How to maintain, clean, and polish marble

Marble is easily stained and scarred. Use coasters under drinking glasses. If there’s a spill, wipe it up immediately. Seal doorsills, windowsills, floors, and tabletops with a marble sealer.

Don’t drag furniture across a marble floor. Protect heavy traffic areas with throw rugs. Vacuum frequently. Damp mop weekly with clear water or with a mild detergent. If marble gets streaked and dirty, wipe with a damp sponge and buff dry. For stubborn dirt, use dry borax and a damp cloth; then rinse with warm water and buff dry. To clean and polish simultaneously, use a self-polishing marble cleaner. For a major cleaning, strip off any old wax with a wax remover, rinse thoroughly with clean water, and apply sealer followed by paste wax. Treating stubborn stains To treat grease stains, make a paste of powdered whiting or chalk dust mixed with acetone. For organic stainscoffee, tea, tobacco, fruit juices, carbonated beverages-mix the powder with hydrogen peroxide, rather than acetone, and add a few drops of ammonia justbefore applying it. For rust stains, substitute liquid rust remover as the solvent.

Apply mixture to stain, cover with plastic wrap, and seal with masking tape. Let the peroxide and acetone mixtures stand overnight; the rust paste, a few hours. Sponge off the mixture and buff the treated area. Rust stains may benefit from a followup treatment with a peroxide paste.

If removing a major stain dulls the surface, wet the area with water and sprinkle it with a marble-polishing powder (tin oxide). Rub with a thick cloth or use an electric buffer.