QUESTION: Help! I used a bleach-based cleaner on my dark brown marble table in my dining room. I sprayed it with the bleach cleaner and …
Bathroom Marble Cleaning & Care for Showers, Floors, Vanity
QUESTION: Do you need to take special marble cleaning precautions for a bathroom countertop, floor or shower? ANSWER: Yes.... Like any material …
Disinfectant Cleaner Options for Marble Countertops
How To Disinfect Marble Countertops Safely QUESTION: I just got new Carrara marble countertops and a full backsplash installed in my kitchen. …
How To Remove Soap Scum on Granite & Marble
QUESTION: How do you remove soap scum stains on marble shower tiles and floor? How about from granite countertops? ANSWER: Soap scum removal …
Outdoor Marble Table Dulled By Weather
QUESTION: I have a Carrara marble bistro table that has been sitting outside on a sunny balcony for several years. The color has faded and the surface …