Marble Cleaning Tips
Marble is a form of limestone, more or less crystalline, or granular in structure. It is found in many colors and combinations of colors, also in pure white and black and patterned in strange designs. While subdued colors predominate, brilliant reds, yellows, blues and greens also are seen, blended in fantastic patterns.
The rainbow colors in marble are due mainly to the presence of various iron compounds, while the grayish shadings are caused by fossilized organic materials, both plant and animal. Preserved in the stone are the joints and stems of fossilized stone lilies, or feather stars, delicate creatures of the sea. Fragments of sea shells also are found, giving a lovely iridescent
play of color.
This is the material marble, gift of the prehistoric past. It is from 500 to 700 million years old, but especially adaptable to modern design and in great demand because of its beauty and easy-care qualities. Treat it as the luxury product it is, using only recommended products to clean it, and it will always be lovely.
Polished marble in good condition needs only to be dusted or wiped with a soft damp cloth. If it has been soiled through neglect or improper maintenance, the situation can usually be corrected by applying suitable cleaners or stain removers. The instructions which follow were provided by the Vermont Marble Company, Proctor, Vermont. Marble-care kits and the various trade-named products mentioned are available from this company and its branches. Similar kits can be found in some hardware and department stores.
For general cleaning and maintenance use the following:
Unpolished marble—use a cloth or a fiber brush and scrub with Wyandotte Detergent. (Avoid common abrasive cleaners.) Rinse carefully.
On outdoor marble—patios, garden_furniture—use the special product Stone Klene.
On polished marble— if a damp cloth will not suffice, use a cloth wrung out of suds made with Ivory or Lux soap flakes. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry with chamois to prevent streaking. A mild detergent solution (Joy, Ivory) can be used as a one-time cleaner on very soiled marble. (Do not use heavy-duty detergents.) Even a mild detergent should not be used repeatedly because yellowing or other surface change may result on some types of marble.
After cleaning, apply a sealer—Tri-Seal for dark marbles, Vermarco White Marble Seal for white. Sealers inhibit soiling and staining. Light paste waxes are also used.
Marble furniture is cleaned by the method described for polished marble. Spilled foods, cosmetics, and drinks should be wiped up promptly, a rule which applies to all fine furniture. Fruit juices, carbonated drinks, and foods containing acids produce dull areas that look like stains but are actually etchings, revealing the color of the unpolished marble which is always lighter. Minor etchings and scratches can usually be removed by patient rubbing with powdered tin oxide (putty powder). Sprinkle the powder on the surface and rub vigorously with a moistened felt pad or chamois. When the shine has been restored, rinse the surface with clean water and dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth. Preferably, apply a sealer to the clean marble after the proper interval.
Marble floors are cleaned with Wyandotte Detergent. Wet the floor with clean water, sprinkle it with detergent, then mop or scrub the floor. Clean a small area. Rinse with a clean mop. If some areas are badly soiled, give them this special treatment: Mix the detergent with water to the consistency of thick cream and apply it to the soiled marble. Let it dry, then rinse it off thoroughly with clean water. If the floor looks dusty or white when it is dry, too much detergent has been used or the floor has been incompletely rinsed. Rinse it again. Sealed marble floors can be damp-mopped.
Stains on marble, as on other materials, are easier to remove if they are treated promptly. Remove the material that has caused the stain, then apply the proper stain remover. Solvents recommended are alcohol, acetone, lighter fluid, and flammable cleaning fluids. The best bleach is hydrogen peroxide (35 percent). Light stains can sometimes be removed by rubbing them with Wyandotte Detergent. Deep stains may require patient poulticing. A poultice is made by mixing the stain remover with Wyandotte Detergent or whiting.
Oil and grease stains are usually dark in the center, shading to light. For these, use one of the solvents listed, applied in a poultice or on a white blotter covered with glass or plastic film to hold in the moisture. Repeat as often as necessary. Rinse.
For rust stains, sprinkle on Vermarco Crystal Cleaner and dampen it with water. Let it stand no longer than an hour. On vertical surfaces apply it as a poultice. Or you can use a poultice made with a commercial rust remover. Rinse thoroughly.
Organic stains (yellow to rose) from colored paper, foliage, tobacco, tea, coffee, and cosmetics are removed with hydrogen peroxide. Apply it directly to a flat surface, as a poultice to a vertical surface. Add a few drops of ammonia and let it remain until the bubbling stops. Rinse with water.
For ink stains (except those caused by metallic inks) use hydrogen peroxide. Apply it directly to the stain and rinse after a few minutes. For metallic ink stains use Crystal Cleaner.
If the marble is etched slightly by a stain remover, polish it with putty powder, as previously described.
Carved marble, statuary, and badly soiled or yellowed stone, are best treated with an all-over poultice. Add water to Wyandotte Detergent to make a mudlike paste. Apply the paste (about 2 inch thick) to the entire surface by hand or trowel, and retard drying by keeping the application covered with a damp cloth for 24 hours. Let it dry for another 24 hours. Remove the poultice and rinse the marble thoroughly. (Do not get the poultice on wood or metal.) Wyandotte poultices can be saved
If your marble needs refinishing, consult your local dealer. It is not easy to do it yourself.
If you would like more information about White Plains, New York house cleaning, contact Muffetta’s Housekeeping, House Cleaning and Household Staffing Agency. Areas we serve are Westchester County including White Plains & Scarsdale New York.
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