Marble first gained popularity in Ancient Greece and Rome, where it was used in architecture to inspire the public and celebrate beauty. This stylish, veined stone is favored for its luminescent and unique qualities, as no two pieces can ever look alike. Marble countertops bring sophistication and elegance to all kitchen and bathroom spaces.
While strong and durable, marble is still a porous stone. Even when professionally polished and sealed, it can easily soak up liquids. This natural stone is also prone to scratching and etching, which can leave horrible stains and marks on its delicate surface, regardless of whether it is honed or polished. Marble requires specific care to retain its luster, but it’s easy to avoid costly fixes and ugly marks if you know how to care for marble countertops.
How Often Do I Need to Care Marble Countertops
Taking care of marble countertops requires daily attention. You should always wipe down countertops as soon as you’re finished using them. While marble is tolerable of hot pots and pans, it’s best to place them on trivets instead of directly on the counter. Similarly, you should use coasters and placemats under plates and glasses.
Marble is made of calcium carbonate (CaCo3), which is highly reactive to acid. When acid encounters marble, it dissolves parts of its surface, exposing untreated marble below the surface. This is why acidic food and drinks damage countertops. Use a chopping board when preparing food and blot spills away as soon as they occur. It’s even preferable to place a sheet of protective silicone or plastic over the counter when using the surface for extended periods.
When it comes to cleaning agents, steer away from abrasive products, especially those used to clean granite countertops, as they’re too harsh for this beautiful stone. PH-neutral and homemade cleaners made from mild soap and water are perfect. For tougher, heavy stains, you can use a mixture of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide.
If you want to provide extra care for your marble countertops, then either DIY or professional sealing is a must. Most stone experts recommend sealing marble every 6-12 months. Sealing creates a protective barrier over the marble and fills the stone’s pores, preventing it from absorbing liquid that’s been spilled.
Tools and Materials You Need to Care for Marble Countertops
Part of knowing how to clean marble countertops includes using the correct products.
- Soft cloths: Marble surfaces should be cleaned with a soft microfiber or cotton cloths. Use a wet cloth to clean and a dry one to wipe the surface afterward.
- A spray bottle: Spray bottles work well as they turn detergents into a fine mist or stream, gently covering larger surface areas.
- Detergents and poultices: If you’re not going to buy over-the-counter pH-neutral detergents, then make your own using a mild dishwashing detergent mixed with water. Severe stains may require a poultice. This is a liquid cleaner or chemical mixed with white absorbent material to form a paste. It draws out the stain when spread over the affected area.
How to Clean Marble Countertops
Taking care of marble countertops is relatively easy and requires diligence more than anything else.
Spray the Countertop with a Cleaning Solution
Be sure to blot spills with a soft cloth or paper towel before spraying the affected area.
Always use the correct marble countertop cleaner and avoid cleaning agents that contain vinegar, bleach, ammonia, orange, lemon juice, and other citrus foods, as the acid will eat away at the marble.
Rub the Countertop Dry
Clean the stain in circular motions with a damp cloth, working from the edge of the spill inwards. Once the stain is removed, add warm water and wash the area. Lastly, dry the countertop with a soft cloth. For extra shine, you can polish the surface with chamois and appropriate marble polish.
How to Correct Etching on Marble Countertops
Etching is not the same as scratching and occurs when a corrosive chemical eats the marble’s surface, exposing the dull, raw marble underneath. It’s more noticeable on polished than honed marble and leaves lighter-colored, whitish spots, described as “water spots” or “ghost stains.”
Scratching can be described as scrapes or digs on the marble’s surface, where some stone has been permanently removed. Polish can remove scratches from marble; however, deeper scratches may require professional help.
Like marble scratch repair, etching can be fixed by polishing and buffing the affected area. There are products on the market specifically developed to remove etching, restore the marble’s color and make it shine like new. The severity of the etching will determine how much product needs to be applied. In the case of honed marble, most DIY products should work unless the etching is severe, in which case a restoration professional might be needed.
How to Remove Stains from Marble Countertops
While all stains are removable, stubborn stains may require a few applications before the marble is restored to its original state. Here’s how to remove oil from marble, as well as other common stains:
These stains come from cooking oil, grease, butter, milk, and hand lotion. They can darken the marble’s surface. Oil stains can be drawn out with a gentle liquid soap mixed with a few drops of ammonia or acetone.
Usually pinkish-brown in appearance, organic stains should be removed with a marble poultice. You can make your own by mixing one tablespoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of water. The poultice’s consistency should be smooth and thick like a paste.
Not sure how to get rid of rust on marble? These greenish or muddy brown metal stains caused by discoloration are stubborn and may require a poultice or chemical remover, as well as a soft brush to clean crevices without damaging the marble’s surface. Avoid these stains altogether by placing a protective cover between the counter’s surface and the metal object resting on top.
When removing acid stains from marble, it’s important to apply a poultice first. Allow at least 24-48 hours for the poultice to draw out the stain, then wet the surface with water and gently wipe away. Sprinkle marble polishing powder on the affected area and rub it into the damp stone with a soft cloth.
There’s a lot of inaccurate information on how to remove water stains from marble. Most people don’t realize that water can damage marble. Like acid stains, difficult water spots also require a poultice. If necessary, you can use 0000 steel wool to buff out the stain. Wipe the residue with a damp cloth and dry thoroughly.
Small paint stains can be removed with a lacquer thinner and carefully scraped off with a dull razor blade. Do be careful as the blade can scratch the surface. In the worst cases, professional help will be needed to remove both the sealant and paint.
From how to remove paint from marble to using appropriate cleaning agents, taking care of marble countertops is easy when you know how. When properly looked after, this resilient stone will last a lifetime and retain its luster for generations.
At Granite Selection, we have 25 different types of marble from which to choose. We design and install high-quality, custom-made marble vanities, countertops, and fireplaces with excellent craftsmanship. If you’re looking for immaculate marble countertops to complete your building, then contact us today. We’ll help you transform your space at an affordable price.