Marble is a broadly used material for many homes. Some use it in the kitchen, flooring, wall tiling, dining table, and many other countertops for its natural beauty. We all love the beautiful surface because of its natural vein patterns, colours and shine. However, after you install them for a certain period of time, the cleaner might not like the maintenance, mopping or stain removal hassle because it can be complicated and time-consuming at times.
Marble is a natural stone that owners should apply careful care to prevent any sort of damage. It is not a big chore or expensive to maintain – you just need to know the marble surface characteristics a little bit deeper and master a few simple tips. Here's how to keep them stain-free and look well-preserved for many years.
During the installation process, marble tops and furniture need to be cautiously handled. This is because marble is a relatively more fragile than other stones and small cracks can lead to big troubles. Hence, hire a professional installer to avoid any defects to the marble and to ensure they are correctly positioned and fixed.
Having an absorbent surface as one of the traits, marble surfaces can be severely ruined when an acidic element is spilt on it and not appropriately cleaned. What we usually have at home is the lemon juice, vinegar for cooking and tomato paste and fruit jam. Avoiding direct contact with these acidic substances is the most vital prevention step you should take.
Besides the above, there are precaution steps you can take to protect the marble surface:
- Put a coaster below your glass
- Have separate cutleries and dinnerware for children
- Place table linen or table runner to avoid moving your tableware unintentionally – beautiful designs are available so don’t worry about hiding the loveliness of your marble table
- Put breakable things away from the top or table
- No shoes in the house for marble flooring
- No heavy material on marble surface
- Cooking ingredients should be properly stored or kept in container
- Use trivets under hot pans
Like any other surfaces in your home, natural stone needs to be cleaned to sustain its beauty. However, marble stone requires specific alkaline detergent for its unique mineral composition. These detergents for stones will also protect the sealer (please refer to next paragraph with more information on sealing). In actual fact, some detergents contain protective ingredients that support the sealer and extend its stain resistance duration. An acidic or abrasive detergent can harm a marble surface and the sealer. In the event without detergent, wipe the surfaces regularly with warm water using a soft dishcloth.
If you have a marble kitchen countertop or backsplash, there are a few things to take note of cleaning the surface. It is hard to avoid the fact that cooking will leave some greasy, stubborn stains behind, such as oil, dark sauce, and flour. The longer the marks are left uncleaned, the harder for you to remove the spots after. So, clean the top and backsplash with detergent and warm water every time after you cook.
In addition to using marble detergent, do inform your family members that you are performing wet mopping as a marble floor will be too slippery to walk on (might cause slip and fall accidents).
Basic cleaning of marble surfaces include:
- Sweep up or vacuum loose dirt
- Clean immediately when acidic liquid spills
- Clean stone surfaces with a neutral cleaner, stone soap, or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water
- Buff dry with an absorbent towel
Marble and other natural stone surfaces are porous and require sealing with a decent, fitting sealer to keep any spot or mark away. It will not only improve the look of your stone floor tiles, benchtops, kitchen tops, vanity tops and outdoor paving, it will also prolong the lifespan of your asset.
Sealer is like a coat of plastic wrap to retain the freshness of your vegetables and fruits. It is a common step taken on some stones as an extra precaution against staining. When considering sealing, remember that sealing the stone does not make the stone stain proof, it tightens the pores on the stone to reduce the ability of liquids to enter. Sealing is a must for stone surface (both indoor and outdoor) because they are exposed to dirt and liquid on a daily basis. If a sealer is applied in a food preparation area, do make sure that it is safe for use and non-toxic.
A few tips on sealing a marble surface:
- Deep clean the stone before you seal
- Scrape away any built up residues
- Apply sealer with a soft brush
- Remove excessive sealant
- Apply additional coat of sealant as needed, wait for 15 minutes before applying the second coat
- If you’re using a solvent-based sealant, the stone should look dry before you apply the next layer of sealant. With water-based sealants, the stone may still have a wet look
Besides basic cleaning and sealing, marble surfaces need spring cleaning like what you do for your doors and windows before the festive season. The acidic liquids and dirt will leave etch marks on the surface of countertops. You can scrub them off slowly and gently with warm water. If that does not work, you need to polish the surface with certain ingredients and skills.
Polishing can remove etching and repair the dull spots. You may get a marble polishing powder to do so. First, wet the counter surface, sprinkle on a thin layer of the powder and rub it with a damp cloth, or use a buffer pad on a low-speed drill. Continue until the etch goes away and the glow returns.
If you find it difficult, hiring a specialist to do polishing once every 6 months to a year is strongly recommended. A polishing service is easy to find and takes only a few hours to get your marble surface scratch-free and glossy.
With tender loving care, the beauty of marble surfaces can be well-maintained for a long time.
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