How to keep marble floors clean
Marble floors make a stunning feature in any room. They bring a shiny, modern feel to the home and they are sure to pull in a compliment or two!
As beautiful as marble tiles are, they can be tricky to clean if you are unsure of the right process and we know it can be frustrating scrubbing away at one stain without result. We don’t want to cause any damage to those lovely (and quite pricey!) marble tiles, so we thought we’d clue you in below!
Why does marble stain so easily?
Marble is a porous stone; this means that it is covered in microscopic holes that allow air and liquids to pass through. Marble will absorb liquids if they are left to stand on the surface and this is why marble is so susceptible to stains.
Being composed of calcium carbonate, marble will react in contact with acidic products. This can cause irreparable damage to your marble tiles as well as staining them.
Marble can also contain very small deposits of iron below the surface, so be mindful of any water spills as they can cause more damage to your floors than you may realise. When iron is met with water it produces rust, this can leave unsightly brown/yellow stains on the surface of the marble.
Cleaning your marble floor
How to clean a spill/remove a stain:
- The most important thing to remember when a spill has occurred on your marble tile is to act quickly. Blot the spill immediately to remove any moisture; use blotting motions opposed to wiping as we want to stop the spill from spreading. The less liquid is able to penetrate the tile, the easier it will be to clean and remove stains.
- If the spill has spread or the liquid has been absorbed by the marble to form a stain, cover the area in corn starch/cornflour. Leave it to soak up as much moisture as possible before proceeding.
- Store-bought liquid cleaners are appropriate only if they are designed for use on marble. If you don’t have any available to you, a mixture of hot water and a few drops of dish soap should tackle most superficial spills and stains. Avoid using a solution or cleaner with acidic properties. Keep the lemon juice and vinegar far away from those tiles!
For tougher stains:
- Some stains are tougher to remove, such as organic food stains that have set into the stone. It will be more effective to use Hydrogen Peroxide as it breaks down the organic components. For oil-based stains, Acetone works best at breaking down the compounds and removing the stains. Always follow the instructions for use and test the solution in an inconspicuous area before you apply it to the target area.
- Rub the target area gently with a soft cloth when you have identified and applied the correct solution. Do not use anything abrasive to try remove the stain, such as sponge or wire scrubbers; this will cause etching. If the stain does not lift, try repeating the process.
- Once finished, rinse the area with clean water and dry thoroughly, ideally using a microfibre cloth or towel.
TIP: Use Hydrogen Peroxide for light-coloured marble only. It is a bleaching agent and can cause discolouration on dark marble tiles. Try Acetone for dark marble tiles instead.
- You should always prep your marble floor for cleaning by sweeping it with a soft-headed brush or a microfibre dust mop to pick up any dust or debris on the surface. Attempting to clean your marble floor before this step will result in dirt being pushed around instead of picked up; this can causes scratches and etching in the tile.
- Use a solution of hot water and a Ph neutral cleaner as this will be gentle on the marble floor. You can also use a mixture of hot water and dish soap (only a few drops are needed as we want to avoid leaving any streaks) or hydrogen peroxide (great for breaking down organic stains and use on light marble).
- Make sure the mop head has been thoroughly wrung out before you begin to mop the tiles. You should not use a saturated mop head as marble is porous and will absorb the water.
- Mop the floor with gentle, directed movements in order to avoid damaging the tiles.
- Rinse the area thoroughly after cleaning; again you must be careful not to saturate the marble with water. Fill a mop bucket with clean, warm water and mop over the previously cleaned areas. Rinse and drain the mop head frequently to ensure the tiles are flushed effectively.
- Finally, you should dry and buff the marble floor with a dry mop or a clean microfibre towel to get rid of any excess moisture/residue and have your tiles looking fresh and gleaming!
These tips should help with the day-to-day cleaning and maintenance of your marble floors but we recommend having your flooring professionally cleaned at least once a year to keep the tiles looking their very best. You can read up on the benefits of professional hard floor cleaning HERE on our blog!
Tips to remember:
- As is true for any carpet or flooring, using doormats at the entrances of your home will greatly reduce the amount of dust and dirt being tracked in on the bottom of your shoes.
- The use of coasters and placemats in your kitchen/dining room to minimise the risk of spills.
- Use a sweeping brush with a soft head opposed to thick, unforgiving bristles that will scratch your tiles.
- We recommend microfibre mops/cloths as they are most effective at collecting dirt/dust and they are gentle on your floor, unlike abrasive scrubbers.
- Avoid the use of a vacuum where possible. Sweeping and dry-mopping are efficient enough on marble floor tiles, whereas the wheels or brush of a vacuum cleaner can cause scratches.
- Avoid any cleaners, store-bought or DIY, that contain acidic components. Marble is porous and alkaline therefore acids will cause a lot of damage.
Find more information about carpet care and stone flooring here on our blog, and book with XL Cleaners if your carpets/floors need a professional deep clean.