General Cleaning of Marble Countertop

Old 03-19-00, 10:03 AM
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I have installed Empress Green marble countertop & floor in my bathroom. Marble can be damaged by certain products. What general (everyday) cleaning products should be used to remove water stains, etc. from the surfaces.
Old 03-19-00, 03:51 PM
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Marble can be harmed by abrasive and/or acid products. For general (light) cleaning, dish suds, wiped dry completely after cleaning. For heavier soil, 1/2 cup of ammonia in a gallon of water. Repeated use of ammonia wil, over a period of time, dull the surface, however.
Old 03-20-00, 07:22 PM
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I don't totally disagree with the former post, however, maybe a few dull whys mixed with what may be of help.

Behind the surface:
Marble is softer stone, it's porous, and it's acid sensitive. The chief mineral of marble is "Calcium Carbonate", as is it's earlier sedimentary cousin "Limestone". Green marbles derive their color from one or more of the following minerals: Diopside "Calcium Magnesium Silicate", Talc "Magnesium Silicate Hydroxide", Serpentine "Magnesium Iron Silicate Hydroxide", and Hornblende "Calcium Magnesium Iron Aluminum Silicate Hydroxide" (the latter varies widely in composition). Other minerals can be embedded within marbles also.

General marble care made easy:
In a nutshell: avoid chemical reactions, reduce the causes of abrasion and stains, and treat stains as soon as possible. Build a maintenance program (sealer, cleaning, dressing, stain removal).

The sealer should allow vapor transmission; it should be a subsurface one that repels moisture and oil, and it should not stain the stone. A sealer helps to prevent stain absorption. Pre-cleaning with a propriety product may be necessary prior to sealing. Many brands are available.

Dust mop daily with a clean dust mop or soft clean rag.
Place a mat at the entrance to reduce tacking soil onto the floor.

* Avoid contact with metallic objects or metallic salts. This includes metal holders above the stone that might slowly deposit metallic salts onto the surface. Ceramic and stone holders are better choices. Other source of metallic salts are plant fertilizers and soil. Some metals can cause difficult to impossible to remove stains. (Metallic salt plus a element = ion exchange resulting in a new substance, [maybe undoable, maybe not]).

Use a Ph neutral stone soap. Ph 7 is neutral. Many brands are available. Some brands are nearer to Ph neutral than others, and some are formulated specifically for marble. Stone soaps are synthetic detergents and are called soap for convenience.
In a pinch:
! Pure Ivory soap (animal fat).
! Pure Castile soap (vegetable oil).
Either may be used, but both tend to leave residue behind and must be thoroughly rinsed from the surface. The residue may form a scum or attract more dirt. The vegetable oil version is generally a better choice in the real soap line.

* Avoid "hoaky" home remedies like vinegar, lemon, and TSP.
Repeated application of acids or bases is one of the known ways to break down mineral substances, (marble and grout), by degrees of exposure. Marble and grout are a less sensitive to weak bases (Ph 7.5-8) than acids. TSP is a stronger base.

* True, some formulated stone stain removers are either acidic or basic.
But controlled applications verses hap hazard applications differ.

Since not all stone soaps are Ph neutral it may be necessary to select one that is slightly basic. This may be O.K. for some marbles and detrimental to a few others. Do a test patch in the least conspicuous location prior to a full application. Ph neutral is best.

Use more water than soap (use very little soap) and rinse the surface thoroughly. Excess soap causes streaking. Water quality makes a difference also. For hard waters it's not a bad idea to select a stone soap that combines a scum remover or to use a non-acidic scum remover in addition to the soap. Damp clean, rather than wet clean, and if necessary, use a very soft brush for scrubbing (but only on unpolished marble, polished marble may scratch).

Use a clean rag mop on floors and a soft cloth on counters and walls. Optionally a squeegee may be used to remove or collect the greater amount of the solution or to remove plain water. Launder cleaning rags and the mop (with the Ph neutral stone soap) separately from other washed goods. Otherwise residual compounds from the washing detergents or soap can be rubbed into the stone on successive cleanings.

*It's best to reserve all cleaning supplies for exclusive use on the stone.
* Polishing with a clean chamois after cleaning helps to keep the stone looking like new.

Every once in a while use a non-acidic soap scum remover and/or marble polish.

In a pinch:
!Ammonia plus water in a dilute solution may be used in limited amounts as a soap scum remover, but as noted in the previous post, it will etch the surface.

Waxing or applying a commercial marble dressing helps to prevent surface abrasion and it extends the time before regrinding is necessary. The down side of a topical dressing is hazing from moisture trapped behind it. Thin repeated applications are better than globing on a single heavy coating.
In a pinch:
! White natural carnauba paste wax may be used in place of commercial products.

Stain removal:
Wipe up spills and treat stains ASAP. Washing with soap and water is effective on many stains on a sealed and dressed marble. Rubbing Alcohol and cotton swabs are useful for oily stains.

For persistent stains ready made poultices from a stone supply are the better choice for stain removal, because many of them are matched to the type of stone and type of stain.
In a pinch:
! A poultice of Hydrogen Peroxide (basically water with an extra Oxygen molecule) and Whiting (Calcium Carbonate, available at paint stores) is useful for removing dye stains like coffee and tea or water based stains.
! A poultice of Rubbing Alcohol plus Whiting is useful for oily stains.

Selecting products:
This is as easy as walking into a stone supply (or a large home center), asking a few questions and reading a few labels or using the Web to review products. If the Web route is chosen, select a search engine like "" that makes embedded searches easy. Sample: "natural stone" > "marble" > "soap" or "sealer"

BTW, products that are suitable for Marble are suitable for its kissing cousin Terrazzo, and generally, vice versa.
Old 06-25-14, 06:48 AM
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