One of the most popular stones for kitchen and bathroom countertops is Marble. Marble countertops offer a beautiful, clean and modern look. Marble is durable, luxurious and adds the perfect flair to different types of interior styles. For many, marble is the ideal fusion of simple and elegant. That being said, it requires special maintenance and care to keep it looking nice.

Marble is made up of calcium carbonate, which makes it susceptible to etching by any acidic materials. It is also easily stained by things such as toothpaste, perfume, cologne, coffee, wine and many other substances. Marble is very porous and much softer and more sensitive than other stones. It just requires some extra TLC, so we’ve got five tips to help keep your marble countertops looking brand new.

Tip #1: Be Careful with Cleaning Products

Marble countertops require gentle cleaners. Harsh cleaning products can etch and stain the surface. When cleaning marble, use a soft cloth or sponge, hot water and stone cleaner. Stay away from commercial cleaning products. They most likely contain chemicals such as acids and alkalis that will damage the stone. A mild soap is OK for marble but use it sparingly and rinse well afterward, as soap scum might build up over time resulting in a dull film on the surface. Stay away from vinegar, ammonia, bleach or citrus such as lemon or orange for cleaning your marble countertops.

A great method for daily cleaning is pouring mild dish soap and warm water in a spray bottle and spraying the counter, followed by scrubbing with a gentle cloth and finishing off by drying the counter with a soft towel. Clean your marble countertops daily with mild products that are safe for marble.

Tip #2: Put Down a Protective Sheet

When working with food and drinks, it’s wise to have a protective barrier underneath to prevent any kind of damage, etching or stains. Use coasters for drinks and a silicone or plastic sheet for food preparation. Cutting boards are a good idea when chopping and cutting food on your marble countertops. We also recommend using a trivet before placing hot pots or pans on the countertop. Wipe up any spills immediately and always clean your countertops right after using them. Protect your beautiful countertops, and you’ll thank yourself down the line.

Tip #3: Maintain and Seal Regularly

Regular sealing is recommended for most, but not all, marble countertops. Make sure to check with the manufacturer for details. Sealing is worthwhile as it helps to prevent stains and keeps the marble countertops looking clean, fresh and beautiful. The sealant you need depends on the finish you have on your countertop. The most common marble finishes are polish (for a high-gloss surface) or honed (for a softer matte surface). Sealant usually lasts about a year before needing to be reapplied. You’ll know it’s time to reseal when water fails to bead up when splashed onto the surface of the stone.

Tip #4: Don’t Sit or Stand on It

Putting too much weight on your countertop may cause the marble to crack. Tell your kids, friends and guests to sit in the chairs and not on the counter. A crack is expensive to fix and can easily be avoided. It may be tempting to set your toddler on the counter while you cook, fix their hair or feed them a snack but don’t risk putting that much pressure on the counter. Make sure to tell your kids not to stand on them either, no matter how tempting it is to be silly and dance on them. Keep your pets off of the counters as well.

Tip #5: Keep Toiletries Away

Toiletries such as hair products, perfumes, toothpaste and lotions can leave a ring shape on the marble. If you want products to be displayed on your bathroom countertop, which is common, we recommend using a decorative tray. This can add to the style of your bathroom and protect your counters at the same time. If your products accidentally spill onto the counter, wipe it up right away.

Marble is a very sought-after stone because of its timeless and natural beauty. Take pride in your gorgeous countertops by giving them the TLC they deserve. These tips will help keep your beautiful counters in tip-top shape. Ignoring these maintenance tips may lead to a damaged and discolored countertop only weeks after getting them installed. Make sure everyone in the household knows the rules. Keep all the harsh cleaning products away from your marble countertops so nobody grabs them by accident. Get in the habit of maintaining them from the get-go, and it will become second nature to clean and care for your luxurious countertops. Taking some time to care for your countertops will keep them in impeccable shape.