As I was scrubbing down our tile shower in our Master Bathroom a couple days ago, I found myself daydreaming about a marble shower for just a moment. Think of how lovely it would look! Think of how much easier it would be to clean!
But then, I wasn’t so sure. After all, there is NO marble in our home whatsoever. Even though I love the look of it, I had to admit to myself that, even if I had some of it installed…I still wouldn’t know how to clean and care for it!
Enter Owen Franklin from TheMarbleCleaner, asking me if I’d like to publish his article detailing DIY tips for caring for marble! Excellent timing, Owen! Let’s see what ideas he has for us, shall we?
For many, marble is seen as one of the most beautiful home accents you can add to your home. Not only will it brighten a room like no other stone, it will also add value to your home that does not degrade with time. However, many homeowners choose not to use marble because without the right tips and training marble can be very difficult to keep clean and looking new. But do not worry; this article will give you some awesome tips to clean and maintain your marble surfaces, and how to do it with supplies you already have around the house!
Keep your marble looking new!
The most important thing a marble owner can do is to be diligent and always clean their surfaces after use. As the Marble Institute of America says, “If a homeowner cleans their countertops after each meal, they will rarely, if ever, have staining or clean-ability issues.”
By just cleaning your marble after use, or after you have an accidental spill; you will prevent almost all problems associated with marble care! Here are some tips on how to do it:
Make a homemade cleaner
Over the life of your stone, it is best to purchase and use a cleaner specifically designed to clean marble surfaces. However, if you do not have a marble cleaner then the Marble Institute of America recommends the use of a simple homemade marble cleaner. Here is how it is made:
Step 1: Add ¼ to ½ gallons of water to a bucket or bowl
Step 2: Add 2-3 drops of a mild dish detergent.
Tips to selecting a mild dish detergent:
- Look for the Words “Soft” or “Easy on the Hands”
- Avoid abrasive or antibacterial cleaners
- Avoid anything that says, “For Commercial Use”.
Step 3: Stir the detergent in the bowl or bucket to mix up the solution
Once you have made your homemade cleaner, you are ready to start cleaning. Follow the below steps to clean your marble surfaces:
Step 1: Wipe up the marble surface of any loose dirt or grit.
Step 2: Apply a marble cleaner liberally to the marble surface.
Step 3: Wipe up the surface with a clean towel.
Step 4: After you have wiped the marble cleaner off the surface, be sure to dry the surface completely because if water is left on the surface then hard water stains can occur
If you are finished cleaning your surface, and you notice that you still have stains on your marble then it is possible that you will need a more robust method of removal.
Marble stains occur when liquids are allowed to sit on the surface for an extended period of time, thus giving the liquids ample time to penetrate the pours in the stone. Following the penetration of the stone, the liquid will ultimately evaporate leaving behind the dyes in the liquid as a stain. This is why it is so important to clean your surface after use, by doing this you can avoid these stains from occurring.
However, don’t worry, these stains can be removed with supplies you most likely have around your house. Check out the below steps.
The most effective way to remove marble stains is to use a marble poultice. A poultice is a two-part mixture made up of a white absorbent material and a liquid solvent. Before you start making the poultice, it is best to try and identify what type of stain you have, this way you can make a custom poultice that is specifically designed for your stain. Below are the types of stains, and the custom solvent you should use to tackle them!
Oil Based Stains:
These stains are typically light brown to yellow in color. Examples are lipstick, butter, hand lotions, milk, and peanut butter to name a few.
To remove oil based stains use a solvent of mineral spirits or acetone.
These stains typically darken the stone to a light pinkish-brown to dark brown color. For example, you could leave your leaking coffee on the marble countertop and once you pick the cup up you have your infamous coffee ring. Other Examples of organic stains occur from leaves, bird droppings, or flowers.
To remove oil based stains use a solvent of 6 % hydrogen peroxide.
Ink stains are very common. They show up a lot of times in the color of the ink pen or highlighter that left them behind. They are typically water or alcohol based, and when the water or alcohol evaporates the pigments or colors left in the liquids remain as a stain.
To remove oil based stains use a solvent of 12 % hydrogen peroxide or ammonia.
Once you have identified your stain you are ready to make and use your marble poultice and remove your tough stains! Follow the steps below:
Step 1: Make the Poultice
Add one cup of the recommended solvent into the mixing bowl.
Mix baking soda in the bowl with the solvent (Tip: about 1 pound of solid absorbent material is needed for every square foot of stain)
When finished the Marble Poultice should be the consistency of peanut butter or cake icing.
Step 2: Clean the Stained Area
Wipe the stain clean of any loose girt or dirt. Then wet the surface with clean water. Be sure the stain is covered in a small amount of water. The water will allow for the poultice to penetrate the pours of the marble and remove the stain!
Step 3: Apply the Poultice
Apply the poultice to the entire stain and add an extra inch of poultice around the stain. It should be about ¼ to ½ inches tall off the surface of the marble.
Step 4: Check and Cover the Poultice
Check to ensure there are no air pockets left in the poultice, and then completely cover the poultice with plastic wrap and secure with masking tape.
Step 5: Wait
Let the poultice completely harden and dry. This should take approximately 48 hours.
Step 6: Remove the Poultice
Remove the masking tape and plastic wrap. Then dampen the poultice by adding about ¼ of a cup of water over the poultice. Remove the poultice with a plastic or wooden spatula. Then clean the surface with warm water and dry completely.
If this method does not remove your stain, then completely clean the area around the stain and repeat the above steps, or see this article for further information on stain identification and marble stain removal!
Shower Stain Removal
The Marble Poultice works great against traditional countertops stains from things like wine or coffee spills, but what about shower troubles like soap scum or mildew. The below homemade cleaners will help solve your shower problems!
Homemade Mold and Mildew Remover
Over the long haul it is probably best to purchase a Mildew Remover specifically designed for marble, but in the short term this homemade mildew remover has some pretty serious cleaning power. To remove mold stains the Marble Institute of America recommends the use of the below solution:
Step 1: Add 1 gallon of water to a bucket or bowl
Step 2: Add ½ cup of bleach to the water bucket. Then mix completely!
Apply this mixture by spraying over the mildew stain. Let the homemade cleaner sit over the stain for 5-10 minutes so it can do all the work for you. If the stain does not go away after 10 minutes use a soft bristle brush or old toothbrush and gently rub the stain until it is gone!
Homemade Soap scum remover
Another common problem in marble showers is soap scum. Fortunately, there is a simple homemade solution to this problem! Follow the below steps:
Step 1: Add 1 gallon of water to a bucket or bowl
Step 2: Add ½ cup of ammonia to the water bucket. Then mix completely!
(Please note: DO NOT mix ammonia and bleach, the mixture will create a toxic gas!)
After the soap scum remover is mixed, apply to the surface and rub the soap scum with a microfiber or soft towel. If this does not remove the soap scum, apply more of the homemade cleaner and use a soft brush and rub the surface in a circular motion over the stained area.
Unfortunately, the high pH levels of bleach and ammonia that make them such effective cleaners are not very good for your shiny marble surface. If these mixtures are used frequently, they can dull your marble surface. Therefore, it is important to keep a clean marble shower by cleaning up regularly after use, thus preventing the formation of mold or soap scum!
This Guest Post was written by Owen Franklin from TheMarbleCleaner.com. His site is a completely free resource that is a one stop shop for everything you need to know to maintain and care for your marble. TheMarbleCleaner strives to give actionable, easy to use, marble care and maintenance tips so your marble will look brand new forever.
Thanks so much, Owen! I had no idea that it was actually very simple to not only make your own marble cleaner, but to clean marble, too!
Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at Kristen@theroadtodomestication.com. I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!