Marble floors are beautiful and elegant. We associate them with royalty, with grand, sweeping staircases and opulent buildings.
Marble suits many styles of interior decorating, and the natural coloring and veining is exceptional. But as beautiful as a marble floor is, it can also require a lot of work to take care of.
Marble is an attractive and durable stone, but also a porous one. And it's this porous quality that makes marble so difficult to clean.
If you don't treat marble right, it can quickly start to show damage, ruining the elegant effect of polished natural stone.
To find the right way to care for your marble floors, take a look at this guide. We have all the tips for cleaning marble, as well as the things you must avoid.
With this guide, you can keep your marble floor looking polished and perfect.
Why Is Marble So Difficult To Clean?
Marble is a material that's notoriously difficult to care for, but as it's a natural stone, you might be wondering what exactly makes marble so special.
Marble is porous, which means it's more likely to absorb water and sustain damage. The mineral used to form marble is also high-alkali, which means acidic cleaners can cause serious harm.
That rules out a lot of cleaning products, even natural solutions made with lemon or vinegar.
The combination of high-alkali mineral and porous surface is why marble is so notoriously difficult to care for (and so easy to damage).
There are two types of marble: natural marble, and cultured marble. Natural marble is quarried from the earth, while cultured marble is man-made.
Cultured marble is typically coated in a protective gel, which gives it an extra layer of protection.
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How To Clean Marble Floors
If you want to keep your marble flooring clean, sweep it frequently. This will remove any dirt or grime that has settled on the surface, leaving you with that attractive marble finish.
The general rule is to sweep marble once a week for every person or pet in the house. So, in a single-person household, a sweep a week should be fine.
Twice a week for two people, three times a week for a couple and a dog, and so on. If it's just you and a pack of dogs, you'll probably need to sweep every single day.
It's important to use the right equipment when sweeping marble. We recommend a dust mop or dry mop to care for your marble floor.
These are soft microfiber cloths at the end of a long handle. The microfiber is very gentle on the surface of the marble and shouldn't cause any damage.
If you plan on using a broom, invest in a flared broom. These have softer bristles, so are less likely to cause scratches.
Avoid using vacuums, as these can cause some serious damage to the surface of your marble.
Test Any Cleaning Products Before Use
Before you get into any serious cleaning of your marble, make sure to spot test your cleaning products. Anything too acidic can damage the alkali surface.
But even alkali cleaners can cause issues, sometimes bleaching the patterning of your marble.
Spot test your cleaners on an out-of-the-way patch of marble and wait to see how it reacts.
We recommend mopping your marble tiles roughly once a month. This can be a long process, but make sure to take your time over it.
Rushing through a clean can leave stains and marks that will then require even more effort to remove.
Start by wetting down the entire area, preferably with distilled, warm water. Use either a spray bottle or wring out a mop, as you want to avoid water sitting. Blot away any excess water.
Next, prepare your chosen cleaning solution according to the instructions. You may find that you don't need much, especially if you're using a mop.
The best cleaners are pH-neutral, as these are gentle on the alkali stone.
Use a microfiber mop to apply the cleaning solution to the floor. Short and even strokes with the mop are best for a thorough application, or use a circular motion.
Make sure to rinse off your mop and keep the water clean to avoid moving dirt around.
After applying the cleaning solution, rinse the surface with clean water. Rinse the same way you applied the cleaning solution — with steady strokes and regular water changes.
Rinsing removes excess cleaning solution and can wash away the last of the dirt.
The final necessary step is to dry the floor. You should not leave the water to sit, as this can cause water stains. Use a dry, soft cloth or towel.
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Remove Stains Immediately
As soon as you spot a stain on your marble floor, you should try and clean it. Otherwise, these stains can set in. And then it's almost impossible to fix.
First, blot up any excess liquid from the spill. Don't rub, as this can smear the stain further across the surface.
Then, rinse the stain with water or a mild soap solution. Again, blot carefully. Working from the outside in is the best way to avoid spreading the stain.
Repeat until the stain has been removed, and make sure to dry.
For set stains, you need to use a targeted approach. Hydrogen peroxide, acetone, baking soda, and ammonia, can all be used to treat marble stains.
Identify what caused the stain, and choose a solution to match. Hydrogen peroxide is best for organic stains, baking soda for liquid stains, acetone for gentle removal, and ammonia for serious stains.
Tips For Cleaning Marble Flooring
- Avoid polish. Polish can damage the marble surface, and make it dangerously slippy.
- Don't let water sit. Water can cause imperfections and can even lead to rust stains. Marble floors should not be left to air dry.
- To remove scuffs or an etch mark, try rubbing the area with a tennis ball. Otherwise, use an etch remover.
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Marble is one of the most beautiful materials known to man. It's also porous and alkali, which makes it difficult to maintain with traditional cleaning methods.
But with some patience and care, and a lot of sweeping, you'll have a gorgeous, timeless-looking floor for years to come.