Homekeeping Help: How To Clean and Maintain Marble

Isn't that the site where everyone owns a Saarinen table?, someone remarked when I explained that I wrote for Apartment Therapy. Well, not exactly, but since many of us wish we did, we thought we'd clue you in on how to keep it looking wonderful so you can decide for yourself if the maintenance is worth the price of saving up for one! These techniques work on marble counter tops and floors, too.

  • General maintenance: Arm yourself with two soft cloths and spray down the surface with warm water (preferably distilled or filtered). Use one cloth to spread the water, using it like a cleanser, the other to quickly dry it. If you need to go a little deeper, you can add a few drops of a very mild dish soap to the water. Hydrogen peroxide mixed with water is another choice for light marble. Use acetone for dark marble.
  • Stains: Acids (lemon juice, wine, tomatoes, soft drinks) will etch your marble so it's important to clean them up as quickly as possible. Start by blotting the stain. Then, using baking soda and mixing it with rubbing alcohol (for water based stains), hydrogen peroxide (for oil based stains on light marble) or acetone (for oil based stains on dark marble), make a soft paste, spread it on the stain, cover it with plastic (to keep it moist) and let it sit overnight.
  • Prevent stains by using coasters: Yes, even for water, which can leave rings.
  • Make it shine: Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda into a quart of water, wash your marble with it and let it air dry. Now, dip a clean rag into crushed chalk, wipe down your marble, then rinse and dry with the two cloth method outlined above.
  • Scratches: slight scratches can be buffed out with fine sandpaper or steel wool (0000)

images: first image: Elise & Darren's Modernist Sensibility; additional images by Abby Stone