Our marble care and cleaning guide has been put together to help you look after your beautiful stone. This guide is designed to help you look after your marble in the best way possible. It will help you prevent any damage occurring while also providing advice on how to clean and maintain your marble, as well as dealing with any stains and spills.

It is important to note that Google, as useful as it is, is not the best source of advice for caring for your marble. Therefore, we decided to work with Becca Cranfield at Athena Stonecare in producing this guide. They look after, care and restore stone for a living so you can rest assure that the advice and expertise in this guide is second to none.

What are the different types of Marble and their characteristics?

Marble is probably one of the most well known and loved natural stones. It has gained an association with luxury interiors due to its beauty and uniqueness. From the pure splendour of Statuario to the bold magnificence of Calacatta Borghini there is a marble for all occasions.

Properties Of Marble

The distinctive aesthetics of marble are owed to its geological components and formation. Marble actually starts life as limestone and is classed as a metamorphic rock. This means that through high heat and pressure, the structure of the limestone is transformed. The resulting stone contains all of the original carbonite materials (fossils and minerals) which are recrystalised into calcite. It is the. other minerals present in the limestone that are responsible for the stunning colours that you associate with marble. For example, iron present in the limestone will results in reddish tones, whereas serpentine is responsible for green marble formation.

Just like limestone, the high levels of calcium carbonate present mean that it is highly sensitive to acidic substances. This is particularly pertinent for marble intended for use in a kitchen. Everyday acid such as lemon juice or vinegar that comes into contact with the stone will cause a chemical reaction. This results in a burn or an etch mark. Read on for advice on how to avoid this and what to do if it does happen.

Another similarity to limestone, is the softness of the marble. The measurement on the MOHs hardeness scale is usually between 2-3. To put this into context, diamond is a 10 on the scale and talc is measured at 0. This means that extra care has to be taken to prevent scratching the stone. However it also has the advantage that unlike the harder granites and quartzites it is much easier to restore the surface of marble after installation.

Marble Finishes

The crystalline structure of marble created during the metamorphic process means that in general, it.  is easier to polish. This is another reason why it is a stone often associated with opulence. The beautiful shiny finish created when marble is polished is truly exquisite. Honed and satin finished marble is also starting to become more popular. A honed finish refers to a marble slab that has been ground to a smooth, flat finish. The surface is matte with a velvety feel. This is a beautiful way to finish a tile and also has an impact on maintenance. Although not more hardwearing as such, having a honed finish will show scratch marks and chemical etching less starkly than with a polished finish. One of the benefits of natural stone is that it can be honed or polished at any point if you change your mind.

The warehouse of Imperial Stone Group which contains its vasr range of marble slabs.

How to care for Marble

Caring for your marble and understanding the do and donts, is essential to prevent any issues occurring and also for preserving the beauty of your stone. The following tips are our recommendations for various parts of the home such as the kitchen, bathroom and flooring.

How to look after your marble flooring

Marble is a soft stone. For this reason it is essential that you keep your marble floor free from scratch hazards. Good quality matting at each entrance to your home will pick up a lot of the dirt, sand and small stones which can scratch your floors. Clean these mats regularly, especially the outdoor ones. When they become saturated in dirt they will cease to do their job. Having a ‘shoes. off policy’ in the house will also help to reduce the amount of abrasion to a stone surface from foot traffic. Felt or silicone pads on the bottom of furniture and chair legs will also help minimise the likelihood of scratch damage to your marble floor.

How to look after your marble worktops and sinks

For worktops and sinks we recommend using coasters to form a barrier between the stone surface and any potentially damaging liquids. Oils and vinegars in the kitchen and cosmetics in a bathroom have potential to stain or etch sensitive stone surfaces. It is important to blot up spills as soon as possible. Most spillages onto kitchen worktops and bathroom vanity tops are likely to damage a calcite-based stone (marble and limestone). Try not to wipe spills as this will spread the damage, but blot up with absorbent paper as soon as possible.

How to look after your marble bathroom

Hard-water can affect your stone, especially around taps and in shower areas. Installing a good quality water softening system will reduce limescale and mineral deposits occurring in these areas. In bathrooms it is essential to wipe up sitting water from all surfaces. This includes squeegeeing down the walls after everyone has taken a shower for the day. Take note of anywhere that water pools and try to keep on top of drying these areas. Keeping your bathroom well ventilated will also help to keep surfaces dry.

A living & dining room with Calacatta Oro flooring

How to clean Marble

Cleaning your marble is an important part of maintaining the elegance of your stone. In this section we concentrate on the kitchen, bathroom and flooring, and there is lots of practical advice to ensure your marble retains its natural beauty.

How to clean marble countertops

In a kitchen, the acid sensitivity of marble is particularly pertinent as everyday acids such as vinegar and fruit juices can easily come into contact with your stone. We recommend using trays and coasters to store these products to prevent them from coming into contact with your marble worktop. When spillages do occur, it is essential to ensure that you blot the liquid rather than wiping it. The acid etching will be almost instant and so wiping the liquid across the surface will further exacerbate the damage.

‘Fila Brio’ is an all surface cleaner which is ideal for natural stone. Spray this cleaner directly on your marble to kill bacteria and break down grease, just as you would with any other surface cleanser. You should then use a soft, dry cloth to wipe down your worktops. As it does not leave any residue you will not need to rinse and the surface dries very quickly. As the detergent is very mild, you can use this detergent on a daily basis and multiple times a day. Fila Refresh is also a great cleaning option for use on polished worktops. It is designed to clean, build up and maintain levels of stain protection as well as enhance the polished finish on your stone

How to clean a marble floor

Daily maintenance is the best way to ensure that your marble floor remains in good condition. It is essential to keep on top of any particles that do find their way into your home before they have a chance to scratch the stone. We advise avoiding using a vacuum cleaner on your stone floors. The head of the vacuum often has residue from other floors and can actually scratch the surface of your stone.

A soft long-hair Swiffer is the best option

Frequent use of a soft long-hair Swiffer, combined with a silicone molt-net spray will remove a lot of the small particulates which can scratch and dull your floor. Spray the underside of the Swiffer and leave to dry for 5 minutes. When you then apply the Swiffer to the floor it will attract dirt, hair, dust and loose debris. It is a lot quicker than vacuuming and much kinder to your stone.

Clean and replace your Mop after use

Be sure to thoroughly clean or replace the mop head before the next time you use it. Some debris, such as sand particles, can be sharp. Trapping dirt particles like this in the mop head then using it repeatedly is the equivalent of wiping sandpaper all over your clean marble floor. It could scratch the surface of your stone, which could then require resurfacing to remove the scratches.

Do not over mop your marble flooring

The most important thing to remember is to keep your marble floor as dry as possible. Mopping too often, over-wetting with a mop, or use of a steam-cleaner can reduce the lifespan of the sealant and actually make the floor dirtier.

For cleaning, use a pH neutral cleaning detergent

When your marble floor needs a clean, it is important to us a pH neutral cleaning detergent. Many common household cleaners are acidic and will damage your stone. Acidic products react with the calcium carbonate in marble causing a chemical burn known as an etch mark. Fila Cleaner Pro is our recommendation for a maintenance cleaner that is pH neutral and very effective.

How to clean a marble bathroom

One of the best things that you can do for your marble shower enclosure or sink is keep it free from. everyday acids. It is essential to use coasters to form a barrier between the stone surface and any potentially damaging liquids. This includes cosmetics and perfume. We also recommend keeping your marble surface as dry as possible. In a bathroom this will require a little time each day to wipe up surface water from shower walls, trays and sinks. This will stop the hard water deposits from building up and etching the stone surface. As marble will react to most household limescale removers you want to prevent the limescale from building up in the first place.

Replace all cleaning products with marble safe alternatives

It is important in a bathroom to think about the cleaning products used throughout the bathroom. We recommend you replace all surface cleaners in your house with ‘Fila Brio’ as it is just as effective as other surface cleaners on all surfaces, not just stone. This includes porcelain tiles, leather, laminate flooring, steel and glass. Replacing all cleaners in your home with a stone safe alternative removes the possibility of accidentally using the wrong type on your stone surfaces.

Take extra care of your marble shower and bath area

We recommend that you clean your shower and bath area daily. The easiest and most effective way is to spray the walls and floor of the stall with a stone safe cleaner, then squeegee down after everybody in the home has taken a shower for the day. This will stop hard water build ups to the surface of the stone. Tap water is not always PH neutral which means that over time, this can have impact your stone. In hard water areas sitting water can lead to a build-up of limescale and mineral deposits which can be tricky to remove without risking damage to the stone surface. Try to ventilate your bathroom as much as possible too. Bathrooms with inadequate ventilation can cause stone surfaces to suffer from moisture damage and even mould and mildew growth.

A contemporary living room that has Calacatta Oro flooring

How to seal Marble, when and how often

For dark coloured stone surfaces particularly, we recommend periodic reapplication of a colour enhancing sealant such as Fila Stone Plus. This will maintain the level of protection from water and oil based penetration, but will also maintain the deep colour and aesthetics. Pour a small amount. onto a microfibre cloth and apply to the stone surface in small circles until you have covered the whole area. Buff any residue with a fresh cloth and leave to dry naturally.

Acidic spills will still damage a stone that has been sealed, and a colour enhancing sealant won’t reverse this damage. However, it will mask the aesthetic impact by reducing the colour difference caused by the etch.

A kitchen that has Calacatta Caldia marble as a freestandng island worktop

Removing stains from Marble

Removing stains from marble is something you may need to do so please read our guidance below. It is important to follow our advice and to read our preventative and care advice to minimise any occurrences of stains.

Why Does Marble Stain?

When your marble worktop or floor is installed, it will usually be sealed with an impregnating sealant. This will penetrate the capillaries of the stone and protect from within. Impregnators can leave your marble with a natural, or colour-enhanced appearance, but always with the stone surface exposed.

This sealant is designed to stop any spillages onto the stone penetrating the internal structure of the marble and causing damage or a deep-set stain. The following video demonstrates the difference between water poured onto a sealed and an unsealed marble surface. This is good news when it comes to marble stain removal as it means that the damage is usually only surface level.

Etch Marks

High levels of calcium carbonate present in marble mean that it is highly sensitive to acidic substances. This is particularly pertinent for marble intended for use in a kitchen. Everyday acid such. as lemon juice or vinegar that comes into contact with the stone will cause a chemical reaction. This results in a ‘chemical burn’ known as an etch mark. On a polished marble surface this will usually show up as a dull or white patch on the stone. The best way to avoid this is prevention but accidents do happen..

DIY kits are an option for etch marks

We don’t usually recommend a home remedy for marble stain removal and particularly for etch. marks. However, there are some DIY kits available and for a small etch marks, the kits that we would suggest is from Fila. This mimics the professional restoration by using abrasives to gently buff the stone removing the stain and re-polishing the surface.

For darker stone types, you may also consider a periodic application of a water-based colour enhancing sealant. Although this won’t remove the etch mark, it will mask it to an extent. This can be a quick method to cover up the damage until you are ready to invest in professional marble stain removal.

Clean and replace your Mop after use

Be sure to thoroughly clean or replace the mop head before the next time you use it. Some debris, such as sand particles, can be sharp. Trapping dirt particles like this in the mop head then using it repeatedly is the equivalent of wiping sandpaper all over your clean marble floor. It could scratch the surface of your stone, which could then require resurfacing to remove the scratches.

Oil Spillages

For oil staining, the marble stain removal process will usually require a poultice to remove any oil that has penetrated into the stone. This can take a number of applications, often leaving the product down for 12 hours at a time. This is a lengthy procedure and will need a number of applications over several days. For this reason, it is something that you may like to try yourself before having the surface of the stone restored and resealed professionally..

Faber No Oil is an option but seek professional advice!

The product we recommend is Faber No Oil. This is a ready mixed product, so the tin will need to be thoroughly mixed before using. The thick white paste will then need to be spread liberally on the stained area and cover with cling film. The time taken for the product to work will depend on the nature of the stain and so will need to be check regularly. We would always recommend speaking with a professional before using this product. We are happy to assess the stain and talk you through the process.

Consulting a Professional is Advised

Marble stain removal is something that can be complicated and so we would always recommend consulting a professional. The method employed will depend on the exact marble type and finish of the stone.

We would like to thank Athena Stonecare for providing their expertise in helping us put together this guide. They specialise in the ongoing maintenance of marble and all natural stone. For more information on the professional services available to care for your marble visit www.athenastonecare.co.uk

About Imperial Stone Group

With 25 years experience of sourcing and selling high quality stone and marble in particular, Imperial Stone Group is the leading supplier of natural stone in the UK.

We specialise in marble slabs and we also stock a beautiful range of granite slabs, quartzite slabs, travertine slabs and porcelain slabs. Speak to us today to discuss your requirements. Call 020 3409 6253, send an email or you can also reach us via WhatsApp.

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