How to Clean Old, Unfinished Marble Countertops

If you are renovating or have moved into an older house, you may be wondering how to clean old, unfinished marble countertops.

How Bad Is It?
First, assess the damage. Look at the surface of the countertop at a low angle. Is the surface dull in spots or is it uniformly clouded? Are there scratches on the surface and if so, how bad are they? Are there any chips in the surface or edges of the countertop?

The Causes of Marble Countertop Damage
Although, marble is a natural stone, it is still softer than granite or quartz. Grit under an appliance or cleaning tool can lead to scratches. Abrasive cleaning liquids, knives and utensils can also damage marble countertops.

Marble is very sensitive to acidic substances. Wine, juices and vinegar can etch the surface, actually eating away at the top surface of the marble. Etched marble will leave a dull spot where the stain occurred.

Harsh cleaners can strip the sealing off a marble countertop. Continued use of inappropriate cleaners will cloud the surface of the countertop.

What You Can Do
Minor scratches can be removed with a very fine-grained sandpaper (300 grit or larger). After sanding, rinse the marble countertop with warm water. When the marble is dry, polish the repaired area with a commercial marble polish.

Etched areas can also be sanded using very fine-grained sandpaper. Rinse the repaired area with warm water and dry. Polish the sanded area with marble polish.

Clouded marble countertops can be polished using a commercial marble polish. A powered, orbital buffer will make large-scale polishing simpler.

Know Your Limits
Deep scratches, etching or chips will require professional repair. If you're not comfortable with the repairs described, or the scale of the repair is out of your league, don't hesitate to contract a professional.

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