How to Polish Marble Countertops

  • September 18, 2019
  • / By Dale Keese
Black Marble Countertops

From ancient times, marble has been considered a symbol of grandeur and luxury. The colorful and varied patterns and its translucent quality makes marble a sophisticated and durable alternative to materials such as laminate, Formica and wood, which is why marble is popularly chosen for kitchen and bathroom countertops. 

Black Marble Countertops

Natural marble is very porous and is susceptible to damage, which is why it needs plenty of extra maintenance and care. And, over time or by using acidic or abrasive materials to clean marble countertops, can cause them to get scratched or stained and because of a lot of wear and tear, they can start looking quite dull. Taking good care of your marble countertops with adequate cleaning and polishing can make them look shiny and new for several years to come.

In this article, we have discussed some tips of how you can remove tiny imperfections from the marble surface and how to polish marble countertops to restore its wonderful shine.

Proper cleaning and maintenance of your marble countertops will extend the beauty and shine of the stone. Use a damp cloth, preferably microfiber or chamois and wipe the countertops using some mild dish soap and warm water. Then rinse the countertops using warm water and ensure that you remove the soap completely. Wipe dry using a soft cloth. Do not let the marble countertops air dry as there will be water spots on the marble surface.

Avoid using powdered soap or a soap bar because these will leave residue on the marble. Also, avoid using alkaline- or acid-based cleaning products or bleach as these will degrade the marble sealer. Also, avoid using ammonia, vinegar, lemon or orange as all these have natural acids, which will dull the marble surface.

Using hard brushes or abrasive cleaning solutions can cause etching in the marble and even the tiniest of scratches can dull the shine of the marble countertops, while the deeper scratches can damage your countertops seriously. Using pH-neutral cleaning products and only products meant for marble can help to prevent the marble from getting damaged.

Remove Spills Immediately

If you spill something on the marble countertop, ensure that you clean it immediately, otherwise, the liquid will infiltrate the marble and leave stains, which can be quite tough to remove. Liquids such as juices, wine, cooking oil, sauces and coffee can cause your marble countertop to get stained. Avoid using coarse cloth or wipes to clean the countertop, because this will scratch the surface of the marble.

Red Wine

Place coasters under glasses and cups and avoid putting sharp items or hot dishes on the marble countertop directly. Do not place metal containers on your marble countertop as they may cause rust stains. Use trays for cosmetics, cleaning agents or anything else that can damage your countertop.

However, despite taking all precautions, if there is a stain on your marble countertop, make a poultice with some baking soda that is dissolved in water, hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. Apply the poultice to the stain and cover it using a plastic sheet and let it remain for around 24 hours. Let the poultice dry completely, then remove it and wash the area with clean water.

How to Polish Marble Countertops

Here are some ways of how to polish marble countertops.

Let us look at how to polish marble countertops in greater detail. First, clean the marble surface properly and remove all the grease and dirt from the countertops, remove any stains, rinse with clean water and dry completely before you start polishing.

Method 1

Completely dry the marble countertop using a microfiber or chamois cloth and rub the entire marble surface with the cloth by moving it in small circles and buff to a shine. If you want more shine, then use a marble polish or a commercial stone polish.

If you plan to use a spray stone polish, then wipe the marble countertop using a soft cloth and if you will be using marble polishing paste, then follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the drying and buffing.

Method 2

You can use hydrogen, acetone or ammonia mixed with some water to polish your countertops. However, always remember that hydrogen peroxide should be used for dark-colored marble and acetone only for light colored marble. Take care not to interchange the two.

Cleaning Cloths

Method 3

Mix 3 tablespoons of baking soda with a liter of water and apply this solution on the marble surface. Let it air dry for many hours. When it is completely dry, wash with warm water. Then sprinkle some crushed chalk powder onto the marble countertop and rinse again with clean water and dry using a chamois or microfibre cloth.

Method 4

You can use a polishing and sealing kit available at your local home improvement store. The kit contains a polishing agent, all the materials and tools required for polishing and the instructions on how to polish marble countertops.

You will require fine-grained sandpaper to remove very light scratches or a grinding machine that is appropriate for home use. The surface scratches and stains can be wet sanded away and if you feel that the results are acceptable, then you can rinse the marble countertop and dry it. Finally, buff with a suitable product.

Polishing Your Marble Countertop Using a Grinder/ Polisher

  1. 1
    Attach a rigid backer and a 3-inch Velcro-backed felt wheel to the low-speed grinder or polisher.
  2. 2
    Pour some polishing product on the marble surface and use the felt wheel, operating it at a very slow speed.
  3. 3
    Polish the marble using circular motions and don’t forget the edges and corners.
  4. 4
    Make sure to remove the product completely using a soft, damp cloth and ensure that nothing remains on the marble.

Finish Using a Marble Sealer

Polish your marble countertops using whichever method you think suitable. However, the best way to preserve the marble surface to prevent any future damage is to seal the marble countertops. Sealing the marble surface helps to prevent any moisture and also protects it from getting stained or from the growth of mold and mildew.

Meal Preparation

However, when choosing a marble sealer for your kitchen countertops, ensure that it is appropriate for the marble used in your home and it is safe and non-toxic. Apply the stone sealer using a soft brush or cloth. Let it dry fully. You can use your countertops when the sealer has dried completely.

If the damage is very severe or you aren’t really certain what method of polishing to follow and you do not want your beautiful marble to be damaged, then it is better to call the professionals.

A DIY job means spending money to buy materials and tools, spending time and effort in the entire process and the outcome may be highly uncertain. Professional marble restorers have the required knowledge, understanding and equipment to handle your marble countertops properly and can restore them to their brand-new looks.

Marble Countertops: Some Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s

  • Marble is very sensitive. In fact, it is more sensitive when compared to granite. So, you should be careful with acidic foods and beverages such as fruit juices, coffee, wine, tomato sauce, or soda. The acidic food can etch the marble’s surface, stain it and dull it. Cleaning products may also cause etching and staining of marble countertops. So, if anything spills on the countertop, make sure to clean it up immediately.
  • Always use a sponge or soft cloth when cleaning your marble countertop. Just use some mild pH-neutral soap or a special formula marble cleaning solution along with hot water. Also, repeatedly cleaning with soap can cause a film to form over the surface of the marble and cause your countertops to look dull.
  • Use coasters or pads under bottles, cans and glasses. And, use trivets of insulation pads under hot pans and pots and avoid placing them directly on the marble countertop.
Marble Pattern

Don’ts

  • Don’t use local cleaning products not formulated especially for marble. Local cleaning products may contain chemicals, alkalis or acids that can damage and erode the sealer causing the marble to etch and stain.
  • Avoid placing cosmetics and toiletries such as perfumes, toothpaste, hair products, creams, colognes, lotions, etc. directly on the marble countertops as these products can cause the marble to etch. Always place these items on a tray before placing them on your marble countertop.
  • Avoid using vinegar, citrus, ammonia or products containing these to clean your marble countertops.
  • Don’t use grout cleaners on marble countertops. Even if the grout cleaner is a soft powder or cream, they still contain abrasives that can scratch the marble’s surface and dull it.
  • Never sit or stand on your marble countertop because they are not flexible and do not have a plywood backing. Putting a lot of weight on a single place may cause the marble countertop to crack.
Family Dinner

Marble has been used since times immemorial and for centuries it has been used in palaces, cathedrals, libraries and homes. And, it is among the most commonly chosen materials for countertops in kitchens and bathrooms even in modern homes today because of the unique ambiance it offers any room, turning it from ordinary to opulent.

With adequate care and maintenance, you’ll be able to maintain the beauty of durability of the marble countertops in your home. However, before you try and polish your marble countertops, you must take care of a few things so that you do not diminish the natural beauty of the marble and its beauty and uniqueness lasts for a lifetime.