How to Clean and Polish Marble Floor Tiles

Cathy Habas

Marble floors add elegance and luxury to any home, but without regular upkeep, they can become dull and scratched. Choosing the right marble floor cleaner and maintaining a specific cleaning and polishing routine are important steps to take. Otherwise, stains can set in quickly.

How to Clean and Polish Marble Floor Tiles

Nothing quite beats the beauty of a smooth, shiny and clean marble floor. But keeping these gorgeous floors looking that way requires the use of a marble floor cleaner that isn't too harsh. Using improper cleaning materials on marble can strip away its protective coating and make it look dull. Marble floors also need regular upkeep because stains can set in quickly due to the stone's porous nature.

Preventing Stains From Setting In

Keeping marble floors clean begins with stain prevention. Seal your marble floors every few months to slow down the staining process. This protective coating gives you a little more time to mop up spills, but it doesn't create a completely impermeable layer. That means you'll still want to quickly reach for warm soapy water whenever an accident occurs. Then, to prevent damage from excess water, use a soft and absorbent towel to dry the area completely.

Effectively Removing Dirt

How hard could it be to remove dirt from a floor, right? But reaching for a broom or vacuum when caring for a marble floor is the wrong move. Although marble looks imposing and strong, it is relatively soft. This means that it scratches easily. The action of a vacuum cleaner may be too much for the marble, and pushing dirt around with a broom has the potential to create scratches too.

The best mop for marble floors is a dust mop. These mops have fibers that trap the dirt and lift it away from the floor. Daily use of a dust mop is recommended. It's also imperative for a marble floor to be dirt-free before using any sort of wet mop.

Choosing the Right Marble Floor Cleaner

The list of inappropriate marble floor cleaners is surprisingly long. Avoid even "natural" cleaners like vinegar or lemon juice. Anything acidic, like lemon juice, will cause caustic damage to sensitive marble and may even stain it. Abrasive cleaners will also scratch marble in a heartbeat.

Bleach and "all-purpose" cleaning solutions are also way too harsh and will cause discoloration and scratches as they eat away at the marble and its protective seal. They can also leave behind a sticky buildup that attracts more dirt and increases the likelihood of scratches and a dull luster.

The best choice is a gentle soap (think gentle enough for a baby's bath) mixed with warm water and applied with a nonabrasive cloth. If you want a name-brand cleaner, opt for professional-grade solutions designed solely for marble.

How to Polish Marble Tiles

Marble polishing is the final step for keeping these beautiful floors looking as bright and new as the day they were installed. Not only will polishing increase the marble's shine, but it will also correct minor scratches and offer additional protection.

Due to the size of a typical marble floor, it's often most efficient to rent a professional-grade floor polisher that will allow you to stand upright while you guide the machine over the surface. These machines can be used with a variety of polishing pads. Polishing can take place with or without water on the floor; this choice depends on the pad you use.

If the area you need to polish is small, like an entryway, you can use a handheld electric polisher or use your own elbow grease. The key is in the product selection. Choose powders or pads specifically designed for marble so as to not cause too much abrasion.

Remember to finish up by applying a sealant. This will provide protection for your marble floors, but only as long as you keep up with regular cleaning and polishing.