Whether you’ve installed or inherited your luxury bathroom, find out how to clean your marble
shower and countertops for long-term health and stone longevity!
There’s nothing quite so luxurious as stepping into a beautiful, sleek, marble bathroom. And
when you maintain it properly, this investment can continue to pay back for years. There are
two objectives to consider when approaching cleaning:
Good hygiene (so you and your family remain healthy), and
Good maintenance (preserving your valuable installation!).
Sometimes it can seem as though the two are incompatible, but we’ve got recommendations for you that will help you get BOTH of what you want.
One important point to remember about marble and other stones is that they are porous, with easily-damaged surfaces. This means you’ll want to steer clear of products on either end of the pH spectrum: e.g., lemon-, vinegar-, and citrus-based soaps (acidic), or corrosive bleach or ammonia (alkaline) ones. Here’s the right way to go about cleaning:
Keep your marble shower and countertops clean and hygienic
Showers and bathrooms are naturally more-humid environments, where mold, mildew, and
bacteria feel right at home. Add to that the soap scum that seems to reach out and grab any
dirt and grime that comes near, and there’s no doubt these can be tricky areas to keep clean!
That’s one reason regular (meaning every day the surface is used), and gentle cleaning is the
way to go.
pH-Neutral Marble & Stone Cleaner: To keep your shower bacteria-free, we recommend you mix your own daily spray with a mix of ½ c distilled water, ½ c hydrogen peroxide (3% solution), and 3 drops green Palmolive® dish soap. Spray your surface and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then wipe the surfaces down, and polish lightly (if desired) with a soft, dry microfiber cloth.
This is a nice neutral-pH cleanser that will work well in your shower, bathroom floor, or
on countertops. And, BONUS! It’s far less toxic for your family and for the environment
than many of the harsh products sold today.
*NOTE: Some guides will recommend alcohol, but this can harm any sealer that may
have been applied, so we’ve found it’s best to avoid using it on marble or stone.
Tough-Stain Options: If you DO encounter a tough stain, soap scum build-up in corners,
or grime that just won’t go, you have a couple of options: a light brush can be effective
on grout; on the flat surfaces of marble or tiles, try a low-abrasive white pad, with very
light pressure. But if you’re consistent about regular cleaning, you won’t have to resort
to these drastic measures very often!
Daily cleaning is quick and low-cost, and will go far to help your marble or stone
bathroom—shower, countertops, etc—stay hygienic.
Now for objective #2: preserving its appearance!
Keeping your clean marble shower and countertops surfaces brilliant
Stone is a surprisingly fragile material. In general, moisture is a common reason for marble and
stone discoloration. It’s vulnerable to staining since it can absorb what sits on it.
In some cases, naturally-occurring iron in the stone rusts when continually exposed to
moisture. Keeping your stone and marble surfaces clean and dry (again, gently!) is a good first
Keep a stack of dry cloths handy and do your best to wipe up water right away.
Keep coasters and placemats readily available to help avoid rings.
Regular soap and water will help neutralize any lingering residue from spills.
Avoid leaving damp towels or clothing, mats or rugs on the stone, as well.
If you have furniture that’s metal or has metal feet, protect it from coming into direct contact with your stone.
And if you do mop a marble floor, be sure not to leave puddles.
Removing stains, spills, dirt and so forth is also important to prevent them from interacting with
the stone itself. Daily clean-up with a good quality pH neutral cleanser (like the home-made
spray above), will help preserve and protect your valuable stone and marble showers, floors,
Marble and stone are also easily scratched, so avoid scrub brushes, scrub sponges, and
vacuums—all of which can mar the surface of your stone, and cause it to lose its finish over
time. And, again, choose gentle, non-acidic and non-alkaline products.
These steps will protect the beautiful stone or marble surfaces, but you’re not quite finished
yet. The structure itself is still vulnerable to discoloration and damage from underneath.
Preventing mold, mildew and bacteria from thriving BELOW the stone No matter what you do, natural settling of the building structure causes tiny cracks (fissures), to form in the grout. These cracks allow small amounts of moisture to get through, which creates a perfect bed for mold and mildew to grow.
That’s the reason you must also plan to have your shower’s grout and stone surface properly maintained about every 2-3 years (more if it’s a heavily-used location). You can read about this process here.
While it’s not impossible to restore most showers that have begun to have water infiltration, it’s so much easier, less disruptive—and FAR less costly—to prevent the damage to begin with!
So, mix up your gentle cleanser, clean your marble shower and countertops (and dry the surfaces) daily, and plan to have your grout and stone properly treated every few years. And if you have questions, give TersoMR® a call!