How To Clean Marble And Granite Counter Tops Safely

by Editor on May 7, 2013


“Safely” is the operative word in how to clean marble and granite counter tops safely. Though these stones are tough, using the wrong cleansers can etch them. This is especially true of marble, which is much softer than granite and rather soft as stones go.

Counter tops
Marble and granite counter tops are uniquely beautiful home additions. Both can be used as counter tops for the kitchen or for the bathroom vanity. The great thing about marble and granite is that they’re both exceptionally beautiful and add a note of elegance to your home’s interior design. Marble can range from the pure white of Thassos marble to the black of Bardiglio scuro and can come in many colors in between. The stone often has veins or clouds of color, and a type of marble called cremo has veins of gold. Granite can also come in a great variety of colors, from white to blue, gray to rose, green to red, beige to black. These colors mean marble and granite counter tops can blend in with any decor. As they’re stone, they can also blend in with any style, from Victorian to modern.

Marble is a calciferous stone and more porous than granite. It can be damaged by an acid as weak as vinegar. Acids and alkalines have to be considerably stronger to etch granite. This is why it’s more common to see granite as a counter top, especially in the kitchen. Some homeowners have only insets of marble in what are mainly granite counter tops. These insets are used for preparing dough and pastry because of marble’s coolness. Marble counter tops are more likely to be seen in the bathroom because there’s less chance of it being exposed to acidic fruits and drinks like citrus and wine. In any case, any acidic or alkaline spills that fall on either a marble or a granite counter top need to be blotted, but not wiped, right away. Wiping only smears the spill.

Some stone experts claim that stone used for counter tops needs to be sealed, while others claim the sealants are superficial, can easily come off and don’t really protect the stone, especially marble, against staining. However, if a homeowner does have the stone kitchen counter top sealed, it should be of a type that’s safe to use where food is being prepared.
One good way of protecting stone counter tops is to use trivets, coasters and mats to protect them either from acidic foods or from piping hot pots and pans. Even empty glassware shouldn’t be put directly on stone, because the glass can scratch the stone and the stone can crack the glass.

Marble and granite counter tops should be cleaned regularly with a soft cloth and pH neutral cleanser. Some people also use a soft bristled brush. After the cleanser is applied, it should be thoroughly rinsed, and the stone should be dried with a soft cloth. Soap shouldn’t be used, because it can leave a film. A strong soap is also too alkaline for most stone. Some homemakers also wax the stone, even though it’s not strictly necessary. Paste wax shouldn’t be used on white marble because the waxy build-up will eventually start to show. Some people have been known to use car wax on marble and have been pleased with it. Other specialty cleaners, sealants or dressings can be bought from a stone fabricator.
One problem a homeowner who has a marble counter top in their bathroom might encounter is soap scum. Soap scum is a challenge to remove from marble because the usual soap scum removers are too harsh to use on it. One good solution is about a half a cup of ammonia to a gallon of water, but this should be used sparingly. Too much ammonia on marble will dull it.

About the Author

Kyle Sanders is a blogger and cleaning enthusiast. He enjoys writing about cleaning services and tips and related home improvement topics for the DIY crowd and people seeking unique cleaning tips. When not writing for the web, Kyle enjoys throwing get-togethers and BBQs for friends and family.

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