How to Polish Marble Countertops

  • June 25, 2020
  • / By Dale Keese
Black Marble Countertops

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

Black Marble Countertops

Natural marble is very porous and is susceptible to damage. This is why it needs plenty of extra maintenance and care. Using acidic or abrasive materials to clean marble countertops can cause them to get scratched or stained. The accumulation of wear and tear over time can make your polished marble countertops look dull. Taking good care with adequate cleaning and polishing can make them look shiny and new for several years to come.

In this article, we discuss some tips on polishing and cleaning marble counters to restore their wonderful shine.

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

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

Using hard brushes or abrasive cleaning solutions can cause etching. Even the tiniest of scratches can dull polished 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 damage.

Clean Spills Immediately

If you spill something, ensure that you clean it immediately. Otherwise, the liquid can penetrate 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 countertop to get stained. Avoid using coarse cloth or wipes to clean the countertop because this can scratch the surface of the marble.

Red Wine

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

If there is a stain on your marble countertop despite taking all precautions, make a poultice with baking soda 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.

Polishing your Marble Countertops

Let's look at how to polish marble countertops in greater detail. First, clean the 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 surface using a microfiber or chamois cloth and rub the entire marble area 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, wipe clean the area using a soft cloth and if you will be using marble polishing paste, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the drying and buffing.

Method 2

You can use hydrogen peroxide mixed with some water to polish your countertops. However, always remember that hydrogen peroxide should be used for dark-colored marble only.

Cleaning Cloths

Method 3

Mix three tablespoons of baking soda with a liter of water and apply this solution on the marble surface. Let it air dry. When it is completely dry, wash with warm water. Then, sprinkle some crushed chalk powder onto the countertop. Rinse again with clean water and dry  using a chamois or microfiber 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 achieve polished look.

You will need 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 clean 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 three-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. Do not 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 your stone and prevent any future damage is to seal the marble. Sealing helps to prevent any moisture and also protects it from getting stained or from the growth of mold and mildew. This means you do not have to spend so much time and effort when it comes to cleaning your counters.

Meal Preparation

When choosing a marble countertop sealer for your kitchen, ensure that it is appropriate for the stone used in your home and that it's 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 are not 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, experience, and equipment to handle your marble countertops properly and can restore them to their brand-new looks.

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, stain, and dull the marble’s surface. Cleaning products may also cause etching and staining. So, if anything spills on the countertop, make sure to clean it up immediately.
  • Always use a sponge or soft cloth when cleaning. Just use some mild pH-neutral soap or a special formula marble cleaning solution along with hot water. Keep in mind that constant cleaning with soap can cause a film to form over the surface, causing your countertops to look dull.
  • Use coasters or pads under bottles, cans, and glasses. You can also use trivets or insulation pads so that hot pots and pans do not have direct contact with the marble countertop.
Marble Pattern

Don’ts

  • Do not use cleaning products that are not formulated especially for marble. General cleaning products may contain chemicals, alkalis, or acids that can damage and erode the sealer. This will cause the marble to be prone to etch and stain.
  • Avoid placing cosmetics and toiletries such as perfumes, toothpaste, hair products, creams, colognes, and lotions directly on marble countertops. These products can cause the surface to etch. Always place these items on a tray before placing them on your polished countertop.
  • Avoid using vinegar, citrus, ammonia, or products containing these items to clean your marble countertops.
  • Do not use grout cleaners. 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 for centuries, it has been used in palaces, cathedrals, libraries, and homes. It is among the most popular 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.

Before you try and polish your marble surfaces, make sure that they are totally clean so that your polishing efforts will be effective. With adequate care and maintenance, you’ll be able to maintain the beauty of durability of the marble countertops in your home.