Designing with marble gives your home a classy, sleek appearance. You can enhance the natural elegance of your home with marble inlays. An etched design on your marble floors, backsplash, countertops or shower will impress your guests and make you proud of your living space.
Marble needs proper care to shine and stay strong. Use this guide to discover marble care and maintenance tips about:
- How to care for marble floors
- How to care for marble countertops in the kitchen
- How to care for marble countertops in the bathroom
- How to clean a marble backsplash
- How to clean a marble shower
Follow these six marble maintenance tips to keep your marble looking brand-new.
Tip #1: Use Area Rugs in High-Traffic Areas
In areas with high traffic, use a rug or a runner. You should also wipe your feet off on a mat when you enter the house. For safety purposes, make sure the rug has a non-skid backing.
Rugs prevent the spread of dirt throughout your home, enhancing the overall appearance of your marble floors. For optimal marble inlay floor care and maintenance, you should clean your rug at least once a week. To clean an area rug:
- Shake smaller rugs outside.
- Determine the right setting on your vacuum for area rugs.
- Sprinkle baking soda on the rug to prevent odors.
- When you vacuum the rug, be careful not to run the vacuum on your marble floors. The plastic or metal attachments on your vacuum can cause etch marks in the marble.
Tip #2: Be Careful of What You Put on Your Marble Countertops
Marble countertops add a clean look to your kitchen and bathroom. As you use them often, they are prone to stains and etches from the products you use on top of these surfaces. In the kitchen, you need to protect your marble countertops from:
- Food preparation: Foods with high acidity could stain the marble finish of your countertops. Even cutting a lemon over a marble countertop could damage the material. Use a cutting board to protect your marble surfaces from acidic foods and sharp knives. If you’re preparing food on a marble countertop, you can also use a plastic or silicone sheet.
- Meals: While marble can tolerate hot pots and pans, you should use a trivet for extra protection. Immediately after each meal, you should clean your marble countertops.
- Drinks: Bottles and cans filled with any kind of liquid could leave a stain on your countertops. Use coasters for all drinks placed on the countertop.
In the bathroom, you should also watch out for shampoos or beauty products that could discolor your marble tiles. You can maintain your marble inlays in your bathroom by:
- Using a tray for your toiletry products instead of putting them directly on your marble surfaces.
- Turning on an exhaust fan while you shower to reduce moisture buildup.
- Wiping your marble surfaces with a cloth after every shower.
To prolong the life of your marble countertops, you should also avoid sitting or placing heavy objects on any marble countertops in your home. Marble isn’t flexible, so the extra weight could cause cracks in your countertops.
Tip #3: Choose the Right Cleaner for Your Home’s Marble
Marble care and maintenance involve regularly cleaning marble surfaces. Marble is sensitive to acid, so you need to choose a cleaner that won’t harm your marble surfaces. Using harsh materials with any acid could result in dull spots called etches.
Avoid using cleaners with vinegar, lemon or orange as these products could etch your marble surfaces.
You should also avoid abrasive cleaning agents. Products made for granite countertops are too harsh for marble countertops. Even when you’re cleaning the bathroom, you shouldn’t use bathroom and tile cleaners unless they are specifically designed for marble tile.
Here are the different types of cleaners you can use:
- A pH-neutral cleaner: Instead of using acidic cleaners, use a pH-neutral cleaner designed for marble tile. You can recognize a pH-neutral cleaner in the store by its label. When you use commercial cleaners, always read the manufacturer’s instructions on the bottle. Test any new cleaners on a small, inconspicuous area of your marble inlays before using them to clean.
- A homemade cleaner: You can also create a marble cleaner by mixing one tablespoon of mild dish soap with warm water in a spray bottle. Shake the solution to mix the soap and water together. This homemade cleaner is safe to use on marble countertops after eating and preparing meals.
- An ammonia mixture with hydrogen peroxide: Only use ammonia when removing heavy stains from your marble surfaces. Ammonia can be toxic when mixed with certain chemicals, including bleach. When cleaning with ammonia, always ensure there’s adequate airflow by opening a window or turning on a fan.
Along with the type of cleaner you use, you should also consider the type of brush or cloth you use to apply the cleaner. Only use harsh scrubbing brushes for occasional deep cleaning. Unless they’re used on particularly stubborn stains, scrubbing brushes could scratch the marble stone. Use a soft cotton cloth or chamois to clean up regular stains and to dry a wet area.
Tip #4: Clean Stains as Soon as Possible
Spills are inevitable in your kitchen and bathroom. When you spill something, blot it up right away so it doesn’t stain your marble countertops or floor. Wiping up a spill could spread the liquid to other areas of the marble surface.
Cleaning Stains in the Kitchen
Kitchen backsplashes are prone to stains from food and drinks. If you notice a stain on your backsplash while you’re cooking or eating, clean up the stain as soon as possible. Blot stains with a towel and wash with a pH-neutral cleaner made for marble tile. After cleaning, dry the area with a soft cloth.
For proper marble care and maintenance, here is how to clean various stains in your kitchen:
- Oil-based stains: Stains from cooking oil, grease or makeup could darken your marble surfaces. Try a mild soap detergent that cuts through grease. Apply the detergent on with a wet cloth. If it doesn’t work, use a soft liquid cleaner with ammonia, acetone, or mineral spirits. Use these chemicals in a well-ventilated area. Apply a small amount of the cleaner and rinse with water.
- Organic stains: Stains from fruit, paper, coffee, tea, wine and other foods often leave a pinkish-brown tint on marble. Use 12% hydrogen peroxide mixed with a few drops of ammonia. Blot the stain with a clean cotton cloth and flush the area with water.
- Mold and mildew stains: To get rid of mold and mildew, use a mixture of a 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide with a gallon of water, with a little dish detergent, in a spray bottle. Spray the moldy area until the stain disappears. Rinse with clean water and dry with a clean cotton cloth.
- Ink stains: To get rid of a small ink blot on your marble surface, dip a cotton swab in acetone and blot the area. Use a 20% hydrogen peroxide solution if you have a lighter-colored stone. To remove large ink stains, create a poultice made of flour and hydrogen peroxide. Apply the poultice with a plastic putty knife to smooth it over the stain. Tape a piece of plastic wrap over the wet poultice to slow the drying process. Poke holes in the plastic wrap to make sure moisture can escape from the poultice mix. When it’s dry, use the plastic putty knife to scrape away the powdery poultice.
- Paint stains: Use a lacquer or paint stripper for paint stains. Always wear eye and face protection when dealing with lacquer.
- Water spots and rings: Get rid of water stains with a #0000-rated steel wool pad. Super-fine steel wool can restore the shine of your marble surfaces.
- Metal stains: You can get metal stains from iron or rust. Some types of marble contain iron oxide. When moisture builds up on a marble surface, it could develop rust. To remove metal stains from your marble countertop, clean it with a liquid poultice made of flour and liquid soap. Cover the stain with the wet poultice, and let it sit until it’s dry.
If you’ve had a stain for a long time, you need a stronger solution than mild dish soap. Use a mixture of 12% hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. After applying the solution to the stain, allow the solution to sit for 10 to 30 minutes. Then, flush the solution with clean water and dry with a soft cloth. If there are marks on the tile, wet the area and apply marble polishing powder. Buff and dry with a soft cloth.
Cleaning Stains in the Bathroom
The products you use in the shower could cloud or discolor your marble, including:
- Shaving cream
- Facial scrub
After use, clean a marble shower by rinsing off the tiles with warm water and dry with a soft towel. To clean the shower, remove soap scum with a pH-neutral cleaner that is safe for marble tile. Use proper ventilation while you clean to avoid moisture buildup and tile discoloration.
Tip #5: Remove Dirt and Dust From Marble Floors and Countertops
Marble is a delicate stone that is vulnerable to etch marks, stains and scuffs. Marble inlay medallions need extra care because they have natural etches within their designs. To protect your marble floors and countertops, you should dust and clean them at least once a week.
How to Clean Marble Floors and Countertops
Create a dusting schedule based on how many people live in your house. The more traffic in your living space, the more often you’ll have to dust. Here are the different methods for cleaning your marble floors:
- With a non-treated dust mop: Remove dirt and dust from the floor with a non-treated natural dust mop. A mop treated with harsh chemicals could damage the floors. After use, clean the pad so you don’t carry dirt the next time you mop.
- With a soft-bristled dust mop: Sweep the floor with a soft-bristled dust mop. A regular broom’s bristles could scratch the marble.
- With a damp mop: Use a damp mop with clean water to clean up any grime you might have missed with the dust mop. As you move the damp mop in a figure-eight motion throughout the marble floor, replace water as needed. The water should always be clean so that you don’t reapply dirt onto your floors.
If you want to use a vacuum on your marble floors, only use brush attachments. The wheels of an upright vacuum could damage the finish of your floors.
Dust your countertops at least once a week. To remove dust from marble countertops, use a dry microfiber cloth. If you use a wet cloth to clean up the dust, make sure you follow with a dry cloth to remove any excess moisture.
Tip #6: Deep Clean Marble at Least Once a Month
You should deep clean your marble floors, countertops and showers at least once a month. If you have marble in a high-traffic area, you should schedule a deep cleaning more often. Use a pH-neutral cleaner to reduce streaks in the marble finish.
To deep clean your marble surfaces:
- Remove stains from the marble: Wet the stone’s surface with water using a spray bottle or a wrung-out mop to prevent soaking the floor. Apply the cleaning solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Rinse the solution with clean water, replacing the water as needed. After deep cleaning marble, dry the surface with a soft cloth. Marble inlays often contain iron oxide, so if you leave any moisture on the ground, the inlays could rust.
- Clean the grout: Along with deep cleaning the marble tiles, you also need to clean the grout around the tiles. You can do this with a neutral pH cleaner free from acidic chemicals that can also hurt the tiles. Fill a bowl with warm water and wet a soft-bristled toothbrush. Apply a small amount of baking soda onto the brush and use a back-and-forth motion. Try to avoid getting baking soda or the brush on the marble. Rinse the grout with warm water and dry it with a soft cotton cloth.
- Polish the marble: Marble surfaces produce a shine that brightens up a room. Over time, dust, crumbs and dirt could scratch your marble, reducing its shiny finish. Preserve the natural elegance of your marble surfaces by cleaning up crumbs and taking off your shoes in the house. Before polishing any marble surface, make sure you clean up all stains. You can polish the floor with a special marble polishing powder and a dry microfiber cloth. You can also create a homemade polishing paste with baking soda and water.
- Seal the marble: Sealing marble will make it last longer, increasing its resistance to stains and etching. Check with your marble manufacturer before you seal your marble surfaces. Some marble doesn’t need sealing. If you apply sealer to marble that doesn’t need sealing, it won’t absorb, and it will create discoloration. If your marble needs to be sealed, you should apply a marble and granite sealer at least once every six months.
Choose From Our Selection of Marble at Aalto Marble Inlay
Our artisan professionals at Aalto Marble Inlay specialize in marble inlay designs for your home. At Aalto, each of our projects is a work of art. We will offer you a design plan for your kitchen, bathroom or living room. You can choose your floor plan, your color palette and a basis for the style of the floor.
Are you ready to get started with finding the perfect luxury marble design for your home? Contact us today at 319-237-7230 or fill out a contact form on our website.