Marble countertops make a kitchen feel posh and luxurious -- but only when those marble counters are in good shape. To ensure your new marble counters stay looking shiny and elegant rather than dingy and worn, adhere to these dos and don'ts of marble care and maintenance.
Do have your marble sealed regularly -- if it's the type that requires sealing.
Some marble counters require regular sealing, while others do not. Check the manual that came with your counters or talk to your counter installation specialist to see which category your counters fall into. Don't try to seal a counter that you're told does not need sealing. The sealant will just form a strange coating on the exterior of the marble, making it looks sticky rather than smooth.
Sealing a marble counter is not too difficult. If you have some patience and time, you can do it yourself. Essentially, you begin by scrubbing the counter clean with baking soda. Then, you pour your sealer onto the counter top and use a cloth to spread it out, working on one section at a time. After letting the sealer sit for a few minutes, you wipe away the excess to reveal your finished surface.
Do keep absorbent cloths nearby so you can clean up spills immediately.
Keeping your marble well sealed will go a long way towards preventing stains. Still, if you happen to spill a dark liquid like coffee or wine on your counter, you'll want to wipe it up immediately so it does not leave a mark. Keep a roll of paper towels or a stack of clean, absorbent towels, within easy reach on your countertop so you're not wasting time hunting for these items when you have a spill.
Don't use abrasive cleaners on your marble counter.
"Scrubbing" style cleaners are not a good idea, since they may cause the surface to look roughed-up, rather than smooth. This includes grout cleaners, bathroom tile cleaners, and the like. Baking soda is a bit abrasive and thus should only be used to clean a marble counter when you're getting ready to seal it. Stick with cleaners that say they are made specifically for marble counters. Wipe the counter down well after using one of these cleaners, so you don't leave a cloudy residue. In most cases, using plain, hot water to wipe down your counters is sufficient -- you only need an actual cleaner when the counters are quite soiled.
Don't experiment with homemade cleaning solutions you find on the internet.
Vinegar, baking soda, coconut oil -- cleaner recipes with these ingredients may sound appealing and affordable, but you have no way to know how your marble will react to a homemade cleaner recipe until you try it. Stick to storebought cleaners made for marble, which have been tested extensively to make sure they won't stain or otherwise ruin your surfaces.
Don't leave bottles of liquid directly on your countertop.
Bottles of vinegar, oil, and other ingredients, along with bottles of cleaning products like dish soap, should not be stored directly on the counter. These products have a tendency to leak, and even the smallest drop tumbling down the side of the bottle can lead to an unsightly stain. If you want to display these items on your counter, place them on a decorative tray, which will catch any drips and spills.
Marble counters come in many different varieties with an array of finishes. Ask your counter installation specialist if there are any additional care tips you should follow to keep your particular style of counter in good shape. By starting with the tips above, you'll be headed in the right direction. If you aren't sure how to clean your marble, keep in mind that there is always the option to have it professionally cleaned by a company like All American Stone & Tile Care Inc. as well.