Marble is a beautiful stone classically used in the construction of countertops, floors, and accents on furniture.
Marble is easily stained, etched, and dulled, so it’s important to know how to take care of it well if you want it to last for a long time.
Protecting marble against etching and staining takes effort, but thankfully not a lot.
Read on to learn basic maintenance, stain removal, and tips for keeping your marble looking polished.
1. Prevention is key with marble countertops.
Mop up spills as soon as they happen so they don’t have time to etch the surface. You can keep your marble scar-free and lovely if you care for it properly.
When you use a marble countertop for food preparation, you will need to wipe up any spills immediately. It may be a good idea to use a large cutting board and do your prep work on it.
Marble is tolerant of hot surfaces, but you should always protect it. Use placemats and coasters under plates and glasses when serving on a marble countertop.
Immediately after each meal, clean the countertop before you go on to other tasks.
Here’s how to clean marble countertops.
For routine maintenance and spills, you catch quickly, warm, soapy water is the best for the job—just make sure to rinse well, sop up any standing water, and thoroughly dry the surface.
Don’t use vinegar, or bleach on marble. A single use of these acidic substances will eat into a marble countertop’s surface and dull the stone.
Don’t use abrasive cleaner or pads, either, because marble can be scratched.
A secret in knowing how to clean marble countertops: You don’t need specialty cleaners for marble. Mild soap and hot water will do just fine. Wipe soapy water on the counter with a soft cloth or sponge. This will remove dirt but won’t heal any etching or stains.
3. Getting out stains
So what do you do when you spill something on your marble countertop and it stains?
You can rub on hydrogen peroxide mixed with a few drops of ammonia. Do not put more than a few drops of ammonia because it’s a weak acid and can damage you counter. You want just enough to dissolve the stain.
Baking soda is also a general solution for many stains. You mix baking soda with a little water, spread it on the stain, and cover it. After 12 to 24 hours, you gently remove the paste and wipe the area with a damp cloth.
If you spilled anything oil-based, and the stain has set, attack it (gently) with a liquid cleanser that contains “household detergent, mineral spirits, or acetone.”
If it’s a paint stain, use a dull razor to carefully scrape it off. If you cannot remove a stain, you can hire a professional to remove the surface sealant and the stain.
4. Correcting Etching
To remove etching, use a marble polishing powder. Wet the counter surface, sprinkle on the powder and rub with a soft, damp cloth, or use a buffer pad gently. Buff until the etch goes away and the shine returns.
For water spots, light scratches, and nicks, try buffing your marble with dry steel wool. Anything deeper than surface level scratches will require a professional’s help.
Whatever marble you have in your home, sealing it every few months is a good idea.
According to the Marble Institute, sealants don’t make the stone stain-proof but they do make it more stain resistant.
Check with whoever supplied your marble for their recommendations on the right products to use (and remember to make sure it’s food safe if you’re using it in the kitchen).
For marble floors, and other high-traffic surfaces, invest in some furniture pads and some coasters—better safe than sorry.