How to Clean Marble Without Leaving a Scratch

Photo: Toa Heftiba/Unsplash

Whether on flooring, countertops, or any other household tile, marble adds a touch of refinement to any home. The beauty, however, does come at a small cost. Looks aside, marble surfaces can be fairly high-maintenance. That’s because marble is a natural stone that’s highly prone to chipping and etching. It’s also susceptible to damage from acids and minerals. This means most of the solutions in your current cleaning arsenal are off-limits. For instance, vinegar may be a magical all-purpose stain destroyer, but it can also cause permanent damage to marble.

Still, there’s no need to get discouraged. Marble is actually easy to keep clean; you just need to make sure you’re using the right products. But before you explore any of the recommendations, the first step is to check any documentation you received from your marble installer—manuals, guides, or brochures, to be specific. There, you may find cleaning instructions and recommendations from the manufacturer. If you can’t find any specific cleaning tips, read on to get the full scoop on how to clean marble without compromising its appearance.

Clean Gently (and Often)

Prevention is the best cure, and when it comes to cleaning marble, the best approach is to constantly spruce it up. In most cases, you’ll need to only go over the surface with a damp cloth. This will prevent stains from taking hold and ensure that your stone surface maintains its natural shine. Make sure to use a soft, non-abrasive cloth; scouring pads, sponges, and other rough surfaces can easily scratch the marble. Also make sure that the cloth is damp, not dripping. As a natural stone made from carbonate materials, marble is highly porous, and excess saturation may actually penetrate and weaken the stone.

When Damp Cloths Aren't Enough

Nine times out of 10, a damp cloth will do the trick. From time to time, however, you’ll need to take more drastic measures. For instance, if you’re plagued with a particularly stubborn red wine or grease stain, you may want to reach for a commercial marble cleaner. These products usually come in spray bottles and can be applied directly to the stain for spot-cleaning. Spray the solution directly over the stain, let it sit for a couple minutes, and then wipe the stain in circular motions using a damp cloth.

If you don’t have marble cleaner handy, a mild dish detergent may also do the trick. Make sure to use mild detergent and apply no more than a drop or two to your damp cloth. Wipe the stain in circular motions and then remove the cleaning solution from the stone surface using a second damp cloth.

What About Cultured Marble?

If you have cultured marble, the cleaning process is roughly the same, but you don’t have to apply such a light touch. Cultured marble is more durable than pure marble because it’s made from a dense combination of marble dust and other ingredients like cement. It also doesn’t chip as easily and can hold up against more elbow grease. However, it’s still best to use mild cleansers and specially formulated marble cleaners.