How to Gently Clean Natural Marble Versus Cultured Marble

This article will help determine which type of marble you may be dealing with and how to clean each kind. IMPORTANT NOTE – DO NOT USE ACIDS ON STONE (NATURAL OR CULTURED) PRODUCTS UNLESS THE MANUFACTURER OF THE CLEANING PRODUCTS ASSURES ITS SAFE USE. WHEN IN DOUBT, ALWAYS TEST IN A SMALL INCONSPICUOUS AREA FIRST.

First, Determine Whether Your Surfaces are Natural Marble or Cultured Marble

Temperature Method

Lay your hand on the surface and note how warm or cool it feels. Natural marble is usually cooler to the touch than the surrounding air. Cultured marble will be about the same temperature as the surrounding air.

Acid Method

Pick a hidden, inconspicuous area on your surface. Put a few drops of vinegar on the surface to be tested. If it is natural marble, you will see some bubbles or fizz. Immediately wipe up the vinegar with a damp cloth to avoid damage.

Scratch Method

In that same hidden spot, lightly scratch the surface with a nail. Use a magnifying glass to see whether this caused visible scratches. Natural marble scratches easily, while cultured marble does not.

If you don’t know for sure, proceed as though it is natural, so you don’t cause damage.

Natural Marble Cleaning and Polishing

  • Use a clean, dry cloth to gently remove all dirt, dust and grit.
  • Wash away grime as needed with a soft cloth and warm water. Use a mild dish soap if needed. Rinse well with clean, damp cloth.
  • Dry the surface well with a clean cloth.
  • Polish your marble surface. Use a mixture of baking soda and water as a polish. (If this doesn’t work well, contact us to purchase a specialty product for cleaning natural marble)
  • Combine 3 tbs. of baking soda to 1 quart of water and mix well.
  • Using a clean cloth, apply the mixture to your surface in a thin layer. Allow to dry for about 5 hours.
  • Use a clean cloth and warm water to rinse the marble surface.
  • Dry and buff the marble with another clean cloth. Using a soft microfiber or chamois cloth, gently wipe down the marble in wide, circular motions. Move in progressively smaller circles as the surface dries.

Adding a Sealant to Natural Marble

A sealant won’t prevent all stains, but will provide some protection to your marble surface. Follow the sealant product instructions carefully. The steps below are for general guidance only.

  • Tape off any areas around the marble surface that are not to be sealed (i.e., wood trim, chrome or stainless steel). Use painter’s masking tape.
  • Spray the marble liberally with the sealant. Make sure the entire surface is completely wet.
  • After 15-30 minutes, use a soft, dry towel to wipe the surface completely dry.
  • Apply one more coat of sealer, let it sit for 15-30 minutes and wipe dry.
  • Allow the marble to cure for 6-8 hours. Do not use the surface during this time.
  • Reapply sealant every 1-2 years, depending on how heavily your marble surface is used.

Cleaning Cultured Marble

Cultured marble is much easier to clean than natural marble. Cultured marble is manufactured with a protective coating that makes it much less prone to scratches and damage. However, it still requires attention and care.

Use a gel polishing product if you wish to seal as well as polish your cultured marble. However, this is usually not necessary, as cultured marble is manufactured with a sealed surface. You can also use a carnauba wax made for cars.

Contact us to discuss your situation. We can help!