You may be wondering, why is there such a fuss about cleaning marble kitchen worktops?
As a carbonate, marble is notoriously vulnerable to a variety of damage. It can be tricky to keep pristine if you aren’t attentive when it comes to cleaning it.
If you’re a seasoned owner of marble worktops you probably already know to avoid anything that’s acidic or abrasive — lemons, vinegar and tomato juice are the main culprits of damage to the appearance of marble. Unfortunately, this includes avoiding anti-bacterial sprays (unless you can find one that doesn’t contain ammonia, vinegar or bleach).
So, how do you clean marble worktops?
The simple answer: Hot, soapy water and a dishcloth will be your worktop’s best friend.
If you’re looking for a regular cleaning routine the one below is perfect.
- Fill ¾ of a spray bottle with hot water.
- Mix in one tablespoon of a mild, liquid dishwashing soap.
- Shake the bottle gently to ensure the soap and water mix together.
- Spray generously onto the whole worktop (or focus on the problem area).
- Wipe the worktop with a hot, wet dishcloth, until the dirt and soap residue is gone.
- Dry the surface with a soft towel, using a buffing motion.
Why does marble need to be cleaned so often?
As a soft stone, marble is naturally quite porous. In high-traffic areas, such as kitchens, it can be exposed to a lot of rough and tumble.
Marble is prone to the kind of damage that occurs through regular every-day use of a kitchen. While some owners don’t view most of this damage as severe, etching and staining can be a headache for those who intend to keep their worktops in pristine condition.
If you’re not afraid of your worktop gaining character, etching and staining are unlikely to scare you.
What is etching?
Etches are areas of ‘dullness’ that can appear on your marble. Created when an acid reacts with the calcium carbonate (marble), etching occurs as the acid eats away at the soft stone. Often described as looking like water spots, most etching is only visible in certain lighting or when looking from a certain angle. Some etching fades over time, and there are methods such as applying poultice cleaning mixes (a baking soda and water paste) that can help reduce the visibility of these dull marks.
The best way to avoid etching is through the use of cutting boards and butcher blocks. Cutting anything directly on the surface is a no-go, especially if it’s a fruit or vegetable. However, if you or anyone in your household is an avid baker, the natural coolness of a marble worktop is ideal for rolling out any dough or pastry.
What about stains?
Etches aren’t the only issue marble worktops owner’s face. Because it’s so porous, marble is also particularly susceptible to stains. Similarly to etching, the best way to avoid such damage is through care and diligent use of cutting boards. Spills can be harmless if quickly blotted away and then wiped clean with a hot, soapy cloth but owners will have to be wary, especially if the worktop hasn’t yet been sealed.
Following a regular cleaning routine will certainly help to keep your worktops in good condition. The best way to avoid damage is through quick clean-up of spills and regularly sealing the worktop.
TOP TIP: Check that it is necessary for you to seal your worktop as well as how often you should do so with your supplier.
Once the damage is done there are a few options available. If you don’t think you can live with etching or stains, you could look at getting a professional to buff out flaws. Alternatively, if your worktop is polished, many people opt for it to be honed to a matte finish to help improve the appearance of imperfections.
In most cases, etching and staining are only visible in certain circumstances, and the worktop as a whole will continue to look flawless. If all else fails, it may be comforting to know that most superficial imperfections to the worktop’s surface fade with time.
- DON’T use acidic or abrasive cleaners
- DON’T seal your worktop if it doesn’t require it
- DON’T use rough cloths on the surface
- DON’T cut directly on the surface
- DO use hot, soapy water and a dishcloth
- DO buff with a soft cloth until it’s completely dry
- DO be quick to blot (not wipe!) spills with a paper towel or cloth
- DO consider embracing the uniqueness of your marble’s imperfections
- DO contact a professional if you need any help or advice!