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How to Clean Marble: Step-by-Step Guide

Written by Kyle Murray on August 28, 2019
Edited By Brian Freeman, Last Updated On January 01, 2024
Reviewed By Samantha Peterson
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Marble has long been used as a building material due to its beauty. Use of the stone in building dates back centuries, and marble has been used to construct everything from some of the world’s most famous statues and buildings to kitchen and bathroom countertops. But while marble may be beautiful, it will only stay this way if you take proper care of it. One of the major downsides to the stone is its highly porous quality, which makes is susceptible to stains – especially stains from acidic substances. Examples of acidic substances include orange juice, coffee, wine and juice. If any acidic substance comes into contact with marble, it will eat away at the surface. This will result in dull spots called etches appearing on the surface. This guide will inform you on how to clean marble in general, how to clean specific stains and how to seal marble


How to Clean: General Cleaning 

For general cleaning, there is not much you will need. A helpful hint is to stay away from any cleaners that are harsh, as they can damage a marble countertop or other surface. Follow the next section to learn about the process of general cleaning. 

What You Will Need: General Cleaning 

The following is a list of materials you will need for general cleaning. 


Warm water

Mild dish soap

Spray bottle

Marble cleaner

Dish cloth 

Absorbent towel 

Step-by-Step Guide: General Cleaning 

Read through the following steps to find out how to clean marble. 

Step 1: Mix Soap and Water 

Mix a small amount of mild dish soap with warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the countertop or other surface all over many times. After this, gently scrub and wipe the mixture off with a clean wet cloth. 

Step 2: Dry the Surface 

After you have wiped off the mixture with a clean wet cloth, dry the surface you are cleaning with an absorbent towel. 

How Do You Clean Stains on a Marble Surface? 

One thing you will always have to watch out for with marble is stains. The material is very susceptible to staining, so you will need to be careful to avoid having them happen. However, no one is perfect, and stains are nearly inevitable. The following step-by-step guide will give you information about how to clean various common stains that may occur on your marble countertops or other surfaces. 

What You Will Need: Removing Stains 

The following is a list of materials you will need for removing stains from your marble. 


Protective eyewear


Mild liquid cleaner



Mineral spirits


Grade 0000 steel wool pads


12 percent hydrogen peroxide solution

20 percent hydrogen peroxide solution

Lacquer thinner

Razor blade



How to Remove Water Spots or Rings 

To clean water spots or rings, use the Grade 0000 steel wool pad to buff them out. To avoid water spots and rings from occurring, you should make sure to use coasters or trivets when setting anything down on a marble countertop.  

How to Remove Mildew 

To remove mildew, mix a solution of three parts bleach with one part water and a small amount of dishwashing soap in a spray bottle. Mist the stain until it disappears. Then, clean with water and dry. 

How to Remove Organic Stains 

Some examples of organic stains are coffee, tea, wine, juice or other food products. To start, mix 12 percent hydrogen peroxide solution with a couple drops of ammonia. Apply to the stain and wipe with a clean cloth. Then, wipe with a wet cloth and dry with a chamois. 


How to Remove Oil-Based Stains 

Examples of oil-based stains are grease, milk or cooking oil. To clean these, use a mild liquid cleaner with ammonia, acetone, bleach or mineral spirits. Make sure to clean gently rather than aggressively scrubbing the surface. 

How to Remove Ink Stains  

Removing ink stains from your marble surface will depend on what color surface you have. If you have a lighter colored marble surface, dip a cotton swab in a 20 percent hydrogen peroxide solution. If the surface is a darker colored marble, you will complete this step using acetone instead of the 20 percent hydrogen peroxide solution. If the ink stain has already set in or is very large, you will need a poultice. 

Removing an Ink Stain: Step 1 

Start by combining a ¼ or ½ cup of flour with the 20 percent hydrogen peroxide solution or acetone in a bowl. Add the 20 percent hydrogen peroxide solution or acetone to the flour one teaspoon at a time. Combine until you form a paste. 

Removing an Ink Stain: Step 2 

Apply the poultice you just created to the area by using a spoon. Then, cover the area with plastic wrap and poke small holes in the plastic wrap. Let this sit for a full 24 hours. 

Removing an Ink Stain: Step 3 

After this time is up, you can remove the plastic wrap and let the poultice continue to dry. Once it is dry, you can remove it. 

Removing an Ink Stain: Step 4 

Add a small amount of neutral pH soap to a damp sponge and wipe down the area. 

How to Remove Metal Stains 

Removing metal stains from your marble will depend on what type of metal caused the stain. If the stain was caused by iron or rust, it will typically be an orange or lighter brown color. On the other hand, if the stain was caused by bronze or copper, it will appear to be green or darker brown. To clean stains such as these, you will need to use a poultice. 

Removing a Metal Stain: Step 1 

Begin by mixing a commercial poultice with water. After this, proceed to the following steps. 

Removing a Metal Stain: Step 2 

Apply between a ¼ to ½ inch thick of the mixture to the stain. Use a spatula to spread evenly over the stain. 

Removing a Metal Stain: Step 3 

Cover the area with plastic wrap and let it sit for between 24 to 48 hours. Make sure to tape the plastic wrap down so it stays. 

Removing a Metal Stain: Step 4 

After the 24 to 48 hours is up, remove the plastic wrap and let the poultice continue to dry. 

Removing a Metal Stain: Step 5 

Once the poultice has dried, carefully remove with a scraper. Then, rinse the area with distilled water and buff it with a gentle cloth. 

How to Remove Paint Stains 

To clean paint stains, begin by applying a small amount of lacquer thinner to a clean cloth and wipe off the stain. Alternatively, you could use a razor blade to carefully scrape off the stain. If the paint stain is large, you will need to remove it with commercial paint stripper. However, using this will require you to re-polish the counter after the stain is removed. Make sure to be careful and always follow the instructions that come with the product. 

How to Seal a Marble Countertop 

If you are concerned about staining on your marble countertop, one key way to cut down on these stains is to seal the countertop. Follow the steps below to learn how you can seal your marble countertop. 


What You Will Need: Sealing 

The following is a list of materials you will need to seal your marble countertop. 


Impregnating sealer

Clean cloth


Mild dish soap

Razor blade



Sealing a Marble Countertop: Step 1 

Clear off the surface and clean it following the steps listed above for general cleaning. 

Sealing a Marble Countertop: Step 2

Carefully remove any stains or residue that is present on the countertop by using the scraper or razor blade. 

Sealing a Marble Countertop: Step 3 

Apply acetone to strip the old sealer from the countertop. Then rinse with a wet cloth and dry with a chamois. 

Sealing a Marble Countertop: Step 4

Either pour or spray the sealer onto your marble countertop. This will depend on the specific sealer you are using. Follow all instructions on the back of the product. 

Sealing a Marble Countertop: Step 5

Let your countertop sit for the specified time on the instructions. Wipe off any excess sealer. 

Sealing a Marble Countertop: Step 6  

After you have applied the sealer, let your countertop sit for 24 hours. 

Marble surfaces or countertops can stay beautiful for years on end if you care for them properly. Proper care involves cleaning, which you will know how to do by reviewing this guide. 

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