Marble looks like a sturdy, impermeable surface. It’s hard, dense and made out of stone after all. But in reality, marble is relatively fragile for rock. It can be scratched, chipped, gouged and stained if not cared for properly. Luckily, even care worn marble is easy to return to its former glory.
If you’re a homeowner who’s fallen in love with marble, it is important to know how to polish it. The task isn’t that difficult. All you need is a few common household supplies and a little elbow grease. And once you master the skill, you’ll know all you need to keep your marble smooth, shiny and blemish free. Here’s how you do it.
Gather the Materials you Need
Marble polishing will take much less time out of your day if you gather all of the materials you need ahead of time. Here’s what to grab:
- A bucket. A gallon or less will do.
- 5 chamois cloths. In a pinch, old cotton t-shirts work fine.
- Baking soda. Set 3 tablespoons aside in a bowl.
- A wooden spoon.
- An old toothbrush.
- A stick of chalk. Grind it with a mortar and pestle. Place it in another bowl and set it aside.
Prepare the Polish
Grab your bucket and fill it with roughly one quart of warm water. That’s around four cups. Next, add the baking soda. Stir the solution vigorously until you no longer see any baking soda precipitate on the bottom of the bucket. Move on to the cleaning step as soon as possible, while the baking soda is still freshly mixed.
Clean off the Marble
This is not actually a polishing step, but be careful not to skip it. If you try to clean dirty marble, you’ll actually grind dirt particles on the surface into the stone. Instead of polished marble, you might end up with a surface that has some shiny spots along with deeper scratches that may need professional removal.
Dip a clean chamois into the baking soda solution. Wring it out until it is damp but not dripping. Go over the surface in smooth, parallel strokes. Do not make circular scrubbing motions.
If you spot a stubborn stain, rub it vigorously using short back-and-forth motions. If the stain persists, wet it with a bit of the solution. Then come back in five minutes and scrub again. If it’s still there, repeat the process again. This time use an old toothbrush to scrub.
Once the marble is clean, leave it to air dry for three hours. There’s no need to rinse until the marble is dry. After three hours have passed, empty the baking soda solution from the bucket. Rinse it, and then add fresh, clean water.
Dip a fresh, clean chamois into the bucket water and wipe the marble table clean. Use the same parallel strokes you used before. Wipe a second time to make sure all of the backing soda is gone. Finally, buff the table dry with yet another clean, dry chamois.
Polish the Marble
Rinse the chamois you just used to rinse the table clean under running water. Wring it until it stops dripping, then ball it up and dip it into the bowl of chalk. Use the chalk covered end of the wet cloth to wipe the table using smooth, parallel strokes. Re-apply chalk to the chamois as necessary to coat the entire marble surface with the chalk.
Leave the chalk coating to dry for three hours. In the meantime, thoroughly rinse the chamois and fill the bucket with a fresh round of clean water. After the chalk has dried, wipe the chalk up. Rinse the chamois in the bucket as necessary. Once the marble is clean, buff it dry with a fresh, clean, dry chamois.
Chalk and baking soda make a great polishing and cleaning team. But if you prefer to use marble cleaners or polishes, they’re alright too. But before you buy, read the label carefully. Make sure that the product is listed for use on marble. Other stone cleaners may contain acidic or basic compounds that can etch the marble. Also check that the product is safe for the type of marble in your home. Some marble polishes are only suitable for marble of certain hues.