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Cleaning

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What is the Best Way to Clean Marble Tiles?

By Deborah Ng
Updated: May 16, 2024

As more people use marble tiles in their kitchens, bathrooms and entryways, the demand for products to clean this material is growing. With proper maintenance and upkeep, it’s not difficult to clean marble tiles at all. Floors should be swept regularly with a soft broom, and they can be wiped off periodically with a damp cloth. Marble tile should be sealed and polished a few times a year.

To keep marble sparkling, homeowners should be sure to keep it free from routine dust and dirt. They should sweep the floor often with a soft bristled broom or vacuum it to pick up any loose dirt. This needs to be done at least two or three times a week, if not every day.

Homeowners should be aware that loose dirt can easily be ground in as people walk across the floor. If visitors have been walking around in dirt or mud, an individual might ask them to remove their shoes before walking on the marble tiles. Sand, dirt and other debris left on the bottom of the shoe is abrasive, and it will first scratch the marble and then grind the dirt into the scratches.

Many times, all that’s needed to clean marble tiles is a warm, damp mop or cloth, especially if there are spill prone kids — and adults — in the house. Fortunately, as marble has become a popular flooring option, more commercial products formulated to keep it clean have become available. Homeowners may want to have some on hand in case of accidental spillage or for regular weekly or monthly cleanings. People should be sure to read the label and follow the instructions exactly.

While vinegar is touted as a great household cleaner, it’s not recommended to clean marble tiles. The acid in vinegar can damage the surface. Soaps, even mild detergents, aren’t recommended either. If the homeowner isn't using a special marble cleaner, he or she should use warm water only.

It’s not always best to let the tiles air dry. Instead, people can get a nice fluffy towel and use it to dry the floor thoroughly. Marble tiles tend to spot and stain if they remain wet.

Every few months, it’s a good idea to seal and polish the tiles. The polish will help the floor to shine, while the sealant will protect the material from everyday dirt and grime and make it easier to clean on a regular basis. Local home improvement stores are likely to have plenty of options for marble tile cleaners, sealants and polishing agents. People who aren't sure which product is best should contact the tile manufacturer or the person who installed the flooring. Either one is sure to have some good recommendations.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon329813 — On Apr 11, 2013

You cannot do it yourself.

By anon325611 — On Mar 17, 2013

As a professional restorer, I don't think the average person is capable of refinishing their floor for a few reasons.

The cost: Equipment is far too expensive to make it worth the average person's time. We're talking chemicals, diamonds, machinery and the increased expense of possibly causing more damage. Equipment, even if you rented a floor machine, would come out to about $4000-$5000.

Experience: Even though the steps for restoring marble looks straight forward, it's not as simple as you think. Every stone is composed of different minerals, compacted under different pressure, formed over different time frames. What this means is, what works for one travertine from Turkey may not work exactly the same for a travertine from Italy or China. Every stone has a personality, and knowing how to adapt the restoration process to your particular stone will need expertise from years of knowing stone and reading its various qualities.

Security: Chemicals are dangerous. My employees are all required to read through the safety sheets of every product we use, as well as obtaining chemical safety certification (whmis). So knowing how much poisonous sealer to use without stinking up your home for three days because you overdid it should be reason enough to call a pro.

Over-grinding or over-polishing with certain products can cause the pores of the stone to become too closed off. Stone needs to 'breathe.' If it doesn't, this will lead the inside of the stone to break down (this is called stone rot). The floor may look gorgeous, but deep down, humidity and moisture being trapped inside are slowly weakening the substrate of this natural product.

The extras of hiring a true stone expert. Most of us in the stone restoration business have worked as fabricators, installers, as well as becoming expert restorers. A hired professional will be able to diagnose many problems your average homeowner may not be aware of. For example, they can diagnose loose tiles and rebond them before they fully crack and need replacing, finding where the water is leaking through your marble shower upstairs and using the correct product to refortify the crack and stop that unsightly spot on your kitchen ceiling.

So please, hire a professional. At the very least, call for advice. Most of us are willing to pass our expertise your way for free.

By anon123584 — On Nov 02, 2010

Don't do it. get a professional. i just ruined $4,000 worth of marble. It's going to cost me an arm and a leg to polish and hone and have it sealed by a pro!

By anon66816 — On Feb 21, 2010

Only one tile in my marble bathroom floor is damagaed by urine spots. don't ask! is there nothing I can do?

By finncat — On Apr 10, 2009

I need to clean 6000 sq feet of either marble tile or oak. I need the best way to wash and make them shine. My cat pukes on the marble floor; and the acid eats the shine.

Can small spaces be buffed with a commercial product?

By willatin — On Nov 28, 2007

the process for restoring a dull, scratched and uneven marble floor is to start by grinding with metal diamond abrasives, followed by resing diamonds to hone and finally polish with resin diamonds or powder.

Equipment needed consist of a 3hp grinding and polishing machine $2,000-12,000 and the diamonds pads $900-2,000.

It would take a professional stone restoration technician about 2-3 days for a regular size kitchen and without experience for a DYSer way too many days and the result may not be one expected.

Best to contact an experience stone restoration company for this task.

Good Luck,

By piggy5012 — On Nov 28, 2007

I have marble floor tile that is dull,scratched and uneven. I was told I was told to restore it to its original shine I will need to grind it with a diamond pad then buff it out. Is this something I can do myself? If so is it very difficult?

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