Although marble is durable and a beautiful stone choice for countertops, its composition makes it prone to etching, the term for scratches in marble. It is also very porous and softer than granite, so you may see more stains, cracks, pitting, and dulling of its original luster.
Don’t worry, there are a number of ways to keep your choice of countertop in top-notch condition. Whether your marble countertop is in your bathroom or kitchen, protecting and cleaning it properly is key to keeping it looking its best for years to come. The wrong sponge, cloth, or cleaner could easily result in damage.
Follow these easy do’s and don’ts for cleaning and protecting your marble.
Using a microfiber cloth to dust and sweep up loose dirt is the easiest way to avoid scraping and etching. When wet cleaners are needed, use a pH-neutral cleaner designed for marble and other stones. A safe choice is a small amount of mild dish soap and water mixed in a spray bottle. Lightly spray the desired area only. Remember to continue to wipe the countertops until the suds are completely gone and gently towel dry.
Choose Cleaning Products Wisely
Regular cleaning products can etch and stain your marble countertops over time. Read labels to avoid ammonia, bleach, vinegar, and any citrus. Lemon and orange juice are common citrus cleaning ingredients to acidic for cleaning marble.
Alkali or basic cleaners and anything gritty will damage the marble as well. When in doubt, you can always patch test a cleaning product on a spare remnant from your countertop installation or an unobtrusive location on your installed marble. Remember to hide any marble-damaging cleaners when cleaners or guests are in the house who may not know what is safe for cleaning your countertops.
Do Seal Your Marble Countertops
Seals should prevent liquid from soaking in and causing instant damage and stains. Spills should always be cleaned up immediately even with a good sealant. You can tell when it is time to reseal the stone when water does not bead up on the surface anymore, which can be as frequently as once a month.
When choosing your sealant, it is important to consider if it needs to be food-safe or not. Impregnating sealers typically are food-safe, and they are ideal for preventing marble staining. If you do not feel up to sealing yourself, you can have your counter fabricator seal it prior to installation. It is important to note that there are a few marble countertops that do not need a seal, so be sure to check requirements with your marble supplier.
Don’t Let Spills Sit
When in doubt, treat marble like it is a wood finish; always use coasters and cutting boards. Do not let anything acidic such as citrus, tomato, or vinegar sit on it. Whatever the liquid, make sure to soak it up as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary staining. Try to blot spills instead of wiping with a paper towel or microfiber cloth to minimize spreading the spill over a larger area. Immediately clean the area with your pH-neutral cleaner of choice.
Do Stain Treat Your Marble
When stains do appear on your marble, do not write your marble off as ruined. Stains need to be treated differently depending on what caused the stain, but a baking soda poultice works great for many stains. Mix baking soda and a little water to make a paste, spread it on the stain, and cover it with plastic wrap. Seal the edges with painters’ tape until it is dry, roughly 12 to 24 hours later. Gently remove the dried paste with a damp cloth. Repeat this once more for stubborn stains.
Don’t Use Elbow Grease
When it comes to cleaning marble, being gentle is key. Avoid using more elbow grease when cleaning your countertops to protect against etching. When mild etching does occur, find a marble polishing powder for countertops and follow their directions. For deeper nicks and etching, you may need a professional service to re-polish your countertops’ surface.
Do Use Barriers To Protect Your Countertops
Marble is heat resistant, but trivets should be used under your hot pots and pans. Use coasters under cool beverages. Consider investing in some silicon mats for your countertops to act as a barrier during cooking. These are all simple but effective ways to reduce wear and tear to your marble.
Marble countertops are beautiful and compliment just about any style. However, to keep them looking great, you need to give them a little TLC. Treat your countertops to a spa day filled with stain treatments and sealants as needed to protect them from the oopses in life.