How to Clean Marble Without Damaging It

How to Clean Marble Without Damaging It
Photo: cdrin, Shutterstock

Marble isn’t only beautiful — the stone can be a long-lasting feature of your home. This is why it’s used to make everything from countertops, to floors, to showers. And as anyone who has ever wiped out on a marble floor knows, it’s quite hard.

But at the same time, some of the cleaning products and techniques that are great in other parts of your home can end up damaging marble. Fortunately, the editors of ThisOldHouse.com put together a guide to cleaning marble safely. Here’s what to know.

What to avoid when cleaning marble

Let’s start with the things that can damage marble, so it’s clear what to avoid. Here are some examples from the editors of ThisOldHouse.com:

  • Too much pressure or elbow grease can result in the marble getting scratched (or, in marble terms, “etched”).
  • Acidic cleaning products — whether natural or not — can start eating into marble within seconds. Examples include vinegar, a lemon wedge/juice, Windex, bleach, and rust-removing solutions.
  • Alkaline (or basic) cleaning products can also damage marble. Examples include ammonia, borax, and lye.
  • Gritty, abrasive cleansers or rough sponges can result in etching.

How to safely clean marble

Now that you know what to stay away from, here’s how to clean the marble surfaces in your home without damaging them, also courtesy of the editors of ThisOldHouse.com:

  • Use a mild, pH-neutral, non-abrasive soap, like dish soap. There are dedicated marble cleaners on the market, but most people already have dish soap (which gets the job done), so there’s no need to buy another product.
  • Put either a few drops of a safe soap onto a wet cloth, or mix a few drops with some warm water in a spray bottle. Then wipe down the marble surface. Only a small amount of soap is needed, and too much could result in a film.
  • As soon as you finish with the soap, immediately rinse, and then dry the marble.

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