How to Clean, Protect and Seal Marble Floors

Marble Countertop sealed with StoneTech Impregnating Sealer

Marble is very porous. The best way to prevent stains is to treat the surface with a protective, fluorochemical impregnating sealer. The sealer fills in the pores and repels spills on the surface, allowing you time to completely wipe it away.

Marble is a relative of limestone, having been derived from that particular stone, and having undergone further development while deep in the earth over the course of millions of years. Marble is a metamorphic rock, having been subject to tremendous heat and pressure to the point where various fossilized materials, along with the original limestone and sundry minerals, have become re-crystallized. This process changes the rock from limestone to what we would recognize as marble. This naturally decorative material is characterized by vein-like patterns which vary depending on which minerals, and which quantities of those minerals, were present during the re-crystallization of the original limestone parent rock. These patterns offer the unique appearance known to many, as well as the rich range of colors that are some of the most vibrant available in any natural stone.

Available in a wide range of colors, marble is often used for its honing beauty, but is more porous, softer, and chemically sensitive than granite. Marble surfaces show wear sooner than granite, but can be restored with honing and polishing more easily. The biggest drawback to marble for countertops is that it is easily etched by acids, including soft drinks, wine and juice. Absorbs oils and other liquids and is easily stained. So, putting marble in a kitchen or heavily used bathroom is not a good idea. Best use of marble is for powder baths, table tops, tub surrounds, a marble shower, floor tile and stone fireplace surrounds.

Composed of Calcite and Calcium Carbonate, marble should be sealed with a penetrating sealer such as BulletProof™ Water-Based Fluorochemical Sealer or Impregnator Pro™ Solvent-Based Fluorochemical Sealer to prevent staining and reduce soiling. Should only be cleaned with neutral pH detergents such as Revitalizer™ Stone Cleaner and Seal Refresher or All Purpose Stone & Tile Cleaner. Because it is soft, it should never be cleaned at pressures above 800 PSI and then only if the grout is in good condition.

NOTE: Marble and all other stone surfaces should only be sealed by impregnating sealers, not by coatings such as wax.

Note that almost all Green Marble is actually Serpentine, not Marble. Black Granite is generally Basalt and is charged a higher import duty.

Marble ranges from 1 to 4 on the MOH scale (a scale for determining the relative hardness of a mineral according to its resistance to scratching). The hardest mineral, at 10, is diamond. The softest mineral, at 1, is talc (baby powder).

Black Marble, such as Negro Marquina, is a very soft limestone often mistaken as a marble. Not recommended for interior flooring. Never use a crystallizer on black marble - The stone will blister or spall! If honing or polishing, use extreme care not to leave swirls and do not run until the powder has dried. Check frequently - polishes very quickly!

If you would like to test your floor or sample of Absolute Black Granite you can use both StoneTech™ Professional Restore™ and StoneTech Professional Klenz-All™ heavy-duty alkaline cleaner and degreaser as testing liquids. We recommend you apply each of these cleaners in separate inconspicuous areas, let them stand for 30 minutes, rinse the surface and allow to dry. If the surface turns light gray you should avoid purchasing or using the material.

Stone Finishes

  • A polished finish on the stone has a glossy surface that reflects light and emphasizes the color and marking of the material. This type of finish is used on walls, furniture tops and other items, as well as floor tiles.
  • A honed finish is a satin smooth surface with relatively little light reflection. Generally, a honed finish is preferred for floors, stair treads, thresholds and other locations where heavy traffic will wear off the polished finish. A honed finish may also be used on furniture tops and other surfaces.
  • A flamed finish is a rough textured surface used frequently on granite floor tiles.

DO’s and DON’Ts for Marble:

  • DO clean up spills immediately to minimize damage to your stone.
  • DO use trivets or mats under hot dishes and cookware.
  • DO use place mats under china, ceramics, silver and other objects that can scratch the stone’s surface.
  • DO use coasters under glasses, especially if they contain alcohol or citrus juices.
  • DO clean surfaces regularly with StoneTech Professional Revitalizer™ Stone Cleaner and Seal Refresher.
  • DO use StoneTech™ Professional BulletProof™ Water-Based Fluorochemical Sealer to protect the stone.
  • DO use a tray for toiletry products in the bathroom to protect the surface from the damaging chemicals contained in many toiletry products.
  • DO dust mop marble floor tile regularly.
  • DO use door mats inside and out along with runners and area rugs on marble floors.
  • DON’T wait to clean up spills on stone.
  • DON’T use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners or tub cleaners.
  • DON’T use vinegar, bleach, ammonia or other general-purpose cleaners.
  • DON’T use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers.
  • DON’T use alkaline cleaners not specifically formulated for stone.
  • DON’T use scouring powders and abrasives because they will scratch the surface.
  • DON’T Place toiletry products directly on the countertop surface.

Care & Maintenance of Marble Countertops and Floors:

Marble etched by acids

Marble is porous, and easily stained and is etched by acids. Avoid setting beverage glasses directly on marble as they leave rings. Fruit juice, carbonated beverages or other acids will etch (remove shiny surface) if allowed to remain on marble. Wipe up acid spill immediately, and wipe surface with wet cloth. If surfaced is etched, polishing may be required.

Marble is very porous. The best way to prevent stains is to treat the surface with a protective sealer. The sealer fills in the pores and repels spills on the surface, allowing you time to completely wipe it away.

Dust mop interior marble floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that will scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a non-slip surface. Normally, it will take a person about eight steps on a floor surface to remove sand or dirt from the bottom of their shoes. Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels may scratch the surface.

We recommend that you use care and maintenance products from StoneTech Professional that are specially formulated to protect and enhance the beauty of your granite. Once the stone is sealed, clean up is usually easy. We recommend that you use StoneTech Professional Revitalizer Cleaner & Protector. Revitalizer cleans with a gentle, pH-neutral formula that removes soils while reinforcing the original protective seal to help prevent future staining.

Although we usually think of marble as “hard,” it is a porous material and is much softer than granite. Marble has varying degrees of porosity depending on the type of stone. If left unsealed, spills and everyday messes can easily penetrate the surface. The liquid eventually evaporates but the stain is left behind.

Image of Protected and unprotected marble

Removal of oily stains is easily accomplished with StoneTech Professional Oil Stain Remover.

DuPont Fluorochemical technology, incorporated into StoneTech Professional Bullet Proof and StoneTech Professional Impregnator Pro, is the most advanced technology available, providing the ultimate shield against both water and oil-base stains. The micro-molecular formula actually bonds with the stone surface to deliver unsurpassed wear resistance and durability. And because the sealer reacts with the stone, you no longer have to worry about its porosity. It works on all types of stone, from ultra-porous Juparana Columbo to super-dense Absolute Black.

How to Remove Organic Stains from Stone Countertops:

Stains from coffee, tea, wine, foods and other organic substances are pink to brown in color and relatively easy to remove. Mix a few drops of ammonia with 12% hydrogen peroxide to spot clean the stained area. However, be careful when using this method on darker stones as the hydrogen peroxide can lighten the color of the marble. NOTE: The ammonia neutralizes the acid normally put in peroxide to stabilize it. Without the ammonia, the peroxide will etch the marble. You can also use the Stain Magic® 2-Part System Magic, just as with carpet, to remove organic stains from marble and other stone surfaces.

How to Remove Soap Scum from Marble Surfaces

Shower walls, bathroom floors and vanities, and other marble pieces that come in contact with soapy water need periodical cleaning to remove soap scum. AVOID the temptation to use an acid-based product to remove soap scum from marble. We often get calls where a consumer, a maid or a cleaning service has used vinegar or CLR® Lime Remover to clean a marble or limestone shower - resulting in severe etching! Instead, use All Purpose Stone & Tile Cleaner or Revitalizer™ Stone Cleaner and Seal Refresher or, in extreme cases, Klenz-All™ heavy-duty alkaline cleaner and degreaser. ALSO, DO NOT use an abrasive cleaner to remove soap scum.

Etches and Scratches

If the marble has been etched by an acid or has been severely scratched, it will need to be honed and polished to remove the scratch and restore the shine.

Marble etched by acids

How to Remove Ink Stains and Paint Stains from Marble Surfaces

You can use Saf-T-Solv™ Dry Volatile Spotter, acetone, isopropyl alcohol or mineral spirits to get ink stains and small amounts of paint out of marble. More persistent ink stains and larger paint stains can be removed with the help of a marble poultice such as StoneTech™ Oil Stain Remover that will soak up the pigments from the stain within a couple of days (see below under oil-based stains).

Oil-Based Stains

Oil stains tend to darken the stone’s surface and be very hard to remove, since oils don’t evaporate easily. An oil-based stain might be caused by grease, cooking oil, milk, peanut butter, creams, cosmetics and so on. These stains tend to darken the stone’s surface and be very hard to remove, since oils don’t evaporate easily. And the only way to remove it is by drawing out the oil from the stone with a poultice.

StoneTech Oil Stain Remover is a superior, citrus solvent-based poultice especially formulated for safely removing stubborn oil-based stains from grout and natural stone such as marble, granite, concrete and limestone discoloring the surface or leaving any residue behind.

Features and Benefits of of Oil Stain Remover for Stone:

  • Easy to use.
  • Acts as a poultice to draw oil out of stone, terrazzo and concrete.
  • Leaves no residue.
  • Will not discolor natural stone.
  • Is VOC Compliant.
  • Is safe on food contact surfaces.
  • Has a natural Citrus Solvent - not the pungent odor of most oil stain removers.
  • Removes deep, stubborn grease and oil stains from stone surfaces and grout.

Properties & Specifications:

  • Use Concentration: Undiluted.
  • Storage: Protect product from freezing. Keep container closed when not in use.
  • Coverage: Approximately 2 square feet of surface at 1/4-inch thickness per pint.

How to Use Oil Stain Remover to Remove Oil Stains from Stone Surfaces and Grout:

  1. Test in a small area to determine that the desired results will be achieved.
  2. Make sure surface is clean, dry and free of waxes and coatings.
  3. Clean up dust and loose dirt and debris.
  4. Using a plastic or wood spatula, stir thoroughly to mix the paste.
  5. Apply a 1/8-1/4 inch thick layer of paste to the stain. Ensure that the putty extends 1 inch beyond the edge of the stain.
  6. Do not cover with plastic.
  7. Allow 48 to 72 hours for paste to completely dry to a powder.
  8. Sweep up remaining powder and discard.
  9. Allow solvent to completely dry from the stone.
  10. If, after complete drying, the stain is not completely gone, repeat the process.
  11. After the stain has been removed and the area is completely dry, reseal the area using StoneTech Impregnator Pro™ Solvent-Based Fluorochemical Sealer, BulletProof™ Water-Based Fluorochemical Sealer, Exterior Heavy-Duty Stone & Masonry Sealer or Bane-Clene Sta-Clene® Solvent-Based Fluorochemical Sealer
  12. Clean up residue and tools with mineral spirits.
Image of oil stain on stone

Additional Stone, Ceramic and Porcelain Tile & Grout Information:

Related Stone Care Videos:

Stone, Ceramic and Porcelain Tile & Grout Care Products:

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Published by: Bane-Clene® Corp.
Copyright: Bane-Clene Corp.

Date Modified: April 3, 2021

Date Originally Published: April 23, 2017