For centuries, marble has been one of the most treasured natural stones in the world. It has been the medium for great sculptures, vessels, and works of architecture, and is prized in the construction of flooring, staircases, fireplaces, and, of course, kitchen and bathroom countertops. As the favorite medium for both Greek and Roman sculptors and architects, marble has become a lasting symbol of taste, refinement, and tradition all over the world.
All this means that marble is in high demand in the modern home, where it’s especially popular in countertops, vanities, and fireplaces. But it also means that once you have the beautiful marble countertop that you’ve always wanted, you also want to make sure that you care for it properly. As all those sculptures from ancient Greece and Rome can attest, marble is capable of sticking around for a very long time.
Keeping your marble looking its best means cleaning, polishing, and protecting it. Though marble is a durable material, it’s also porous and can stain easily if it’s not cared for properly. There are a variety of methods for cleaning marble, but you have to be careful, as many commercial cleaners contain bleaches or abrasive agents that can damage your marble’s finish. Your best bet for cleaning marble is to use a high quality natural stone cleaner, one free from abrasive ingredients or bleaching agents. Once your marble is clean, though, you also want it to have that shine that we all associate with marble, and for that, you’ll need a quality marble polish.
Before you begin, it’s good to know if you’re working with natural or cultured marble. One quick way to tell is to lay your hand on the marble and note the temperature. Natural marble should feel slightly cooler than the surrounding temperature, while cultured marble will feel about the same. If you’re still not sure you can perform an acid test, though make sure you do it in an inconspicuous, out-of-the-way spot. Put just a few drops of vinegar on the surface of the marble: if you see any bubbles or fizz, then chances are your marble is natural. If you’re in doubt, you should always proceed assuming that you’re dealing with natural marble, as it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Polishing your marble is fairly simple once you know how to do it. Maybe the most important step is ensuring that you start with a clean, dry surface. Polishing your marble will do no good—and could even do some harm—if you’re polishing in a bunch of dirt and grime. When your surface is clean and dry, then you just apply the marble polish with a microfiber cloth. Once the polish is applied, use a separate clean, dry cloth to gently dry and buff the marble, starting with wide circular motions and working down to smaller circles as you finish. Applying a natural stone sealer when you’re done can also help to protect your marble down the road.
This article was brought to you by Rock Doctor, which offers a line of specially-formulated stone cleaner, stone polish, and stone sealer products. Rock Doctor stone care products can be purchased through a number of fine retail stores, including Wal-Mart, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Bed Bath & Beyond, Ace Hardware, Do it Best Hardware, Hy-Vee, and Wegmans.