Everybody admires a marble floor. Whether it’s in the entry area to a home, a living space or the foyer of a boutique hotel, a well-presented marble floor oozes class. Keeping a marble floor clean though, takes some work and a great deal of care. To polish marble floors properly takes some skill.
Marble – Elegant But Delicate
Like many things of beauty, marble isn’t particularly robust. The very nature of a marble floor means there are a number of challenges in looking after it. Dirt or grit on shoes is brought onto marble flooring all the time. A simple measure to at least part-combat the effect of dirt or grit is to place non-slip mats or rugs just inside entry points.
Marble is one of the most porous of stones – and this is where cleaning and polishing a marble floor can get tricky. It’s susceptible to staining – a small splash of lemon or cranberry juice can potentially leave a permanent mark. Avoid using anything acidic when cleaning marble. Marble restoration and care is quite an art.
Marble Floor Care Don’ts
Without wanting to be too alarmist, it’s worth starting off detailing some of the things NOT to do when you’re planning to clean or polish marble floors.
Avoid anything acidic, anything containing vinegar, scouring powders and creams, tile and grout cleaners. Many household cleaning creams and solutions contain an acidic component. Check what they contain!
It may be obvious, but also avoid using a vacuum cleaner. They can leave small scratches. Don’t use scrubbing brushes or hard brushes. If you’re not sure whether or not to use a particular product test it out in a usually unseen area such as behind curtains or underneath a piece of furniture that can be temporarily moved.
It’s quite easy to mark or damage a marble floor. If you’re not confident or experienced in tackling the challenge, it’s worth considering a professional cleaning or restoration service.
Marble Floor Care – What To Do
Start off preparing the surface. Get rid of all bits of dirt, grit, crumbs, dust etc using a soft brush or cloths. Then, using a mop and just warm water (don’t add anything) clean the surface down. Then use a mild cleaning agent with water.
Use alkali-based solutions like hydrogen peroxide or ammonia. This will prevent the marble from etching. Etches are lighter than stains. Etching happens when something hasn’t soaked into the marble (like a stain) but actually removed the surface. Etches can be repaired professionally.
If using ammonia add about half a cup to about four litres or a gallon of warm water. Use a mop to apply. Ammonia has a strong smell so should only be used where you can allow plenty of air in. After cleaning the marble floor, flush it over with clean water to get rid of any residual chemicals. Then dry it thoroughly.
If you want to go a stage further to protect your marble floor, there are various options depending on the type of marble. If your floor isn’t cultured marble (which is manufactured with a sealed surface) applying a protective sealant every couple of years will help prevent staining.
One popular method used to polish marble floors involves combining baking soda (45g) with water (900ml). Mix it very well! Using a soft, clean cloth apply it to the surface of the floor. Let it dry for around five to six hours. Then use a microfibre cloth and warm water to wipe down the surface. Once that’s dry, using a circular motion use a chamois or clean microfibre cloth to dry buff the marble.
Classy, But A Commitment
Marble floors really do look the part. But like many things we admire, care and upkeep are important. Fortunately, there are companies who focus on professional care and marble restoration if it’s a challenge or chore too far.