How to Clean Marble with Common Household Products


Marble installations can give any interior a touch of elegance and glamour, but the glory of this natural stone wanes fast if lacking proper upkeep. This can make one wish to have opted for an easy-to-clean tile flooring instead.

Although by keeping some simple pointers in mind, you can easily clean marble and save yourself a ton of stress involved in keeping the marble surfaces in your home in top condition.

Unlike granite, marble is much softer and porous, which makes it more prone to staining as well as wear and tear. Cleaning marble surfaces the right way is very important, lest you end up with etched marble as a result of your effort to get rid of those glaring stains.

Due to the stone’s chemical makeup, all-purpose natural cleaners like lemon and vinegar must not be used. Being acidic, they react with the calcium carbonate in the marble, literally eating away at its soft surface. This is known as etching and gives the marble a dull and rough appearance. Acidic spills like fruit juice, wine, tomatoes, soft drinks and even vomit and urine can also cause etching.

Marble is also sensitive to strongly alkaline cleaners like bleach. With many of the common household cleaners out of contention, you might consider yourself in a pickle when it comes to cleaning marble.

before and after using cornstarch to clean marble

For regular cleaning, a simple wipe down with a sponge soaked in hot water should do the job. For stain removal, pH-neutral dish soap or mildly alkaline cleaners should work. Avoid using citrus based acidic cleaning agents. For deep-set stains, the ingredients should be used as a poultice to draw out the stains.

The given methods offer different remedies to deal with most types of stains that find their way onto marble surfaces. So get ready to clean marble with common household products.

Method 1: Use Baking Soda

before and after cleaning marble with baking soda

Baking soda is one of the best cleaning agents for removing stains on marble surfaces. In fact, it’s perfect for dealing with oil stains on marble. Baking soda also sanitizes and deodorizes the surface.

Baking soda is mildly abrasive. But unlike conventional acidic or alkaline cleaners, it doesn’t etch the marble surface when used in the correct way. It produces effective results when used with a mild, pH-neutral dish soap.

Effective as it is, you should never go overboard with baking soda. Using it once in a while can restore the look of the marble, but using it frequently can make the surface dull.

Things you’ll need:

baking soda to clean marble

  • Baking soda (stain-remover, deodorizer and sanitizer)
  • Liquid dish soap, pH-neutral (base cleaner)
  • Distilled water
  • Old toothbrush

Step 1. Combine 2 parts baking soda with 1 part dish soap

mix baking soda with dish soap to clean marble

  • Put 2 parts of baking soda in a small bowl.
  • Add in 1 part of liquid dish soap.
  • Mix the two ingredients together.

Step 2. Add distilled water to make a paste

add distilled water to make a paste to clean marble

  • Pour a little distilled water into the mixture to make a spreadable paste. The paste should have the consistency of sour cream.

Step 3. Cover the marble surface with the paste and let it sit

cover the marble surface with the paste

  • Spread the paste over the marble surface with a plastic or wooden spatula, covering it entirely.
  • Let it sit for 12 to 24 hours, allowing it to work on the stain.

Step 4. Scrub off the cleaning paste

scrub off the paste to clean marble

  • After letting the paste sit for the required time, give the marble a gentle scrub with an old toothbrush.
  • For large marble surfaces, use a bigger cleaning brush with bristles that are soft like a toothbrush.

Step 5. Rinse the surface with distilled water

rinse with distilled water to clean marble

  • Rinse the marble with distilled water to remove the baking soda and dish soap paste.
  • Marble countertops or other flat surfaces should be flushed with distilled water, and wiped with a soft cloth to remove the cleaning agents.
  • Promptly dry the clean marble with a soft towel.

final using baking soda to clean marble

Method 2: Use Dish Soap

before and after using dish soap to clean marble

Dish soap is a versatile household cleaner that can cut through a variety of stains and grease marks, while also deodorizing and sanitizing. You may use liquid dish soap to clean marble surfaces, provided that you use one that’s mild and pH-neutral.

Things you’ll need:

thingsneed using dish soap to clean marble

  • Hot water in a spray bottle (deodorizer and sanitizer) – 1 cup
  • Liquid dish soap, pH-neutral (cleaning agent and sanitizer) – 1 tablespoon
  • Household sponge
  • Dish cloth
  • Soft towel

Step 1. Make the cleaning solution

make cleaning solution to clean marble

  • Add 1 tablespoon of pH-neutral liquid dish soap to 1 cup of hot water in a spray bottle.
  • Put the nozzle back on and give it a few shakes to dissolve the soap.

Step 2. Clean the marble surface with the soapy solution

clean marble surface with the soapy solution

  • Spray the hot soapy solution on the dirty marble surface.
  • Scrub the marble with a soft household sponge. The sponge will lift up the grime loosened by the hot soapy water.

Step 3. Wipe the surface clean and proceed to dry

wipe and dry the surface to clean marble

  • Once the soap has done its work on the marble, wipe the suds off the surface with a dish cloth soaked in warm to hot water.
  • Dry the marble with a soft towel instead of letting it air-dry to prevent water stains.

final using dish soap to clean marble

Method 3: Use Hydrogen Peroxide

before and after using hydrogen peroxide to clean marble

Hydrogen peroxide comes into play when you’re dealing with organic stains like tea, coffee, fruit, tobacco, leaves or bark, food, urine and bird droppings.

The mild bleaching action of hydrogen peroxide makes it suitable for stain removal on marble surfaces, especially light-colored surfaces. Using it as a poultice is the best way to go, as the poultice will lift the stains right up.

You’ll need to be careful with using it on dark-colored marble, as it may lighten the color. Do a spot test or use acetone to clean dark-colored marble surfaces. You can also use it to clean aluminum kitchen ware.

Things you’ll need:

thingsneed using hydrogen peroxide to clean marble

  • Hydrogen peroxide (mild bleaching agent)
  • Paper towel (poultice material)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Clear tape
  • Soft towel

Step 1. Apply a hydrogen peroxide poultice on the stain

apply hydrogen peroxide poultice on stain to clean marble

  • Pour hydrogen peroxide onto a folded paper towel to soak it completely.
  • Let the excess liquid drip off, as you don’t want it trailing beyond the stained area. You can do this over a bowl to reuse the hydrogen peroxide.
  • Cover the stained area with the soaked paper towels. Use as many as required to completely cover the stain.
  • Cover the poultice with plastic wrap, then secure it with clear tape.
  • Let it sit undisturbed for 24 to 48 hours.

Step 2. Remove the poultice and wipe with a soft towel

remove the poultice and wipe to clean marble

  • Remove the poultice after the required time. You may notice the stain absorbed onto the paper towels.
  • Wipe the surface with a soft towel.
  • If the stain has lightened but still remains, repeat the entire process.

final using peroxide to clean marble

Method 4: Use Rubbing Alcohol

before and after using rubbing alcohol to clean marble

You’ve probably used rubbing alcohol to remove deodorant stains from clothing. So if the marble is stained with urine, blood or any other biological fluid, rubbing alcohol will not only remove the stain but also sterilize the area.

Rubbing alcohol also comes in handy for disinfecting marble flooring, since you can’t use bleach on marble surfaces. A simple solution made with rubbing alcohol and a pH-neutral dish soap can act as an effective cleaner.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for using rubbing alcohol to clean marble

  • Water in a spray bottle – 2 cups
  • 99% rubbing alcohol (stain remover and disinfectant) – 2 tablespoons
  • Liquid dish soap, pH-neutral (base cleaner) – 1 teaspoon
  • Soft towel

Step 1. Make the cleaning solution

make a solution to clean marble

  • Pour 2 cups of water into a spray bottle.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and 1 teaspoon of pH-neutral liquid dish soap.
  • Close the spray bottle and give it a few shakes to thoroughly mix the contents.

Step 2. Clean the marble surface with the solution and a soft cloth

clean marble with the solution and soft cloth

  • Spray the cleaning solution on the stained marble surface.
  • Let it sit for about 5 minutes before wiping it off with a soft towel.

final using rubbing alcohol to clean marble

Method 5: Use Hydrogen Peroxide and Ammonia

before and after using ammonia and hydrogen peroxide to clean marble

If you’re dealing with particularly tough stains like copper stains, a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia may be the solution.

This mixture can also be used to treat biological stains like those caused by algae, mildew, moss, lichens or fungi. Thus, this solution is particularly good for marble installed in a bathroom, near a kitchen sink and in other damp places where mold and similar stains are most likely to appear.

You may use the mixture as a spray, but a poultice method provides the best results.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for using ammonia and hydrogen peroxide to clean marble

  • Hydrogen peroxide (bleaching agent) – ½ cup
  • Liquid ammonia (stain removal agent) – 1 tablespoon
  • Paper towel
  • Plastic wrap
  • Clear tape
  • Soft towel

Step 1. Combine ammonia and hydrogen peroxide

mix ammonia and hydrogen peroxide to clean marble

  • Add 1 tablespoon of liquid ammonia to ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide and mix thoroughly.

Step 2. Apply poultice on the stain

apply poultice to clean marble

  • Pour the chemical solution on a folded paper towel to soak it completely.
  • Place the soaked paper towel over the stain. Uses as many as you need to cover the entire stained area.
  • Cover the paper towels with plastic wrap and secure it with clear tape.
  • Let the poultice sit for 24 to 48 hours.

Step 3. Remove the poultice and wipe clean

remove poultice and wipe to clean marble

  • Pull off the clear tape and remove the plastic wrap and paper towels.
  • Wipe the area with a soft towel.

final using ammonia and hydrogen peroxide to clean marble

Method 6: Use Flour and Dish Soap

before and after using flour and dish soap to clean marble

A paste made with flour and dish soap is a simple solution using common ingredients that can be used to clean dirty marble surfaces. While making this cleaning paste, use unbleached flour and a pH-neutral dish soap.

Dish soap cuts through old dirt stains in yellowing marble surfaces and flour readily absorbs the stains. Flour also acts as an abrasive agent and helps to buff the marble surface, giving it a shine. Similarly, flour can also be used to remove tarnish from copper.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for using flour and dish soap to clean marble

  • Unbleached flour (stain absorber) – ¼ cup
  • Liquid dish soap, pH-neutral (base cleaner) – 1 teaspoon
  • Water
  • Household sponge
  • Dish towel

Step 1. Make a paste of flour and dish soap

make a dish soap-flour paste to clean marble

  • Add 1 teaspoon of pH-neutral liquid dish soap to ¼ cup of unbleached flour.
  • Mix the two ingredients.
  • Add a little water to make a paste with the consistency of sour cream.

Step 2. Spread the paste on the stain, let it sit and then scrub the area

apply the paste on stain to clean marble

  • Spread the paste over the stained area.
  • Let it sit for about 24 hours before scrubbing the area with a household sponge.

Step 3. Finish cleaning the marble surface

rinse and wipe the marble clean

  • Rinse the area with distilled water and wipe it clean with a dish towel.
  • Repeat the process until all the cleaning agents are removed from the surface.
  • Dry the marble surface completely with a cloth.

final using flour and dish soap to clean marble

Method 7: Use Corn Starch

before and after using cornstarch to clean marble

Corn starch, a common kitchen item that can be used for lifting stains from a variety of surfaces, also comes in handy when cleaning marble. It works especially well with grease and oil stains, absorbing them and preventing them from setting into the porous stone.

Corn starch also works as a fabulous deodorizer, so if there’s an odor that you can’t quite place, go for corn starch. Use a mild dish soap solution for a complete cleanup job.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for using cornstarch to clean marble

  • Corn starch (stain absorber)
  • Dish soap solution in a spray bottle (base cleaner)
  • Sponge
  • Dish towel

Step 1. Wipe the marble with a wet sponge

wipe with wet sponge to clean marble

  • Wipe the stained marble surface with a damp sponge.

Step 2. Treat the area with corn starch

apply cornstarch to clean marble

  • Sprinkle corn starch over the stain and let it sit for about 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours, use a household sponge and scrub away the stain with the corn starch.
  • Wipe all the corn starch off the surface with the sponge.

Step 3. Finish cleaning with a dish soap solution

use finish with dish soap solution to clean marble

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of mild, pH-neutral dish soap into 1 cup of distilled water to make the cleaning solution. Transfer it into a spray bottle.
  • Spray the soapy solution over the area.
  • Wipe the area clean, then dry it with a soft dish towel.

final using cornstarch to clean marble

Tips

  • Clean up any spills as soon as possible to prevent stains from setting in and reduce the chance of etching on the surface.
  • Wear cleaning gloves while working with chemicals to protect your hands.
  • Before using any of the remedies, do a spot test in an inconspicuous place like the underside of a marble tabletop. If there is any discoloration or damage to the finish, try another method.
  • Use coasters and placemats to prevent staining on marble tables, countertops, kitchen islands and other marble surfaces. To protect marble flooring, use rugs in high traffic areas and place pads under the furniture to prevent scratching.
  • Coarse steel wool and harsh scrubbers should not be used to clean marble surfaces. They’re too abrasive for the soft stone.
  • Poultice applications can be repeated up to 5 times on a stained area.
  • Poultice material should always be white. If you don’t have paper towels, you can also use cotton balls and white gauze as poultice material.
  • Make sure that the poultice applied to the marble surface is ¼- to ½-inch thick. It should also cover an extra inch around the entire circumference of the actual stain.
  • You can also remove the plastic wrap from the poultice after 24 hours and allow the poultice to dry on its own before finishing the cleanup.
  • Etches can be smoothed and buffed out with sandpaper. Start with coarse-grit sandpaper and work toward finer grit as you go.

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