What do the Taj Mahal, the Lincoln Memorial, and Michelangelo's David have in common? They're all made out of marble. Known for its unparalleled style, marble is arguably in the upper echelon of stones. And, if you're lucky enough to have marble floors in your home, you've hit the design jackpot.
That said, with a great floor comes great responsibility. Since floors are a breeding ground for dust, dirt, and spills, it's important to treat your marble floors with care. One false move or misused cleaning spray can make once-pristine marble floors look less than fabulous. So, how does it happen? To help, we're teaching you how to clean marble floors, step by step.
Meet the Expert
How Often Should You Clean Marble Floors?
Like many high-traffic areas, marble floors should be cleaned at least weekly. If your floors are in your kitchen, we suggest removing any dust, dirt, or debris daily or a few times a week to ensure your floors stay in tip-top shape. Marble is prone to scratching, so staying on top of cleaning is key to keeping your floors healthy.
Things You'll Need
- Dust mop
- Microfiber towels
- Marble-specific cleaning solutions
- Marble-impregnating sealer
Step 1: Start With a Clean Slate
Before you start lathering up your marble floors, it's important to remove any dust, dirt, or debris. After all, nobody wants to mop up a bunch of soggy food crumbs. So, does that mean it's time to break out your vacuum? Well, not quite.
Marble might be the backbone of some of the most outstanding architectural structures, but it can also be incredibly high-maintenance. In fact, marble is softer and more porous than some other stones, so it can be more susceptible to scratches than, say, granite. In other words, your vacuum's tough bristles might be too much for your precious marble floors.
"Try to avoid vacuuming because it can be too abrasive as well," shares Alex Varela, general manager of Dallas Maids. "It’s best to remove dirt using a dust mop."
Need to clean your marble floors, but don't have a dust mop on hand? Reach for some microfiber towels, which are the perfect mix of gentle and effective.
Step 2: Pick Your Potion
Like most surfaces, marble floors need a bit more than water to stay sparkling. But, before you slather on any type of soap or cleaning spray, it's important to err on the side of caution.
"Marble is sensitive to acids—even more so than granite," Varela explains. "And even though vinegar is a versatile cleaner and it works safely with most surfaces, in this case, it’s not a good idea. Marble is extremely porous and when in contact with vinegar, it will etch or the surface’s finish will be reduced."
While we're on the topic of what not to use, bleach and acidic citruses are also out of the question.
Fortunately, the market is filled with cleaning supplies that are specifically made with marble in mind. But, if you're in a pinch, Varela gives you full permission to clean your marble floors with warm, soapy water.
"Remember to use pH-neutral soap, so that your marble surface won’t become more acidic or alkaline, which would make it prone to staining," he says.
Step 3: Don't Forget to Dry
Just because you washed your marble floors doesn't mean the job's over. Not quite, at least. Since marble is a notoriously porous material, it's important to dry your floors with care. Otherwise, excess moisture might lead to stains or damage down the road.
"Once you’re done cleaning your marble floor, wipe it down using old, dry, and clean microfiber towels," shares Dean Davies, a cleaning specialist working at Fantastic Cleaners in the United Kingdom.
How to Keep Your Marble Floors Clean Longer
And why stop there? If you really want to keep excess moisture, crumbs, and food spills out of your precious marble, you may need to treat your floors with a sealant.
"When the marble has finished drying, apply a marble-impregnating sealer onto the floor to help protect its finish," Davies adds. "Just be sure to follow the instructions on the back of the sealant and not overdo it with the quantity."
So, here's the million-dollar question: How much sealant should you apply? And do you need to reapply the sealant? Well, it all depends on the type of marble. In fact, Varela shares that some types of marble require resealing every couple of months, while others only need the job done once every few years.
Though keeping your marble floors clean is no easy feat, a softer, gentler touch can be just what they need. But, if you have any questions about your specific type, consult your marble provider for good measure. After all, it's better to be safe than sorry.