How To Clean Marble Countertops Carefully and Thoroughly Without Harsh Chemicals

Photo: Stocksy / Sophia Hsin
While many renters and hopeful home owners pay special attention to the surfaces in an apartment, townhouse, or house—namely, hardwood floors and marble countertops—when making a big financial decision, somehow, someway, once they’re in, they forget that upkeeping certain surfaces requires a little extra care and attention. You might be shocked to learn just how many people don't know how to clean marble countertops.

While a simple Google search will reveal endless answers for how to clean marble countertops, the right way to do it is right here, courtesy of cleaning expert Sarah Paiji Yoo, co-founder and CEO of Blueland, an eco-friendly cleaning product brand.

Experts In This Article

Why Do Marble Countertops Require Special Care?

According to Yoo, harsh chemicals in traditional cleaners and soap can damage natural stone countertops like marble. With that in mind, she says that, when looking for products to stock your cleaning cabinet with, it’s essential to source those that are formulated without abrasive ingredients, like vinegar, bleach, and/or ammonia—all of which she points out can wreak havoc on beautiful marble countertops. (While they don’t feel innately abrasive, within her book, Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home: No-Nonsense Advice that Will Inspire You to CLEAN Like the DICKENS, Thelma Meyer of Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day says that the chemicals within them can cause deep scratches in marble—yikes!)

Even if your marble countertops are one of the most touched surfaces in your home, Yoo assures us that a gentle mild dish soap, like Blueland’s Dish Soap, will work wonders to clean it up. That said, if your marble or stone countertops are sealed, she says that using a gentle multi-surface cleaner is also fair game.

How To Clean Marble Countertops

Now that you know which products work best for cleaning marble countertops, it’s time for step-by-step instructions to lead you on your way. Depending on whether you have sealed or unsealed countertops, you’ll follow a separate set of instructions.

How To Clean Sealed Marble Countertops

Sealed marble countertops are finished off with a protective sealant that prevents the stone from staining should it come in contact with liquids and other spills. Of the two types of marble countertops, those that are sealed are the easiest to clean. Simply work through the following steps.

  1. Spray multi-surface cleaner on the counter. In order to maintain the integrity of your marble, Yoo suggests opting for a cleaner multi-surface cleaner, as opposed to those loaded with harsh chemicals.
  1. Buff the counter. Using a microfiber cloth, gently buff the multi-surface cleaner in small circles across the entirety of your countertops to leave them shimmering in all their spotless glory.

How To Clean Unsealed Marble Countertops

Unsealed countertops require even gentler products since whatever you put on them has the potential to stain them. By opting for a clean, clear soap free of harsh chemicals, you’ll be able to keep your marble countertops looking like they were just installed. Just follow the steps below.

  1. Dampen a cloth. Rather than squirting soap directly on the counter, Yoo recommends wetting a Cloud Cloth and pouring a small amount of dish soap onto it.

  1. Create a lather. “Squeeze and rub your Cloud Cloth together until you get a sudsy foam,” she instructs.
  1. Wipe down your counters. Using the sudsy cloth, wipe down your marble counters (while this method is particularly gentle for unsealed marble, it works well with sealed counters, as well).
  1. Follow up with a damp cloth. After finishing with the sudsy cloth, use a damp cloth sans soap to wipe away any residue. Allow it to dry or pat it down with another microfiber cloth.
  1. Enjoy your clean marble countertops. “Voila! A perfectly clean and safe countertop for your family and kids,” Yoo says.

How To Treat a Stain on Marble

If by chance you manage to stain your marble countertops, don’t freak out. According to Mrs. Meyer, you can apply a marble poultice, a mixture that’s formulated to absorb sunk-in stains. You can buy it at your local hardware store, though. “However, in general, cleaning sealed marble with multi-surface cleaner and a soft cloth will avoid staining,” she adds.

The Takeaway

Cleaning marble countertops really doesn’t take that much effort. You just have to use the right products when getting the job done. If shopping for individual products feels like a time suck in your busy life, know that all-in-one marble cleaning kits exist, too.

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