What’s the best way to clean marble and other stones?

 The old rule of thumb is never to use anything you wouldn’t use on your hands. Never use powdered cleansers or abrasive pads to clean your stone. Even “soft scrub” type cleaners contain pumice, which is powdered volcanic stone, and might damage your stone countertops or floors. Never use any product which is acidic; this includes substances like ammonia or many common liquid cleaners such as Supreme Surface Cleaners which can be bought at Stonemart.

You should always use sealers and cleaning products designed specifically for natural stone. There are excellent stone-friendly (and user-friendly) stone care products available at Intertile.

What is etching?


Etching happens when acid in some form comes in contact with a polished marble or limestone surface. This causes a chemical reaction which removes the polish, or roughens the surface of honed marble or limestone. Green marbles, such as the “jades” from China are resistant to etching, and granite is impervious to any common household acids.

What is honed marble or limestone and where is can it be used?

Marble, travertine, or limestone that is honed has a matte or satin finish, rather than a high reflective polish. This is achieved at the factory by stopping just short of the last stage of polishing. Some fabricators have special equipment and can hone marble in their shops by removing the factory polish. One feature of honed marble is that it doesn’t show etching as readily, or wear patterns on floors. It is preferred by some because it has a less formal, softer appearance than polished stone.

Does green Marble require special treatment?

Some green stones, such as the “jades” from Taiwan, are not truly marble, but a different material called serpentinite. Serpentinites, or serpentines, as they are sometimes called, do not etch or react to acids the way limestone and marble do, and are somewhat harder. Green tiles of this family must always be installed with an epoxy adhesive to prevent the curling that can take place if a water-based setting material is used.

What is Marble?

True geological marble is limestone that has been subjected to great pressure and heat, which has changed its structure to a crystalline, sugary texture. It is generally white or whitish, sometimes translucent, with some veining or color provided by other minerals present at its formation. White Carrara, Thassos, Colorado Yule and Bianco Rosa are true marbles.

Commercially, the term “marble” applies to any compact limestone that will take a polish, which includes most of the colored marbles, except some of the greens.

Can I use Marble on my kitchen counters?

Yes. In fact, marbles that have a honed finish will not etch because its surface starts out with a matte finish. Because marbles (and limestone and travertine) are calcium carbonate, the polished surface is more vulnerable to household acids including vinegar, mustard, catsup, citrus and a host of other food-related products. These acidic substances cause a chemical reaction which will remove the polish.

Additionally, marble and limestone can be scratched more easily than harder stones such as granite. Marble is, however, sometimes used in the kitchen as a pastry slab; its perfectly smooth, cool surface is ideal for rolling out dough and piecrusts.