Marble is a beautiful elegant stone, bring a sense of luxury to any room. However, looking after a marble floor, particularly a polished floor, is not as straightforward as other types of flooring. Marble is a relatively soft stone, very porous and can damage easily. If you need to understand how to clean your marble floors, look no further than this article.
How Is Marble Made?
Answering how to clean marble floors starts with understanding it is made. Marble is a natural stone, made from Limestone and other sedimentary minerals. Heat and pressure within the earth cause the individual mineral grains to recrystallise into a solid stone. Mineral impurities such as clay, sand and metal oxides help create the different colours seen in marble, such as green, brown and black. Geologists classify the stone as non-foliated metamorphic stone.
It is a versatile natural stone, available in a variety of colours, patterns, and textures. Marble is a relatively soft stone compared to harder stone like Granite. It is also quite a porous stone compared to Granite. Since ancient times, it has been used as a building and sculptural material and as a decorative feature on walls, floors, counter-tops and furnishings. it is a beautiful stone, adding value to any home.
How to Clean Marble Floors
A Marble floor is one of the most beautiful natural stones Marble floors have been used for millennia to create elegant floors. It is just as popular today. Like all natural stone surfaces all other natural stones, marble must be cleaned regularly to prevent soiling and stains. If you have a dirty, stained marble floor, here is a 7 step guide on how to clean it and restore the finish:
- Use a dry mop or vacuum cleaner to remove dirt and dust.
- Make up a cleaning solution with a marble cleaning chemical and water. Only use a cleaner made for marble. Lots of standard floor cleaners contain chemicals that can harm marble.
- Use a microfiber soft cloth, microfiber flat mop, sponge or soft brush and give the floor a good clean, then rinse with clean water.
- Keep rinsing your soft cloth, sponge or mop and replace the cleaning solution once it becomes dirty. Also, replace the rinse water when it starts to become dirty.
- Allow the floor to dry. If you want to speed up drying, dry the floor using old towels.
- Treat any stains, following the guidelines below
- Finally, apply a marble impregnating sealer to help protect the finish. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure that you don’t leave any sealer pooling on the surface.
Treating Stains on Marble Floors
Spills must be removed immediately to prevent staining and damage. Absorb the spill into a paper towel, taking care not to spread the spill. Then wash the area with a ph neutral marble cleaner and dry the area with a soft cloth. If you are unlucky and there is a remaining stain, try the stain removal tips below
How to Remove Stains from Marble
The longer a stain sits, the harder it will be to remove it from marble floors. Stains must be treated immediately, because the longer a stain is allowed to work, the harder it will be to remove. Be mindful that different types of stain need different treatment.
How to Remove Oil Stains from Marble Surfaces
Vegetable oils, milk, cosmetics and other oil-based spills will quickly penetrate the porous surface of your marble floors, leaving a persistent dark stain.
Removing the stain requires you to draw the oil out of the marble. Start by mixing a few drops of strong alkaline cleaner or ammonia with your marble cleaner. Try to clean the stain with a few drops of strong alkaline cleaner added to your dilute marble cleaner. If this doesn’t work, use a poultice paste with some acetone and leave if for a couple of days. Rinse with a dilute marble cleaner and wipe dry.
How to Remove Organic Stains from Marble
Coffee, tea, wine, foods and other organic substances usually create a brown or pink stain. Mix a solution of 12% hydrogen peroxide and three drops of ammonia. A lower hydrogen peroxide solution will be less effective. Blot the area with the hydrogen peroxide solution to remove the stain. Take care when using this treatment on darker marble floors because it can lighten the stone.
Removing Soap Residues from Marble
Soap residues rapidly fill the pores in marble shower units, sinks, baths and vanity units, staining the finish. So all your marble surfaces that come into contact with natural soap should be cleaned regularly to remove the soap residue. Thankfully, this is a simple job. Use a marble deep-cleaning chemical to dissolve the soap and then rinse with your marble cleaner. Alternatively, you can use a solution of ammonia and water, but this is not a pleasant job. Also take care when using ammonia, as it can dull the surface of the marble.
How to Remove Rust Stains from Marble
Metal furnishings and containers can rusty and stain the marble. Brass and bronze are often used as a decorative insert in marble floors. If they are left wet, they will make brown stains that are very difficult to remove.
If you are lucky, you may be able to top polish our a rust stain with 0000-grade wire wool. If the stain is persistent, you will need to use a poultice mixture with a rust removal treatment. Most of these treatments are acidic, so they will etch the surface of your marble floors. You may need professional help to remove the etch damage and repolish the area.
How to Remove Ink Stains from Marble
If you have ink stains from markers and pens, you can make a poultice with a small amount of acetone. Deep ink stains and paint will need the help of commercial paint removers, that can damage the marble. So you may be better off calling on professional help.
How to Remove Etch Marks from Marble
Etch damage is usually caused by acidic spills (fruit juices, vinegar, tomato-based sauces, etc.) or cleaning products containing harsh chemicals. Some spills cause etch marks without causing a stain, while others both etch and stain the surface. As an example, water stains and ring marks are actually etched, not stains. Minerals in the water penetrate the surface and break down the marble’s surface.
You can often remove water rings by buffing the area with 0000 steel wool. Take care to remove any steel dust, because if it gets wet, it will rust and stain the marble.
If you have a larger area of etching or the damage is deep, then you may need professional assistance to refinish and polish the damaged surface.
What Is A Marble Poultice
A marble poultice is used to draw stains out of marble floors. A liquid cleaner or chemical is mixed with a carrier to form a creamy paste.
How to Make a Marble Poultice
Poultice materials include; fuller’s earth, diatomaceous earth, powdered chalk, talcum powder, baking soda, flour, etc. You can also use cotton wool or white kitchen paper to make a poultice.
To make a marble poultice, mix a poultice material with water, acetone, hydrogen peroxide etc. to make a thick paste. If you are using cotton wool or kitchen paper, soak with the chemical, then let it drain so the chemical is not dripping.
How to Use a Marble Poultice
- Wet the area with a little of the cleaning chemical.
- Apply a 5 to 1mm thick layer of poultice over the stain.
- Use cling film or clear plastic to cover the poultice.
- Tape the edges of the cover with masking tape to prevent the chemical from evaporating.
- Leave the poultice for 24 to 48 hours. The liquid chemical will draw the stain into the absorbent material.
- When the paste is dry, remove the cover and wipe off the material with a damp cloth. Try not to scrape off the poultice as you could scratch the marble.
- Rinse with your marble cleaner and buff dry with a soft microfiber cloth.
- Repeat until the stain has gone or until the police removing the stain.
If you can’t remove the stain with a poultice, you may need to call on professional help
Additional Tips on Marble Stain Removal
Before using a poultice material, take care to consider the following:
- Test any poultice on an inconspicuous area of the marble to make sure it does not cause any damage.
- Do not mix ammonia and bleach – it creates dangerous chlorine gas.
- Take care if using hydrogen peroxide on darker stones;
- Rinse any treatments well to remove all residues
- Try to dry the marble as standing water spots can leave marks.
- If you are treating rust stains and the poultice etches the marble. Use 0000 wire wool to try to polish out the etch mark. Alternatively, call on the services of a professional.
- Try to prevent staining your marble in the first place.
- Reseal marble surfaces at least once per year.
- Use coasters under glasses and cups.
Recommended Cleaners for Marble Floors
You want your marble to look clean and beautiful at all times. Regular cleaning and planned maintenance are essential. Take care when using any cleaning chemical. Avoid acid cleaners, (many washroom cleaners contain acids) and strong alkali cleaners like ammonia and bleach. These cleaners will etch and damage the surface of the marble, dulling the shine and making it easy for soil to penetrate the surface. For daily use, use a ph neutral cleaner manufactured specifically for cleaning marble and diluted according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you clean your marble with the correct cleaner and keep the seal topped up, you should never need to use a stronger alkaline cleaner. Stronger cleaning chemicals should only be used for interim maintenance tasks.
Is It Safe To Use Steam Cleaning On Marble Floors?
Heavy-duty commercial steam cleaners should not be used to clean marble floors in the home. The hot steam will cause thermal expansion in the marble and over time the surface can start to degrade. If the marble has fillers, the high heat can cause the fillers to fall out, leaving holes.
Home steamers are generally safe to clean marble floors because the temperature of the steam is not too high. However, you will probably find that a steam cleaner will not clean as well as a marble cleaner and a microfiber cloth or mop. Also, steam cleaners can overwet the mop head, reducing cleaning effectiveness.
If you look after your marble correctly, you will have no need for a steam cleaner.
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Grout Cleaning of Marble Floors
Stone marble floors enrich the appearance of any room. Whilst marble is porous, the group can be more porous, and over time, soils and mopping slurry can soak into the grout making it look dull, ugly and ruining the appearance of your marble flooring. The grout can be cleaned, using simple products like baking soda, but take care not to damage the marble while you are cleaning the grout.
- Fill a bowl with your recommended marble cleaner diluted with cold or warm water.
- Work in easy to reach areas
- Use a soft cloth or dust mop to remove any dry soil.
- Use a gentle scrubbing motion to clean the grout between the tiles with a grout cleaning brush. Use a gentle scrubbing motion to help clean the grout.
- You can use some baking soda to help agitate the grout, but take extreme care when using baking soda not to damage the surrounding marble tiles.
- Rinse the grout with clean warm water
- Dry the grout using a soft absorbent cloth or towel.
Polishing Marble Floor
Polished marble gives an incredible elegance to any room. However, the stone finish can deteriorate if it is not maintained correctly. Harsh chemicals and high traffic will damage the shine, making the marble dull and unattractive. Regular maintenance and polishing will preserve the finish, keeping the marble looking beautiful.
Before polishing, like any stone floor, the floor should be carefully cleaned and any stains and damage treated. If the finish is in good condition, dry polishing with high-quality diamond pads may be sufficient. If the floor has some wear, the surface may need to be honed and then polished with marble polishing powder. This is a specialist task, best carried out by professionals.
You can extend the life of your marble floor’s shine by following these simple guidelines.
Remove dry soil with a dust mop or vacuum
Frequent cleaning is the key to maintaining the finish on a marble floor. Dry sweeping with a dust mop or vacuuming will remove abrasive dust and dirt. If you use a vacuum cleaner on marble floor use soft tools. Metal floor tools can scratch marble and damage the finish.
Regular damp mopping
Use a soft microfiber dust mop and with the correct ph neutral marble cleaning chemicals to mop the floor to help keep the floor in tip-top condition.
Treat spills immediately
Clean up spills as soon as they happen to avoid staining and etching your marble. After removing a spill, clean the area with your marble cleaner, rinse with clean tap water and dry the floor thoroughly.
Use walk-off mats at doorways and entrances.
Use walk-off mats by entrance doorways and in high traffic areas to prevent dust and dirt being tracked into the home. This will avoid scratching by footwear.
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