How to Clean Marble Countertops

Marble countertops require a little more attention than other types of stone countertops, such as granite, as marble is a softer and more porous material, making it more susceptible to scratches and stains. When maintaining marble countertops, use gentle cleaners and avoid using any acidic products, which may damage the natural stone.

Everyday Maintenance and Cleaning

On an everyday basis, blot up any liquids, such as water, orange juice or coffee using a soft, absorbent cloth as soon as possible. The longer the fluid sit on the marble countertops, the more likely they are to stain the stone. Blot the liquid up, rather than wipe it away, to avoid spreading the mess. For larger spills, create a cleaning solution by adding a few drops of a gentle dishwashing liquid to warm water. Dampen a clean cloth with the solution and use it to rinse the stone until its clean. Dry the area with a dry cloth.

If the soap mixture leaves streaks on the marble, simply wipe the countertop down with a soft towel dampened with plain warm water and dry it thoroughly with another cloth.

Removing Stains

Since marble is such a soft stone, you'll need to absorb any stains rather than scrub them out with abrasive objects, such as steel wool.

Oil-Based Stains

For oil-based stains, such as cooking grease, cosmetics and milk, you can clean the marble gently with a little mineral spirits or acetone on a soft cloth.

Red Wine, Vinegar, Water, Etc.

For organic stains, such as red wine, water rings, vinegar, coffee or tea, add a few drops of ammonia to a cup of 12 percent hydrogen peroxide, which will bleach out the stain. Dampen a soft cloth with the solution and blot the soiled area until the marks are gone. This method works especially well on light-colored natural stones, such as white Carrara marble.

Rust Stains

If your countertops have rust stains from metal objects, create a poultice by combining a white absorbent material, such as diatomaceous earth or kaolin, with enough of a liquid dishwashing soap to form a paste with the consistency of peanut butter. Use a wood or plastic spatula to spread a 1/4-to-1/2-inch-thick layer of the paste over the stain. Tape a piece of plastic wrap down over the poulice and allow it to rest for 24 to 48 hours. The liquid soap will draw the stain out of the marble and into the absorbent material.

Polishing the Marble

After cleaning the marble countertop, gently polish it to an attractive shine by gently rubbing it with a soft chamois cloth. Buffing the surface with a high-quality car wax, such as Carnauba, will protect the surface and bring back the shine.

Alternatively, apply a penetrating sealer made for stone countertops periodically to protect the stone from stains in the future.

Any polish or sealer used on kitchen counters must be food-safe.