Marble countertops are the epitome of luxury and elegance, but despite what many people claim, they not high maintenance at all. It is true that it is relatively soft (compared to granite), and it reacts quite easily to acid. However, with reasonable care, you can keep your marble countertops in great condition with very little effort.
Special cleaners are available commercially, but you do not need them for your daily cleaning regimen. Here is a practical guide for making and using a DIY cleaner for marble countertops.
Making the DIY cleaner
Most people will extol the efficacy of white vinegar and baking soda as wonder products for anything from cleaning bathroom tiles to unclogging drains. When it comes to marble countertops, however, you need to AVOID using them at all costs, either singly or together. White vinegar is a weak acid, but even that can etch marble. Baking soda is an alkaline, but it is also abrasive, and can cause micro scratches on marble. It seems a shame to rule them out as they are readily available household products, but there it is.
To make a DIY cleaner for marble, you need something you are also likely to have at home: dish soap. You only need to mix mild dish soap with water and use it to clean your marble countertops. However, the operative word here is “mild.” Dish soaps come in all forms, and some are simply too strong for daily use with marble.
Check your existing dish soap for the magic words “gentle on hand” or “soft.” Ivory, Dawn and Palmolive both produce the kind of mild dish soap you need for your DIY marble cleaner. Make sure the dish soap does not state that it is “for commercial use,” “antibacterial;” or similar. These can cause quite a lot of problems for you and your kitchen countertops.
You want a dish soap that has neutral pH, which is between 7 and 8. This is sage for use with marble. If you have Dawn Ultra, then you have neutral pH dish soap. Other dish soaps that also pass the litmus test are Seventh Generation Dish Liquid and Joy Ultra Concentrated.
Mix a few drops of dish soap to about 4 cups of water in a container and mix vigorously for about half a minute, or until it starts to bubble and froth. This indicates the activation of surfactants, which is the compound in dish detergent that attracts dirt to water. Once you have achieved this state, you can start using your DIY cleaner on your marble countertops.
Using the DIY cleaner
To do this, fill a spray bottle with the cleaning solution, and give the marble countertops a generous coating. Once all the surfaces are completely covered, wipe it off with a clean cloth using a circular motion. If you encounter some stubborn grime, use a little bit more of the cleaner on it and give it a hearty scrub. Wipe off the excess with a dry cloth.
Your DIY cleaner is very mild, so at this point you may be tempted to skip the rinse. However, even a tiny amount of soap will leave some type of residue that will build up over time and leave a haze over your marble countertops. Dampen a soft clean cloth with clean water and go over the surface to remove any soap residue.
Using another cloth, go over the surfaces again to make sure it is completely dry. A microfiber or chamois cloth will do the trick admirably. Check the surface for any rogue wet spots and take care of it, as these can leave unattractive water spots if left to dry, especially in hard water areas.
If you still see stains after a thorough cleaning, you are probably dealing with something beneath the surface. You can take certain steps to manage specific types of stains.
If a poultice is required, you will need to spread a thick layer of it on the stain, tape cling film over the whole thing, and leave to dry before scraping it off. Rinse the area and check on the stain. If it is still there, you will need to do the process over until it is all gone.
Types of Marble Stains
If you let a can on your marble countertops and it got wet, you will get rust stains, which are usually circular and brown. The best method is to use a liquid non-acidic commercial rust remover. If this is not available, try using acetone alone to remove the stain. If that is a bust, make a paste with the consistency of peanut butter using acetone and baking soda.
You can remove oil-based stains the same way as rust, using an acetone-baking soda poultice. You can also substitute mineral spirits for the acetone.
Fruit or coffee
Organic stains leave a brownish color on marble. You can remove it by using a poultice of 6% hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.
If you have children in the house, ink stains of some type are going to happen. You can use the same method as with organic stains, or substitute ammonia for the hydrogen peroxide.
You can use other materials as a white absorbent agent in the place of baking soda. These include:
- Fuller’s earth
- Diatomaceous earth
- Molding plaster
- Paper towels
Keeping marble countertops clean and stain free is not as hard as many people believe. You do not even have to worry about keeping special products on hand to do it. This guide should set you straight on that and show you why you should not be afraid of choosing them for your kitchens.
If you are ready to take the plunge, get in touch with a reliable countertop specialist in your area. KNC Granite has a large array of marble slabs from which to choose. You can check actual slabs at our showroom in Lanham, Maryland.
However, we do not only supply top-quality marble stones. We are experts at fabricating and installing kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities using granite and engineered quartz as well. We carry some of the top brands of engineered stone, including Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all of which come with manufacturer warranties.
Also we specialize in kitchen remodeling and bathroom upgrade projects, delivering on time and on budget. Give us a call or email us for your free in-home consultation and quote!