While everyone agrees on the elegance of marble, the upkeep leaves people questioning its practicality. If you have your heart set on marble counters in your home, follow these tips to give yourself a good start on maintenance.
Cleaning marble is not as difficult as people make it sound. We’ll discuss staining and etching in the rest of the article, but typical clean-up for marble is just like any other stone – soap and water! Acid eats away at marble, so you won’t be using vinegar or lemon juice as your natural cleaners on this surface.
Simply mix a non-acidic dish soap with warm water in a spray bottle, spray the counter, then wipe clean with a hot, wet cloth. You’ll also want to dry with a soft, absorbent towel.
Difference Between Etching & Scratching
Etching occurs when an acidic substance, like lemon or tomato juice, comes in contact with the surface. The marble will actually lighten and feel a little rough (especially if you have a polished marble countertop). While etching may devastate you in the moment, you will only see the marks when you look closely at the countertop (and they add to the lived-in nature of your home).
Scratching happens when a pot, pan, or vase scrapes across the marble. Scratching is typically more noticeable than the etching.
Only refinishing and repolishing can repair scratches and etches, so prevent damage as best as you can. Use large cutting boards and work very carefully when dealing with acidic foods like lemons. Keep rubber or cork trivets handy for every object in the kitchen.
Why You Should Seal Marble
Sealing marble is critical to keeping away stains. Before your installer seals marble, almost anything can leave a stain behind. But once sealed, your marble will wipe up cleanly, as long as you reapply every few years.
While the sealer will keep stains from setting in, you can still repair a stain if it happens. The most popular solution is paste made from baking soda and water. Leave the paste on the stain, and the baking soda will absorb the coloring. If you have polished marble, don’t scrub the baking soda, since it’s a mild abrasive.
Polished vs. Honed
If you’re very concerned about noticeable etching or scratching, you may consider a honed marble instead of polished. Honed marble goes through a machine treatment or acid bath to dull the surface, this leaves a softer, more casual look to the stone. Since it’s not reflective and polished, honed marble only shows etching at certain angles in certain lighting.
Polished marble makes your kitchen formal and stunning, but also less useful. If you already know you’ll be concerned about rings and scratches left behind through regular life, you should consider honed.
In fact, some marble suppliers suggest honing the counter further by using Comet and water every time an etch appears, to even out the surface.
Is Marble Heat Resistant?
Yes, and it stays cool even in a warm kitchen. While it will withstand many hot baking sheets and pans, it could burn and discolor. Protect your investment by using trivets and potholders.
Other Marble Installation Options
Marble may seem like an impractical choice for a high-traffic kitchen countertop. While some chefs still love the look and feel of the stone, we would suggest it for bathrooms and non-cooking areas. You can also use it as a contrasting counter color to the dark color (but more durable surface) of soapstone.
Garden State Soapstone & Slate offers and installs beautiful marble choices for kitchens and bathrooms. Many homeowners love to mix the textures of different natural stones in their spaces, so visit our showroom to pull together all the components for your unique home.