How to condition a marble mortar & pestle

A marble mortar and pestle will last a long time when cared for properly and can come in handy for many things. Whether you use your mortar and pestle to grind up medicine, dried herbs and seasonings or craft ingredients, having one on hand can be very convenient. Because marble is a natural stone it has a tendency to absorb the materials to which it's repeatedly exposed. If you frequently use your mortar and pestle it can become stained or affected by flavours and odours absorbed into the stone. Proper conditioning can help prevent that problem.

Wet a small, stiff scrub brush with plain water and use it to scrub the inside and outside of the mortar, as well as the pestle. Dry both items with a kitchen towel, then set them on the towel and allow them to air-dry for a few hours to ensure all moisture is gone.

Pour a handful of uncooked, slow-cooking rice into your mortar. Grind the rice with the pestle until it's finely ground. Dump out the pulverised rice and repeat this step until the ground rice comes out white, rather than looking dirty or taking on the colour of the mortar and pestle.

Wipe down your mortar and pestle with a dry kitchen towel.

Put four cloves of peeled garlic, 1 tsp cumin and 1 tsp kosher salt in your mortar. Pulverise the three ingredients using your pestle, continuing until the mashed garlic blends with the dry ingredients.

Wipe the ground garlic and seasonings out of your mortar and rinse the mortar and pestle with warm water. Dry both the mortar and pestle with a clean, dry towel.


Wash your marble mortar and pestle with warm water only. Detergents can be absorbed into the surface and affect ingredients being pulverised.

Things You'll Need

  • Small stiff scrub brush
  • Kitchen towels
  • Uncooked white rice
  • 4 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.