Marble, usually white marble, has a tendency to pick up a lot of dirt and stains. Once it is blackened with years of human tread, you may think it cannot be saved. However, you would be wrong in that assumption, as any professional marble cleaning will show. The following article highlights some of the more "aggressive" ways in which to clean this delicate soft stone and remove some of the more heinous stains.
Professional cleaning compounds are the common instruments in most marble cleaning service trucks. Yet, if the stains are very light, your technician may just apply a combination of vinegar and peroxide, which lifts everything from blood to coffee. This inexpensive solution is something you could make at home and use for touch-up cleanings of all things marble in your home.
For heavier stains, wet sanding may just remove most of the problem areas. A professional will use coarse and then fine grit sandpaper with water to reduce the marble dust and create a stone-on-stone paste to buff out set-in stains. The marble surface that he or she sands has to be constantly sprayed with just water during the sanding process and then wiped completely free of the marble dust-paste after the wet sanding is complete.
Really Stubborn Stains
For really stubborn stains on your marble floors, counters or fireplace, the professional will use a poultice. This is a natural chemical that when applied it absorbs the most stubborn of stains. The most common poultice practice involves creating a paste from calcium carbonate or potassium carbonate and applying it the areas that refuse to let go of their stains. The professional will then wrap the area with plastic wrap, tape the edges of the plastic wrap down, and wait a day or more for the carbonate paste to soak up the problem areas and "eat" the stains. Then the poultice is removed and the area is wiped clean with warm water or steam-cleaned.
Protecting the Marble after It Has Been Cleaned
After your marble has been professionally cleaned and restored, then a clear coat of sealant goes over the top. Your professional marble cleaner can recommend and/or sell you a product that works best. You may need to reapply the sealant after a gentle cleansing, depending on where the marble in your home is located. For example, marble floors need frequent cleanings and resealing to look their best. The professional you hire will provide you with more maintenance tips and products to help.