How to Polish Marble

Two Methods:Polishing Natural MarblePolishing Cultured Marble

Marble has been treasured for centuries for both its beauty and utility. It's a natural limestone that has been transformed, through heat, pressure and time, into a lovely and durable building material that is commonly used for flooring, counters, staircases, tables and fireplace mantels. Sturdy as it is, however, it is also very porous and stains easily; regular care is essential. Read on to learn how to keep the marble surfaces in your home looking like new.


  1. Image titled Polish Marble Step 1
    First, determine whether your surfaces are natural marble or cultured marble.
    • Temperature method: Lay your hand on the surface and note how warm or cool it feels. Natural marble is usually cooler to the touch than the surrounding air. Cultured marble will be about the same temperature as the surrounding air.
    • Acid method: Pick a hidden, inconspicuous area on your surface. Put a few drops of vinegar on the surface to be tested. If it is natural marble, you will see some bubbles or fizz. Immediately wipe up the vinegar with a damp cloth to avoid damage.
    • Scratch method: In that same hidden spot, lightly scratch the surface with a nail. Use a magnifying glass to see whether this caused visible scratches. Natural marble scratches easily, while cultured marble does not.
    • If you don't know for sure, proceed as though they are natural, so you don't cause damage.

Method 1
Polishing Natural Marble

  1. Image titled Polish Marble Step 2
    Remove any existing stains. Marble is highly porous; stains are caused when substances seep into the stone and get trapped. Common spills like juice, wine, sauces, cooking oils and coffee will all stain your marble surface. You can avoid this by wiping up spills immediately.
    • To remove simple stains, use a damp sponge or soft cloth. Using lukewarm water and a mild dish soap, gently rub the stain until the area is clean. Rinse thoroughly.
  2. Image titled Polish Marble Step 3
    Draw out stubborn stains by using a poultice (optional).
    • In a bowl, combine hydrogen peroxide, a few drops of ammonia, and some shredded paper towel, paper napkins or diatomaceous earth. Stir until your mixture is the consistency of a smooth, thick paste. You only need enough to cover the stain, so start with a small amount of each ingredient and add more as needed.
    • Apply the poultice to the stain, approximately 1/4" (6.5 mm) thick. Overlap the edges of the stain by 1/2" (13 mm) or so.
    • Completely cover the poultice with a piece of plastic wrap and tape down the edges. Poke a few holes in the plastic to vent it.
    • Allow the poultice to completely dry. This can take up to 48 hours, so be patient.
    • Remove the plastic, pour a little water over the dry poultice and wipe away with a soft cloth. Thoroughly dry the area.
    • If the stain persists, repeat this process again. Stubborn stains might require two or three applications.
  3. Image titled Polish Marble Step 4
    After stain removal is complete, begin with a clean, dry surface. Marble is soft and scratches easily, and you don't want to damage it while polishing.
    • Use a clean, dry cloth or dust mop to gently remove all dirt, dust and grit.
    • Wash away grime as needed with a soft cloth and warm water. Use a mild dish soap if needed. Rinse well with clean, damp cloth.
    • Dry the surface well with a clean cloth.
  4. Image titled Polish Marble Step 5
    Polish your marble surface. Use a mixture of baking soda and water as a polish.
    • Combine 3 tbs. (45 g) of baking soda to 1 qt (0.9 L) of water and mix well.
    • Using a clean cloth, apply the mixture to your surface in a thin layer. Allow to dry for about 5 hours.
    • Use a clean cloth and warm water to rinse the marble surface.
  5. Image titled Polish Marble Step 6
    Dry and buff the marble with another clean cloth. Using a soft microfiber or chamois cloth, gently wipe down the marble in wide, circular motions. Move in progressively smaller circles as the surface dries.
  6. Image titled Polish Marble Step 7
    Add a sealant (optional). A sealant won't prevent all stains, but will provide some protection to your marble surface. You can purchase marble sealant in a spray bottle at a hardware or home goods store.
    • Follow the package instructions carefully. The steps below are for general guidance only.
    • Tape off any areas around the marble surface that are not to be sealed - wood trim, chrome or stainless steel. Use masking tape or plumber's tape.
    • Spray the marble liberally with the sealant. Make sure the entire surface is completely wet.
    • After 15-30 minutes, use a soft, dry towel to wipe the surface completely dry.
    • Apply one more coat of sealer, let it sit for 15-30 minutes and wipe dry.
    • Allow the marble to cure for 6-8 hours. Do not use the surface during this time.
    • Reapply sealant every 1-2 years, depending on how heavily your marble surface is used.

Method 2
Polishing Cultured Marble

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    Cultured marble is much easier to clean than natural marble. Cultured marble is manufactured with a protective coating that makes it much less prone to scratches and damage. However, it still requires attention and care.
  2. Image titled Polish Marble Step 9
    Remove any stains. Scrub surface stains using a brush with nylon bristles and a non-abrasive household cleaner.
    • To remove hard water stains, spray white vinegar on the surface and allow to sit for 45 minutes. Rinse with plain water and wipe with a damp rag to remove any residue.
  3. Image titled Polish Marble Step 10
    Begin with a clean, dry surface. Use a soft cloth and a non-abrasive household cleaner, followed by a clean, dry cloth.
  4. Image titled Polish Marble Step 11
    Polish your surface. Apply a polishing compound specifically made for cultured marble. Follow the package instructions carefully. You can also use a carnauba wax made for cars.
    • Use a gel polishing product if you wish to seal as well as polish your cultured marble. However, this is usually not necessary, as cultured marble is manufactured with a sealed surface.


  • Always use a cutting board when preparing food on either natural or cultured marble surfaces.
  • After bathing, squeegee away water drops from your cultured marble shower to prevent water stains.
  • Protect marble surfaces from stains and scratches by using coasters, floor mats and area rugs.
  • Commercial marble polish is available at hardware stores. If you choose to use one, follow the instructions on the package very carefully to avoid damage.
  • Dust and wipe down your marble surfaces regularly to keep them clean.
  • Apply a protective sealant to marble every one to two years to help prevent stains.
  • Do not place hot items such as pots and pans, curling irons, or cigarettes on either cultured or natural marble.
  • You can find diatomaceous earth in hardware and gardening stores. For cleaning marble kitchen counters, look for food grade diatomaceous earth in health food stores or online.


  • Acids will damage natural marble. Do not use products such as lemon juice or vinegar for cleaning.
  • Acetone (nail polish remover) is sometimes recommended for cleaning natural marble. DO NOT use it on cultured marble, however, as it will damage the protective gel coating.
  • Cultured marble is less delicate but still requires careful cleaning to avoid deep scratches or damage.
  • Never use metal scrubbers on marble.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Cleaning cloths (chamois or microfiber are ideal)
  • Baking soda
  • Brush with nylon bristles
  • Vinegar, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, plastic wrap and paper towels/napkins/diatomaceous earth if needed
  • Commercial marble polish, carnauba car wax or other polishing compound if desired

Article Info

Categories: Housekeeping