How to Clean Marble

Marble has been used for decorating the interior and exterior of buildings for centuries. It is formed naturally when limestone or dolomite rock recrystallises and locks in layers of clay, silt and other natural materials. These are trapped within the rock and form the characteristic veins and swirls that give Marble its unique, dramatic effect.

Marble is one of the most beautiful natural materials that you can have in your home.

However, it can be fragile and prone to scratching and staining so it’s very important that you maintain it carefully and protect it from damage.

Floor tiles, countertops, bathrooms and fire hearths are among the most common places for marble to be used in the home and each one of these areas has its own specific cleaning requirements.

I’ve put together some handy tips and practical guidelines for keeping your marble surfaces clean, hygienic and protected and found some useful products to help you do so.

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How To Clean Marble Floor Tiles

Marble flooring looks stunning but general wear and tear, moving furniture and the use of harsh cleaning products can leave your floor tiles looking dirty, discoloured and a little bit sad. You should always avoid using corrosive cleaners on marble. I often recommend using vinegar as a household cleaner, but marble is one surface where you shouldn’t use this method as the acid can cause marble to corrode.

There are a number of purpose made cleaning products which are designed for marble and other natural stone floor tiles. Cleaning specialist HG has an excellent neutral floor cleaner which won’t damage your delicate marble surfaces. The cleaner is biodegradable, non-toxic and it won’t penetrate any seals or polishes.

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HG’s neutral floor cleaner is concentrated and comes in a 5-litre bottle which should last you for ages. Depending on how dirty your floors are, you can use a lower or higher concentration for the task in hand. HG recommends mopping with 80ml per 10L of water for day-to-day cleaning and you can double this for heavily soiled floors. There’s no need to rinse off the cleaner. Just leave your floors to dry naturally and you’ll be left with a gleaming high-shine finish.

Always sweep or vacuum marble floors prior to mopping as small stones or pieces of sharp debris could easily scratch the surface if caught up in your mop. Avoid using abrasive cleaners like steel wool or hard bristled brushes and always lift rather than drag furniture to avoid marking.

Another option for cleaning your marble floor is an electric floor mop like the Bissell Spin Wave. Electric mops take a lot of the hard work out of mopping and allow you to clean with or without detergent. The Bissell Spin Wave is a favourite of mine because it applies just the right amount of moisture to your floors and leaves them almost bone dry once you finish.

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If you have stains or scratches on your marble tiles, read on to the end of this article for some helpful tips for removing or at least improving the appearance of these.

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How To Clean a Marble Fireplace and Hearth

If you have an open fire, your marble fireplace and hearth can easily become stained with soot and ash. Removing this staining can be tricky as you can’t use corrosive or abrasive cleaners on marble.

Soot is quite an oily substance which is difficult to cut through so you’ll want to remove as much of the surface residue as possible before you tackle the staining. Many people use vinegar to remove soot but this method isn’t suitable for marble as vinegar is too corrosive.

Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from staining and use an old rag or towel and some good old fashioned elbow grease to remove as much of the soot as possible. Then treat the stain with a gentle stain removing product like Bar Keepers Friend Stain Remover Powder.

Bar Keepers Friend is very simple to use. It comes in powder form and you mix it into a paste and apply it to the stain using a non-abrasive sponge or cloth. Rub it gently into the stain and leave for about 10 minutes before rinsing off. This product does an excellent job at lifting stains from marble without damaging the surface. For very severe staining, you may need to repeat the process more than once.

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How To Clean Marble Counter Tops

Although you want to avoid corrosive and chemical products on your marble worktop, you also don’t want to compromise on hygiene in your kitchen area.

Luckily there are some great products out there which mean that you can keep your worktop immaculately clean while also protecting your marble surface. Method’s Daily Granite Marble Cleaner is a biodegradable, non-toxic cleaner designed specifically for cleaning marble and granite worktops.

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The spray is suitable for daily use and contains alcohol and sodium citrate to sanitise your surfaces. It also has a beautiful orange blossom scent and you only need a small amount to have your worktop looking and smelling great.

To use Method’s marble cleaner, simply spray onto a soft microfibre cloth and wipe your surfaces in a circular motion. There’s no need to rinse. Check out the product in action in the following video:

If your worktop is looking stained or discoloured, Bar Keeper’s Friend stain remover is an excellent product for restoring your counter to its former glory. Simply mix to a paste and work the stain remover into the stain with a soft cloth or sponge. Leave for a few minutes and rinse.

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Cleaning Marble Showers and Bathroom Fixtures

Just like your kitchen, you definitely don’t want to compromise on hygiene in your bathroom. Like all other marble surfaces, your marble bathroom tiles are very sensitive to corrosive and abrasive cleaners so it is best to use a specialised marble cleaner.

HG’s Natural Stone Bathroom Cleaner is an ideal choice for cleaning and maintaining your marble bathroom. The cleaner comes in a 500ml bottle of highly concentrated cleaning fluid which you dilute in water.

This product does a great job at removing soap scum, light limescale and grime and it won’t damage your delicate marble.

To use HG’s natural stone bathroom cleaner, dilute it in water and apply to your marble bathroom finish with a soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge. Rinse off and dry with another soft cloth or towel for a high shine finish.

To keep your marble bathroom looking its best, you should always dry off the shower, and tiles after use. Leaving water to pool on surfaces can lead to discolouration and in time will dull the finish of your marble.

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A squeegee like Haceka’s Kosmos Shower Squeegee is a handy tool to have in your bathroom. This one can be mounted on the wall in your shower and makes it easy to quickly remove water from your tiles, glass and other bathroom surfaces. This simple step takes just seconds but can make a big difference to the appearance of your marble bathroom.

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Treating Scratches

When it comes to scratches on marble, prevention is definitely better than cure but there are steps you can take to correct minor scratches. Very light scratches can often be rubbed away with just warm water and a cloth but deeper indentations will require sanding.

Start off by cleaning the scratched area with a mild dish soap like Ecover’s lemon and aloe washing up liquid, warm water and a soft cloth. Rinse off the surface and thoroughly dry before the next step.

Take a very fine grain sandpaper with a 360 – 600 grit count and rub the scratched area very lightly. This should improve the appearance of the scratch. Gently polish with a damp cloth and dry with a separate dry cloth or towel.

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Stain Removal

Bar Keeper’s Friend is one of the best stain removers for marble surfaces. Simply mix the paste with water and apply it to the stained area before rinsing off. This product will remove the vast majority of stains from small marble areas, but if you’re dealing with a large area of damaged or stained marble, you are probably going to need to consult with a professional.

There are a number of specialist cleaning services who have expertise in restoring damaged marble to its former glory so don’t despair.

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Maintaining your Marble Surfaces

Once your marble is clean, scratch free and looking brand new, you’ll want to keep it that way. Keep your marble clean by washing it regularly with a gentle, non-corrosive cleaner. Remove spills immediately and don’t allow water or other liquids to pool on marble surfaces.

Waxing your marble is a great way to enhance shine and protect it from scratching and staining. This is a process that you only need to carry out once or twice a year. Antiquax is a wax that can be used on all marble, stone and slate surfaces.

The product comes in a shoe polish sized tin and you apply it by working a small amount of the wax into your marble surface with a soft cloth. Buff gently to a high shine. This adds an extra protective layer which can help to prevent staining and scratching and is ideal for household surfaces like bathroom fixtures, fireplaces and countertops.

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To polish marble floors, HG’s Marble Shine Finish can be easily applied with a mop and it has an anti-slip effect. After use, the product leaves behind an invisible protective film which safeguards against staining and moisture damage.

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Hopefully, this article has given you all the information you need to tackle cleaning, restoration and maintenance of all marble surfaces around your home. Marble is a truly beautiful natural material so enjoy it!

Claire has been in the cleaning industry for over 15 years. She's worked numerous jobs including both domestic and industrial cleaning. Her most recent role has been head of product testing for a major cleaning supplier. Following the birth of her second child, Layla, Claire has set up Cleaning Mentor to help people become better at cleaning, saving time and money.

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