How to Polish Marble like a Pro [Quick & Easy Guide]

If you have marble flooring or countertops – or you’re considering getting them – you know that marble is one of the most beautiful, timeless, and stylish flooring and counter options available today.  When properly cared for, marble can last for decades. But that’s the problem, you need to know how to keep your marble clean and scratch free to get the most out of your stone benchtop. Marble is one of the higher maintenance and most expensive stone options available today, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your surfaces shining with a little know-how. You want to make sure to treat marble benchtops properly and keep them in tip top shape and a huge part of this involves polishing.  Whether you’re the one ready to dive into a little cleaning or you need help delegating to someone else, here’s everything you need to know. 

How do you know when marble needs to be polished? 

Marble is a hard, durable stone made from limestone breaking down and reforming in the earth’s core. That said, as a flooring or counter material, marble can be surprisingly fragile under certain conditions – and many things can happen to it that require polishing.  First, your marble can etch.  Marble is surprisingly susceptible to acid, which means that spilling things like lemon, cranberry juice, or even wine can cause its surface to corrode. This leads to etching, which is quite literally the acid eating away at the marble’s surface and leaving a light-coloured “stain.”  Similarly, marble can easily stain and scratch, particularly if you spill liquids regularly, if you drag heavy furniture along your marble, or if you scrape it with items or dirt and debris.  If you notice that your marble is looking dull – or there are stains that look lighter or darker – it may be time to polish your marble.  Thinking of a change? Here are the simple steps to a stress-free benchtop replacement

6 steps to polishing your marble floors

Step #1 – Make sure you have the right supplies 

If you are going to polish your marble yourself, you will need to make sure that you have all the right supplies. This should include: 
  • PH Neutral detergent or stone cleaner like MB Stone Care MB1 Floor & More Cleaner or if you have excessive dirt on your tiles or in your grout lines you can use MB Stone Care MB2 Heavy Duty Tile & Grout Cleaner
  • 3 to 4 soft cloths or a mop 
  • Poultice (if you have stains)
  • Etch remover compound such as MB Stone Care MB11 Touchup
  • Polishing compound
  • Low-speed polisher (preferably with a white scotch polish pad) 
  • Marble sealer like MB Stone Care MB24 Barrier Impregnator Sealer 
Many stores offer ready-made re-polishing and sealing kits, which come with most of these materials as well as specific instructions. 

Step #2 – Tape around surrounding areas 

If you have other surfaces – like wood, metal, or chrome – around your marble, it’s important to tape these materials off in order to prevent damage from the polisher or from the products that you use. 

Step #3 – Prepare your marble surface 

Next, you must thoroughly clean and prepare your marble surface. Remove any accumulated dirt, debris, grease, or liquid using a PH neutral marble cleaner such as MB Stone Care MB1 Floor & More Cleaner and a soft cloth or mop. Once you’ve cleaned away any spills or debris, rinse the marble well and ensure that it dries completely. 

Step #4 – Apply your poultice 

If you have settled stains, you can apply your poultice onto the stain. Here, we recommend that you smooth it directly onto the stain and seal it by placing plastic wrap over it. This should be left to sit for at least 24 hours, though old stains will require even more time. If you haven’t bought a poultice you can easily make one for oily stains by mixing talcum powder or baking soda with Acetone. After 24 hours have passed, scoop up the excess poultice solution and then apply warm water to rinse away any residue. Repeat the process as necessary, or follow with next steps. 

Step #5 – Polish your marble surfaces

Next, you should apply your polishing compound to the marble and polish. There are a few best practices to keep in mind here. First, the amount of polish will vary depending on the brand you choose, so you should follow individual directions.  Additionally, you should always polish in small sections of 1 to 2 feet at a time. This will create an even finish and help ensure that your polishing compound doesn’t dry out before you get to that section of the marble.  Whether you’re using a soft cloth or a polisher, we recommend that you move in controlled, small, circular motions to get an even polish. If you’re using a polisher, be sure to work at the lowest speed. 

Step #6 – Remove any excess polish

Once you have polished the whole area, remove any excess polish using a dry cloth. Follow up with a damp cloth to remove any lingering residue and make sure that the job is complete. Once this step is complete, you should wait another 24 hours 

Bonus Step – Seal your marble

Finally, you may consider sealing your marble. Here, there are a few things to keep in mind. It’s important to know exactly what kind of stone you’re working on.  If you have natural marble, you can use an impregnator sealer which will soak beneath the surface of the marble and help repel water and oil. If you’re working on a countertop or vanity, for example, an impregnator may be your best option. 

What can you do to keep marble in good shape for longer? 

After all of this work, you want to make sure that your polished marble stays in good shape for as long as possible. You can use coasters and heat protectors to avoid ‘water rings’ and other acid damage, but for more in-depth maintenance tips, we recommend that you: 
✘ Avoid using vinegar, lemon juice, or any acidic cleaners on your marble. 
✔ Stick with PH neutral solutions or water for example MB Stone Care MB5 Stone & More for benchtops and MB Stone Care MB1 Floor & More for your floor tiles. 
✘ Avoid abrasive cleaning agents that could etch or scratch the marble 
✔ Use warm water and a microfibre when cleaning to make sure that no cleaning solution residue – or spills – remain on your marble’s surface. Alternatively MB Stone Care MB5 Stone & More for benchtops and MB Stone Care MB1 Floor & More for floors are both rinse free cleaners. 
✘ Don’t allow marble to remain wet after removing spills and liquids
✔ Remove spills right away. Oil, coffee, sauce, and fruit juice can all cause damage if not cleaned quickly. Looking for more simple cleaning hacks? Get our top stone benchtop cleaning tips here

Enjoy beautiful and eye-catching marble benchtops for years 

Polishing and maintaining your marble properly can help you maintain a beautiful, rich, and timeless surface for decades to come. That said, this is an arduous process, and you have to be sure to follow all the steps if you want to get it right and have shiny, well-polished marble.  If you don’t feel confident in what you’re doing, or you’d like some professional help, reach out to us here and we’ll be happy to guide you and help you get it right.  Or, browse our striking and timeless marble benchtop products here.