Marble countertops are beautiful, but they require maintenance to retain their beauty and functionality. Maintenance includes more than just cleaning the surface. Many homeowners with marble countertops find that regularly applying sealant increases the lifespan of their countertops.
DeluxeMaid helped us take a look at basic cleaning tips and some of the most popular stain types.
There are a few things to keep in mind when cleaning and maintaining your countertops. First, you should not use anything overly acidic on countertops and this includes bleach and vinegar. While these may be spectacular for many cleaning jobs, marble does not like the acidity of these products. Warm soapy water is all you need – spraying a sealant once a month or so can also keep your marble looking great!
Countertops are going to get stained. Let’s face it; most household stains begin in the kitchen anyway. Food and drink spills, grease, and sticky messes all started out in the kitchen. However, life happens, and people make other messes too. We are going to look at how to care for many stains.
1. Oil Based
Using a dish detergent and warm water can be beneficial on these stains. You want to make sure that you are not using anything too abrasive for marble, so a mild dish soap can break up the oil and make it easier to clean. Warm water should be used to rinse the soap.
2. Food and Plant Material
Be sure that you clean up all food and organic material as quickly as possible. In addition to making a mess on your marble, food can attract critters that you do not want. Bug sprays are not tasty, so you should try to keep them off your food surfaces. In addition, warm water can do as much good as anything. Soap may be used, especially on difficult spots.
Be very careful when removing paint stains from any surface. Paint thinners and removers can be abrasive to many countertops, not just marble. If the stain is small, try to carefully remove the paint with a razor blade or kitchen scraper. If this is not possible, you can try to use a little paint lacquer in a small area. If the area is large, you will likely need paint thinner but you may damage the marble and need it refinished afterwards. If you notice a drip of paint, try to remove it before it dries to avoid these issues.
Etching is often confused for staining. Etching is damage to the surface of the marble caused by acidic substances. You will need to have large etching repaired by a professional, but there are some steps you can take to fix etching at home.
1. Polished Marble
Polished marble is shiny and smooth. If you have some etching and want to restore your marble to its original glory, you will need to buff with some marble polish. This may take a while. The more you buff, the shinier it will become, but this can take some time. Once you have reached the desired shine, you will also need to seal the marble.
While owners are encouraged not to scour polished marble, you will often need to use a scouring pad on honed marble. You will need to continue polishing until you think you have removed the etching. A professional may also be required.
Sealing Your Marble
Most homeowners prefer to seal their marble countertops to minimize etching. The steps are pretty straightforward and should be done frequently to maintain the surface of your marble.
1. Clean your countertop
Before applying the sealant, clean, and dry your countertop to avoid sealing in contaminants.
2. Apply Sealer
Apply a small amount of sealant. It would be best if you use the manufacturer’s recommendations. Each type of countertop requires a different type of sealant. Make sure that you get the one that is recommended for your surface.
3. Apply additional coats if needed
Some manufacturers suggest using two to three coats of sealant. Be sure to follow their recommendations as they are best for the brand that you have purchased. Each subsequent coat will have curing time. Be sure you wait for the appropriate amount of time.
4. Remove excess
After curing time, you need to remove excess sealant. Wipe sealant with a dry cloth or microfiber towel.
5. Clean your countertops as normal
Once the sealant is dry and the excess is removed, you can go back to cleaning as normal. Be sure that you follow your manufacturer’s recommendations.
Like many things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to clean your countertops is with soap and water and to wipe up any spills immediately. Acidic food spills cannot be avoided and for this reason, you should always just clean up spills as soon as they happen.
Once a month or so, you should reseal your countertop. If you do notice large amounts of etching or staining, you may want to contact a professional for help. Do you have any suggestions for cleaning marble? What do you do? Do you reseal the countertop often? If not, do you think you may start?