For beautiful marble floors, proper maintenance is good, but TLC is better
It’s hard to argue that marble floors have an air of opulence to them. With gorgeous color options to choose from and intricate veining, this stone is in a class by itself. Marble floors are high gloss and high style but make no mistake; they’re also high maintenance.
Marble floors are delicate and porous, so it takes a little bit of know-how (and some extra TLC) to keep them clean and looking their best. If you’re unfamiliar with proper stone maintenance and not sure how to clean marble floors the right way, no worries: Here’s what you need to know.
Difficulty: 1/5 - Simple project; big impact.
Time to complete: 30–60 minutes.
Cost: $10–$20; You might need a thing or two.
What You'll Need
Damp-mop (microfiber is best)
Mild soap with a neutral pH (pH 7)
Preparing to Clean Your Marble Floors
Dust and dirt are a fact of life in every home. And while those with wood or laminate floors can get away with turning a blind eye if they need to, those with marble floors aren't so lucky.
If left unchecked, dust and dirt can scratch your marble floors and dull the finish. Even worse, those tiny scratches create a doorway for stains to make their way through and settle in. For that reason, marble floors should be dry dusted twice a week at a minimum and deep cleaned at least once a month. You should also address any spills, stains, or any other type of accident on your marble floor immediately.
Regularly sweeping your marble floors is an important part of their upkeep, and using the right tools when doing so is equally important. To tackle dust and dirt on your marble floors, it's best to use a dust mop or a dry mop. While these mops will clean your floors without marring the surface or causing any other type of damage, they also make your job a bit easier, as the microfiber attracts and collects dirt instead of just pushing it around.
4 Steps to Wash Marble Floors
Marble floors are natural, porous, and delicate, so your usual floor cleaning techniques won't work here. To clean marble floors the right way, you need to choose the right cleaners and tweak your approach.
"If you utilize a cleaning solution that’s abrasive and not pH neutral to clean marble floors, it may cause discoloration, spotting, or ‘hazing’ of the tile," said Asya Biddle, Angi Expert Review Board member and manager of The Dustbusters, a family-owned and operated janitorial company in Williamsport, PA.
1. Prepare Your Cleaning Solution
When washing your marble floors, your best bet is to start with hot water. Hot water can easily cut through dirt and grease on your marble floors. An even better option is to use hot distilled water. Distilled water keeps the likelihood of staining, discoloration, or damage to a minimum.
Once you've added your hot water to your mop bucket, you can add a mild soap with a neutral pH to boost its cleaning power. These types of cleaners typically have dilution instructions on them, so read the containers carefully and follow those instructions.
2. Mop the Floor
Once your cleaning solution is ready, you can get to work and mop your floor. While the cleaning solution for your marble floor may be different than other floors you cleaned, the procedure is still the same.
Start at the farthest end of the room and work your way towards a doorway. Don't forget to wash and wring the mop as you go so that you are actually cleaning the floor and not just spreading the dirt around.
3. Rinse the Floor
Once you've mopped the whole floor, you will need to dump the cleaning solution, fill the mop bucket with clean, cool water, and give the floor a follow-up rinse. A cool water rinse will pick up any remaining residue from the cleaning solution and keep your marble floors from looking dull.
While you're rinsing your marble floor, be sure to change the water as needed. If you find that it becomes murky, toss it and start with another bucketful of clean water.
4. Dry the Floor
Drying your marble floors is a crucial last step in the cleaning process. To do so, use a clean microfiber cloth to wipe away any residual water from the floor.
Tips for Maintaining Your Marble Floor
Regular cleaning is key to keeping your marble floors looking their best, but a few preemptive steps can keep surface damage to a minimum, so they look great for years to come.
Don’t Let Your Floor Air Dry
Letting a marble floor air-dry is one of the worst things you can do. When water and detergent are allowed to sit on your marble floor, rest assured that they will absorb into the stone, ultimately causing stains and discoloration. So, when washing your floors, the last step of your process should be using a microfiber cloth to wipe up any residual water or cleaning solution.
Stick to Mild Detergents or pH Neutral Floor Cleaners
When washing your marble floors, be sure that the detergent you use is a pH-neutral cleaning product that's gentle enough to use on marble.
It's also worth noting that there are plenty of DIY recipes for non-toxic cleaners, many of which include vinegar. And while vinegar may have its place with other types of flooring, vinegar on marble floors is a huge no-no. Vinegar is far too acidic (the pH is around two or three), and it will damage the surface of your marble floor.
In addition to steering clear of vinegar, you should also avoid citrus cleaners and ammonia when cleaning your marble floors.
Use a Marble Sealer
Like granite countertops, sealing your marble floors is probably the best way to protect and preserve them. Marble sealers are readily available at any local home supply store and online. If sealing a marble floor is beyond your skill level, you could hire a local marble restoration expert to do it for you.
Pepper the Floor With Carpets and Rugs
To keep your marble floors in tip-top shape, you may consider adding area rugs and carpets to your space, particularly in high-traffic areas. Rugs and carpets will not only keep dirt and dust to a minimum, but they’ll also prevent excessive wear on your marble.
Use Doormats and Institute a No Shoe Policy
Beyond placing rugs strategically around your floors, think about using doormats by entrances. Doormats are a visual reminder for family members and guests to wipe their feet before entering, and they can do a lot to minimize the amount of dirt that makes it to your floors. Even better, you might want to think about instituting a “no shoe” policy.
DIY Cleaning Your Marble Floors vs. Hiring a Pro
For those who relish a DIY, cleaning a marble floor is a brilliant way to spend a Saturday afternoon; for others, not so much.
If you fall into the latter category and the thought of rounding up the necessary supplies and getting to work doesn’t sound so appealing or within your skillset, you can always hire a local cleaning pro to do it for you. With experience as their guide, a good cleaning team will know how to spruce up marble floors. Moreover, they’ll likely have the right equipment at the ready and techniques perfected to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
What are the dull spots on my marble floor?
If you notice dull spots on your marble floor, that could result from etching. If you’ve used the wrong type of floor cleaner in the past or left a spill unattended for too long, your marble floor may have suffered some surface damage. While there are ways to protect your natural stone from etching, you may have to call in a professional for repairs.
Do I have to use a commercial cleaner on my marble floors?
Yes. While you can clean every room in your home with vinegar and baking soda, you should not use them on marble floors. Vinegar is too acidic, and baking soda is too alkaline; both of them can lead to etching on your marble. A pH-neutral cleaner is your best bet to clean marble floors.
Can I use a vacuum on my marble floor?
Dust mops are the best option for tackling dirt and dust on marble floors. Vacuums aren’t a good idea as the brushes and beater rolls can scratch and damage your marble floors. If you must use a vacuum, make sure your vacuum has a setting for hard floors, and take care not to apply too much pressure when rolling the vacuum across your marble floor.