How to Care for Your Marble Benchtops
There is no denying that marble benchtops and countertops look absolutely great. They exude personality, elegance and class, and lend a timeless appeal to any kitchen – the key reasons that make it one of the most preferred choice of materials among home owners and interior designers alike. As with any other natural stone, no two marble slabs are completely alike, and if you happen to be using a marble benchtop in your Melbourne home, you can be sure that it is indeed one of a kind.
While marble can practically last for centuries, it is more delicate compared to most other natural stones such as granite and quartzite, and can easily stain, chip, etch or scratch if not cared for in the right way. In this blog, we will look at the why and the how of maintaining your precious marble surfaces for years to come.
Why does marble require special care?
Marble is essentially made up of calcium carbonate, which is a porous material that is susceptible to etching and staining. Moreover, it also has the tendency to react with acids, be it from foods such as lemon, tomato, vinegar and wine, as well as from cleaning products that have an acidic base. These acids could leave unsightly marks on your marble surface, and it can take a whole lot of effort to get the stains off, and restore your marble to its earlier sheen. This is why it is essential to know how to care for your marble benchtops, so that you can continue to enjoy its beauty for as long as you like.
Unlike popular perception, marble is quite easy to clean and maintain, as long as you keep some basic pointers in mind.
Marble care tips that you must not ignore!
1. Seal it regularly
Whether your marble is honed or polished, one of the first things you must do it to seal it using a high-quality impregnating sealer. The sealer works by penetrating and plugging in the pores on the surface, and this in turn prevents the marble from absorbing any moisture or accidental spills. Sealing needs to be done immediately after installation, and should ideally be repeated every few years depending upon the usage, to ensure that your marble stays protected from stains and oils.
2. Keep away from harsh cleaners
Do not use any kind of abrasive scrubbers or strong cleaning agents on your marble surface. These could cause scratching and etching, and could even corrode your marble. This holds true even if you have sealed your marble, as some of these harsh cleaners could still damage the surface. Instead, you could just use a soft cloth and some warm soap water to wipe the surface clean on a regular basis. If you absolutely must, you could also use a cleaning solution with a mild pH level, that is specifically designed for natural stones.
3. Use place mats
Avoid placing any hot or cold items directly on your marble benchtop or countertop, as this could result in the material expanding or contracting, and eventually result in cracks. You could use place mats instead, which will create a barrier between the cookware and the marble surface, and provide insulation from extreme temperatures. This might seem like an additional task at first, but will soon become a habit that you will not regret!
4. Tackle Spills Immediately
Needless to say, it is important to clean up spills as soon as you can, to avoid them staining your marble. After all, the longer the spillage is left on the surface, the harder it will get to remove the stains. But instead of rushing for a damp towel to wipe away the spill, blot it using a paper napkin first, and then proceed to wipe it clean. Doing this will prevent you from spreading the stains over a larger surface area. You could then sprinkle some talcum powder or dry corn flour over the spill area to absorb the remaining moisture (or even oil spills), before wiping it clean with a damp cloth.
5. Using poultices
Poultices are a tried and tested way to draw out stubborn stains from your marble surface. Usually made from a mix of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, the poultice should have the consistency of a thick paste. You could apply it onto the stained area and letting it sit undisturbed for 24-48 hours, by which time it would have completely dried and would have drawn out the stain from the surface onto itself. Sometimes, you might need to repeat this process multiple times in case of very stubborn stains.
Honing and Polishing Regularly
As a softer natural stone, marble has the tendency to develop some wear over prolonged use, even with the best care. In such cases, you could consider re-honing or re-polishing your marble, using high grade products. This will give your marble a renewed appearance, over and over.
Cleaning and maintaining your marble countertops and benchtops will help them stay stunning for years to come. Having said that, you should also be prepared to accept that your marble will likely develop its own personality over time, as it is a natural material.
If you’d like to know more about how you can better care for your marble benchtops, feel free to give us a call.