How to Clean & Restore Marble Statuary

Written by samantha volz
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How to Clean & Restore Marble Statuary
Basic restoration care for marble statues large and small is the same. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Marble is one of the most common materials used in statuary. Though it is extremely durable and stain-resistant, even marble needs cleaning and restoring with the wear and tear and tests of time. Whether the statues adorn your garden or lawn or are used to commemorate a loved one at a memorial or cemetery, it's always important to keep your marble looking clean and fresh. Marble easily can be damaged by abrasive cleaners, so use the proper products and methods to keep your marble statuary looking good as new.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Water
  • Mild dish detergent
  • Baking soda
  • Bowl or bucket
  • Rag, sponge or scrub brush
  • Towel
  • Marble sealant

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  1. 1

    Mix warm water and 1 tbsp of dish detergent in a bucket or bowl. Use more detergent if necessary until the mixture suds.

  2. 2

    Soak a soft rag or sponge in the soapy water, and rub the marble statue to remove dirt and grime. Pay particular attention to creases and crevices.

  3. 3

    Make a thin paste of baking sodas and warm water and apply this to any particularly dirty areas. Allow it to sit for an hour or longer. Apply elbow grease as needed to loosen grime, but no abrasive cleansers, scratchers or brushes. Rinse thoroughly with water.

  4. 4

    Dissolve 3 tbsps. of baking soda in 1 qt. of warm water and mix thoroughly. Wipe this solution onto the marble statue, and allow it to air dry for at least an hour.

  5. 5

    Wipe all cleaner away with a clean cloth soaked in plain warm water. Dry thoroughly with another clean towel.

  6. 6

    Purchase marble sealant from a stone shop, hardware store or Internet retailer. Read and follow all directions and warnings on the product for proper use. Sealant will restore lustre to the marble statue as well as protect it further from stains.

  7. 7

    Apply the marble sealer per product instructions; some sealers may require more than one coat to thoroughly protect and restore the marble. Product application and drying time may vary.

  8. 8

    Dry the surface thoroughly with clean, dry towels when finished sealing.

Tips and warnings

  • The Victoria & Albert Museum in London discourages using commercial cleaners on marble, and suggests instead using distilled water and non-ionic detergents for regular marble cleaning and white spirits for removing waxes and greasy dirt.
  • If your statuary has been sealed or "bonded" previously, follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions.
  • Never clean marble with acidic or abrasive cleaners, including vinegar and steel wool. These will damage the marble surface.

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