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How to Clean Marble Floors
Marble flooring is a beautiful and luxurious flooring option. It has an elegant and stately appearance that adds instant drama and class to any design. Unfortunately, it is not the easiest flooring to take care of. Marble can become stained, scratched and cracked if not properly maintained. Anyone in charge of the care of marble flooring should have a keen understanding of what can and cannot be done to it.
Daily cleaning and maintenance is essential to the care of marble floors, however, you have to be very careful about what types of cleaning products you use on marble. Really, only warm water should be used to mop a marble floor. Any kind of acid no matter how weak will damage marble, so any cleaning product that has vinegar in it should be carefully avoided. Marble is very porous, so common everyday products can and will stain marble. For example, if you spill red wine on white marble and don’t clean it up fast enough, don’t be surprised if the stain is hard to remove.
While warm water is by far the best choice when mopping a marble floor, if water is not enough to get the desired level of cleanliness, a tiny amount of ammonia can be added to the water to make a very diluted solution. Likewise, neutral pH detergents can be used very sparingly as part of a cleaning solution. Consumer cleaning products should be avoided if you want to take care of your marble floors.
Cleaning routinely is also important to minimize the amount of dirt that comes in contact with the marble. Dirt, girt and sand can scratch the surface of the stone. It’s important to keep large doormats at all entrances to prevent as much dirt as possible from getting on the floor. In the winter time, the salt used to melt snow and ice is a big problem for marble. Salt has the capability to dissolve marble and can horribly pit the stone if left to remain in contact with it.
Occasionally, you may need to get a higher level of cleaning for your marble floors. At such times, you need to consult a professional contractor. When a professional cleans your marble, it will usually involve gently removing the marble surface with steel wool or an abrasive cleanser. This can be done as much as once monthly, but you will still need to do regular daily cleaning.
If you need to restore some marble floors that have sustained some serious abuse, wet sanding and chemical stripping is the way to go. This is a very messy process, but the result is beautiful polished floors. When stripping, workers need to protect themselves from the chemicals with protective gloves, clothing and other gear. Other surfaces nearby need to be covered and protected from the chemicals as well. This restoration can be expensive and brutal on the marble itself, so you shouldn’t plan to use this frequently but only in extreme situations.
Sealers are one way to protect marble floors, but there is some controversy over whether or not they are good or bad for marble. On the positive side, sealers provide a barrier against dirt and other things that can scratch and stain marble. They also make the floors less slippery. On the other hand, however, after time sealers can become discolored, and it can be very costly and damaging to have them removed by chemical stripping. If you have white marble, you should think twice about using sealers as they can darken the overall color of the stone.
There are some things that will almost always stain marble. Metals like iron and copper, grease and oil, and ink for example will leave stains. The best way to get rid of these and other stains on marble is to hire a professional marble cleaning contractor. They usually have special products that will safely and gently get rid of the stain with out seriously damaging the marble. If you try to clean the stain out yourself, always choose the least abrasive method that will work and avoid all harsh chemicals and tools. Treat your marble like it’s the luxurious material that it is, and you will get many years of enjoyment out of it.