How to Clean Marble—Plus, a Trick for Removing Stubborn Stains

There's even a simple hack to help fix marble etching.

It's easy to see why marble continues to be a top choice for kitchen countertops: it's beautiful, timeless, and will never look out of style. But marble's reputation for being high-maintenance precedes it. Because marble is a relatively soft, porous stone, it can stain easily and acids like lemon juice can etch it. So if you're going to invest in a gorgeous marble countertop, you'll need to learn how to clean marble the right way and commit to a quick clean every single day. From there, wiping up spills immediately is the trick to making marble last.

Now what if you missed the lesson on how to clean marble and already have a stone slab marred with stains and etching? Don't worry, we'll also show you a couple tricks for removing set-in stains and etch marks. Prevention is key, so don't miss our list of dos and don'ts for pristine-looking marble countertops.

What You'll Need:

  • Spray bottle
  • Mild dishwashing liquid
  • Microfiber cloth
  • #0000 steel wool (optional)
  • 12% Hydrogen peroxide (optional)
  • Paper towel
  • Plastic wrap

How to Clean Marble:

  1. In a spray bottle, combine a squirt of dish soap and hot water.
  2. Spritz the entire surface of the marble, then wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. Dry with a second clean cloth to make sure no moisture is left on the surface. (Hint: water can leave marks on marble.)
  3. How to fix marble etching: Acids, such as lemon juice and tomato sauce, can cause etching or dulling on marble. To remove these marks in the stone, try this trick: Wearing gloves, rub the etched area with dry, super fine grade steel wool. The mild abrasive will buff out etch marks without scratching the surface.
  4. How to remove oil stains: If you let oil sit on marble, it can soak into the porous surface, causing it to turn a darker color. To lighten these stains, try making what's called a marble poultice. First, rip a white paper towel into small pieces.
  5. In a bowl, spritz the pieces with hydrogen peroxide. Lay the pieces on the stained area, then cover with plastic wrap. Cut air holes in the plastic wrap, then allow the poultice to dry out. This may take up to 24 hours. Check the area periodically to make sure you don't accidentally over-lighten the marble.
  6. Remove the plastic wrap and paper towel, then clean the surface following steps 1 and 2.

The Dos and Don'ts of Marble Countertops:

  • DO wipe up spills right away. Always clean up lemon juice, tomato sauce, and other acidic substances right away.
  • DON'T clean marble with white vinegar. Although vinegar is an effective cleaner for many surfaces, it can actually etch marble.
  • DO quick-clean marble every single day.
  • DON'T forget to use a coaster. Resting water can leave marks.
  • DO use a trivet when placing hot dishes on marble counters.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you use Windex or other cleaning products on marble?

    It's best to avoid Windex, because it's an acidic cleaner. Anything that contains acid, bleach or ammonia can damage marble. Also, avoid using all-purpose cleaners from brands like Clorox, 409, or Lysol unless the label says it's specially formulated to be safe for marble.

  • Can you remove stains from marble with baking soda?

    Yes, baking soda is safe to use on marble. Here's how to use baking soda to remove a stain:

    • Step 1: Make a thick paste out of baking soda and a small amount of water.
    • Step 2: Smooth the paste over the stain and cover it with plastic wrap.
    • Step 3: Let it sit for 24 hours.
    • Step 4: Remove the plastic and wipe off the paste with a damp cloth. The baking soda paste should have absorbed the stain. If there's still some discoloring, repeat the process.
  • Should you seal marble countertops?

    Applying a sealer can be a good way to protect marble countertops, though it's not always necessary. To test if yours needs to be sealed, drip a few drops of mineral oil or water on your counter and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. Wipe up the liquid. Does it leave a dark spot that takes several minutes to evaporate? If so, purchase a sealer like the Black Diamond Stoneworks Granite Sealer ($25, and follow the directions on the bottle to seal your countertop.

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