How To Clean Marble Countertops

updated Sep 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Of all the decisions I made when building my kitchen last year, the one that has generated the most questions is my choice of marble countertops. I don’t regret the choice one bit: marble is beautiful, relatively inexpensive compared to other solid-surface countertops, and above all, easy to clean.

I have found marble easy to maintain and easy to clean. Honestly, I feel a little silly showing you how I clean my countertops; it’s pretty darn simple.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Why Marble Is Scary

But first, let’s talk about all the reasons that people are scared of marble. According to the scientists in the earth sciences department where my husband works, marble is a carbonate. (No, not carbonite; that’s what they froze Han Solo in. Different thing. More scary.) Choosing stone countertops is quite a proposition when you have a close connection with geology faculty; they say things like, “Why would you ever put a CARBONATE in your kitchen?” over drinks at the holiday party. But I digress.

What Causes Marble Etching

Marble is indeed prone to marking because of its calcium carbonate makeup, which reacts with any acid. Acid literally eats away a tiny bit of the surface, creating dull spots, also known as etches. This means that any splash of lemon juice, any damp margarita glass, is going to leave a subtle mark.

Next week I’m going to show you my etches up close and personal; I don’t think they’re a big deal. But this easily marred surface can freak people out, especially when they are just researching options and haven’t actually lived with marble yet.

Is Marble Hard to Clean?

The etching issue also gives marble the reputation of being finicky and hard to clean. Yes, you don’t want to use some common and acidic natural cleaners like vinegar and lemon juice. But other than that, marble is just like other natural stones: durable, easy-wearing, and really easy to clean.

What We’re NOT Talking About Today

I’m just going to show you the basic, everyday way I clean my countertops after cooking. This is what I do when I want to go a little deeper than a quick swipe with a hot, wet washcloth.

I’m not, however, going to address the ways I deal with other rarer and more specific issues with marble, like lifting light stains with a baking soda poultice, or blending light etches in so they are not so noticeable. We can cover those in other posts, if you like!

But first, let’s just talk basic cleaning. It’s super simple. And if you also have marble, I’d be curious to hear from you about whether you clean yours the same way, or if you use something else.

How To Clean Marble Countertops

What You Need

Warm water
Gentle, non-abrasive dish soap
Spray bottle
Dish cloth or cleaning rag
Soft, absorbent towel


  1. Mix warm water and gentle dish soap: Fill a spray bottle with warm water and add about a tablespoon of gentle, non-abrasive dish soap. Don’t use anything with acid or lemon juice. Shake gently to mix the soap and water.
  2. Spray the counter with the dish soap solution: Spray the countertop lightly with the warm dish soap solution.
  3. Wipe with a hot, wet dish cloth: Wipe the soapy water off the counter with a wet dish cloth.
  4. Dry with an absorbent towel: Rub the countertop dry and buff with a soft, absorbent towel.

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