Having marble in your home is great but what about maintaining it, or worse – remember all those warnings of keeping all acids far away from your precious natural stone – what if something spills? Will you be able to save it? The answer is, yes! The trick is to act quickly and use the right cleaning methods to make sure you don’t make it worse. Before we jump into how to clean your marble, let’s look at the different finishes most commonly used in the home.
SHINY OR SATIN?
The most common marble surfaces used in homes are either polished or honed. The glossy finish is known as polished marble, which is designed to show off the colour and unique variegation in the stone.
A honed marble finish is known for its satin look and feel. It is made to look a bit older as if it’s been well-loved over time, think Italian palazzo. Stunning!
Whichever finish your marble has, knowing how to clean it naturally — and how to prevent and treat stains — can protect your investment while saving you expensive professional treatment.
Prevention is key, immediately wiping spills is the best way to protect your precious marble surfaces. Stay away from all purpose cleaners and even home-made cleaning mixtures that use vinegar or lemon juice since these acids will harm your marbles finish.
Daily cleaning is important as dirt, grit and small stones can scratch the surface of the marble. We suggest keeping daily cleaning simple, by sweeping or using a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust from your flooring and wiping your countertops with a microfibre cloth. For more thorough cleaning, using mild soapy water and a microfibre cloth is more than enough for both marble floors and countertops.
Avoid using a wet mop when cleaning your marble floor as the mop only moves dirt from one side to the other, without actually removing it. In addition to this, a mop gets put back into dirty water, so you will end up trying to clean your floors with the dirt you’re wanting to remove!
The most important thing to remember about marble is that acid will eat at the surface. This is called “etching”. So, regardless of the finish, it will get etched if acidic liquids such as lemons and limes, vinegar, wine and so on are not wiped off in a timely manner.
Getting stains out of marble is tricky, but has been done. Generally, to remove discoloured stains, spread a paste made of baking soda and water on the spot. Cover this with plastic wrap, tape down the edges, so it remains in place, and wait 24 hours for the mixture to “pull out” the discolouration. Gently wipe the paste away with a warm and a damp cloth the next day.
PROTECT YOUR MARBLE
The first step to protecting your marble is to seal it. A sealer will delay any staining on your marble, so whether you have marble floors or vanities, you will have time to clean up the spill. Sealing should happen right after your marble has dried after being installed or tiled, and then covered with a solid protection until there are no more contractors on site. Your marble should be sealed every 5 or so years.
There are several steps you can take to protect your marble from stains:
- Never allow water or other liquids to remain on marble surfaces.
- Swap metal canisters for ceramic or glass to prevent rust.
- Use welcome mats at entrances to reduce abrasive dirt on marble floors.
- Use coasters under glasses and candles on marble tables or vanities.
There you go, now that you know what to do. If you take care of your marble, it will reward you with a lifetime of beauty and elegance..