Caring for Marble Countertops and Vanity Tops
Daily and periodic care
Elegant, versatile and durable as it is, marble, like any other surface, needs conditioning, cleaning, care and maintenance to preserve its beauty and prolong its life. Because it is absorbent, marble need special care – it can stain with spillages like liquids or oil, and is sensitive to acids like citrus juices, vinegar or household cleaning chemicals, which can damage its surface. When used externally, it is vulnerable to acid rain or pollutants in the atmosphere, which erode and discolor its surface. But, taking care of your marble as soon as you install it will go a long way to preserve it, and save restoration costs in the long run.
- Prevention – the cure to marble damage
- Taking just a few precautions with your marble will mitigate, and sometimes eliminate any problems whatsoever:
- Use honed marble on the floor – it is more resistant to scratches.
- Avoid using polished marble in high traffic areas
- Placing non-slip mats or rugs at the entrance minimizes soiling from dirt on shoes
- Wipe anything that spills on marble immediately
- Use coasters under glasses or bottles
- Use mats or trivets to place hot items on marble
- Follow a daily and periodic cleaning routine
- Use clean mops and brooms
- Old vacuum cleaners will scratch your marble – avoid using them
- Change mopping water frequently during cleaning
- Always rinse using clean, warm water
- Allow floors to dry before use
- Always follow the directions on your cleaner and avoid mixing chemicals unless specified
- Use abrasives (nutshells, feldspar or silica, quartz etc) on honed marble only, and never on polished surfaces. Abrasives can cause scratches
- Avoid using chemical cleaners, acids like vinegar and limejuice, grout cleaners, tub or tile cleaners on marble. They will etch or dull the stone
- Try not to use wax on marble, as it makes it slippery
- Inspect interior and exterior tiles regularly and correct flaws straightaway
- Never use a mixture of ammonia and bleach for removing stains. The resulting gas is toxic and lethal
- Do not use hot water to clean spilt milk or blood, as doing so makes the stain worse
Cleaners for your marble
For best results, please do not use acid based household cleaners on your marble. Soapless cleaners and other neutral cleaners like specialized stone soaps are ideal, as they do not damage the surface. Mild phosphate-free, eco-friendly dishwashing liquids or powders, suitable detergents (PH 7 –neither acidic nor alkaline), or vegetable oil based soaps are also fine, as long as you rinse the soap off completely. Contact your stone dealer for more details.
Sweep using a soft brush for polished surfaces, and medium bristles for a textured surface. You can also vacuum, as long as the cleaner is in good condition – worn vacuum can scratch your marble - to remove dust. Or dry mop every day, using a non treated cloth.
Ideally, granite is best as a kitchen countertop, because it is very hygienic and easy to clean. If you decide on marble, however, (it does create a very European feel) then honed (natural finish with no shine) is best, as it is easier to manage. You can scrub your honed marble counter using abrasives, bleach and soaps with a scouring pad without worrying about damage. Rinse well and dry afterwards using a soft cloth.
Remove excess water immediately using a squeegee. Hard water is particularly damaging to stone, so clean up using a neutral soap scum powder or a solution of half a cup of ammonia in one gallon of water once a month or so. Use mild bleach in clear water in hot tubs to remove algae or moss.
Keep steps, paths, walkways, and garden ornaments free from dirt by sweeping and washing often.
Wash floors occasionally using clean lukewarm water, drying afterwards with a soft cloth. Cleaning with a suitable cleaner, double rinsing and drying about twice a year keeps your marble floors free from soil and prevents graying. Inspect exterior tiles regularly for signs of damage due to weathering, pollutants in the atmosphere, or moisture damage and clean as often as required. You can try easy-to-use specialty products to remove smoke and soot from your fireplace. Ask your stone dealer for more details.