Marble is formed when a change is effected on sedimentary carbonate rocks, mainly limestone or dolomite rock. The resulting product will vary in appearance depending on a number of factors, for instance, the purity of the limestone: the purer the limestone the more bright white the marble will be, or the presence of mineral impurities such as clay or sand: this gives the coloured ‘veiny’ effect within the marble which gives fame to the term ‘marmoreal’, meaning marble-like.
Although the above is a natural process that has been taking place for years, humans have of course learned how to produce marble, and as the favourite product of both the Greeks and Romans with which to sculpt and build, the air of tradition and fine taste associated with the product has remained strong into today’s culture, seeing marble production being ever on the increase.
So it’s important that once you have invested in your marble kitchen worktop, dining table, kitchen accessories, mantelpiece or flooring, you know how to look after it. Marble is a lot more susceptible to staining and scratching than other materials, such as granite, so it’s important to do what you can to make sure your timeless beauty really is timeless.
First of all, try to ensure your marble is ‘sealed’ with a high quality marble-specific product, as this will protect it from some level of staining and also make it easier to clean. Reseal your marble every couple of years to ensure the sealer is still bringing the associated benefits, namely giving you those extra few seconds or minutes to mop up spillages before they turn into lifelong stains.
Marble is porous so will quickly absorb any liquid on the surface, changing the quality and appearance of your marble – so make sure to wipe away any excess liquid from the surface as soon as possible. It’s important to also act quickly with any non-liquid spillages with strong pigments, if you should spill cumin, saffron or coffee granules for example, wipe them away as quickly as possible.
Protect your marble from scratches by thinking ahead. Marble is a very soft material and scratches easily, so for marble floors, use pads on the bottom of tables and chairs and take heeled shoes off indoors. Or for worktops and tables, remember to use coasters. If you do find small scratches on your marble, gently rub over the scratch with a warm wet cloth – slight scratches should rub away easily, but be careful not to over-rub as you could create even more erosion.
Marble can be easily scratched so never use an abrasive cleaner, always avoid acidic or alkali cleaning products as both can eat away at your marble, seek out a PH Neutral product – some natural acids to avoid are vinegar and lemon juice!
The best advice is to use warm soapy water with a soft cloth making sure to gently dry the surface afterwards to avoid excess absorption of liquid. For tougher stains buy a purpose-made marble polishing powder, failing that, call a professional marble restorer as any efforts on your part to remove the stain may result in you ruining your marble. (Advice from KomPear Cleaning).
A chamois (pronounced shammy!) cloth is one of the kindest and easiest ways to polish your marble, and if you don’t know what a chamois cloth is, ask a man who polishes his car and he’ll probably tell you how valuable a chamois is! You can use the same chamois for ages so it’s worth spending a bit more than your average dish cloth in order to keep your marble looking fresh and shiny. Just ‘buff’ your marble by rubbing the chamois cloth over the surface to shine.