Marble is a stone that is used in fine building work. It is fashionable for tub surrounds and showers, as floor tile, fireplace surrounds and table tops. It may be white or coloured and it is porous and easily stained. Also, it can be etched by acids. Cleaning marble is not difficult, but it must be done correctly to keep the marble in good condition. People often confuse marble with granite, but marble is much softer than granite and it stains and wears much more easily then granite.
Wash the marble with plain warm water. To avoid water spots, wipe dry with a clean cloth.
Wash the marble with a mild detergent solution (hand dish-washing detergent and warm water) once or twice a year as needed. Make sure you rinse with clean pure water to remove all of the detergent and then wipe dry.
Apply a light coat of wax to protect the surface of the marble. If you set things on the marble, such as a metal tray or a flower pot, the wax can protect the marble from rust and water spots. Only use colourless wax and don't wax white marble because it tends tend to yellow.
Use ammonia to dissolve stains. Make a poultice from white absorbent material such as a napkin, paper towel or facial tissue, dampened with ammonia and apply to the stain. Alternatively, use whiting or cornflour mixed with ammonia to dissolve the stain. The poultice can be left on the stain for up to two days if needed. Cling film, held in place by masking tape, can be put over the poultice to keep it damp; otherwise it will have to be re-dampened with ammonia periodically.
Make a poultice soaked with 20 per cent peroxide (hair bleaching strength) and a few drops of ammonia for tea, coffee and soft drink stains.
Spread whiting or cornflour on the surface of the marble as soon as possible for oil stains. After a short time, brush to remove and reapply more powder and let stand 24 hours then scrub with hot, sudsy water and a stiff brush. Always rinse and wipe dry to avoid spotting. Oil stains come from butter, hand cream and/or lotions.
Remove rust stains with a commercial rust stain remover. Do not leave the rust remover on the surface very long because the acid in many rust removers can etch the surface. Rust stains usually result from metal items such as lamps and metal containers.
Fruit juice, carbonated beverages or other acids will etch the surface (remove shine) if not wiped up quickly. Wipe up acid spills immediately, and then wipe surface again with wet cloth. If surface is etched, polishing may be required to restore the shine.