Marble sure is great. With its beautiful texture and bright hue, I love the way marble can really bring out the finer features of your fireplace.
It surprises many that, despite being a stone, marble is actually quite a delicate material, and is actually pretty susceptible to stains, scratches and general wear and tear. Worse still, by attempting to clean marble, many people actually make the damage worse.
So if your fireplace is suffering from a stain or spillage, read on to find the best to get your stone back to its original prestige.
1. Identify the Stain
Unfortunately, even with a strong liquid cleaner, not every stain can be removed the same way. It is therefore very important that, before you do anything, you identify what stain you’re dealing with.
Click on the various common fireplace stain types below to see a brief summary of their characteristics.
+ Oil Based
+ Water Spots and Rings
2. Assess the Seriousness
For nine out of ten cases, nothing fancy is required. For non-serious problems such as small spills, it’s amazing how far you can get with a little water and a cloth
Make sure that:
- The water is warm (but not hot).
- Your cloth is microfiber.
- You wring the cloth well to avoid excess water.
After cleaning, make sure you thoroughly wipe down the surface to dry it and avoid streaks. Try not to let the marble air dry, as this can cause water spots – especially on flat surfaces such as the mantel and hearth.
Always remember that speed is of the essence. Marble is a very porous material, and the longer you leave it, the deeper the stain will penetrate the stone.
3. Take Action
Inevitably, you’re going to come across something that water just can’t buff out.
For deeper-entrenched stains, carefully applied ph-neutral soap can be used, as long as it is used in moderation. Other solutions that have been suggested include hydrogen peroxide for light marble and acetone for dark marble.
Another easy solution is to purchase commercial stone cleaners – such as the Marble and Granite cleaner that Fireplace World sells.
4. Create a Poultice
Making a ‘poultice’ is a common DIY technique to remove tough stains. A poultice is basically a soft, damp mass of powder that has been mixed with a little liquid cleaner and left to draw out a stain. Here is how to make and use one:
- Create the poultice by mixing a fine powder (baking powder, whiting or powdered chalk) with a cleaning agent until it reaches a peanut butter-like paste.
- Use water to wet the stain.
- Use a spatula or scraper to evenly spread the poultice across your fireplace’s stain, making sure it is applied about a ¼ inch to ½ inch thick.
- Use plastic to cover the poultice, then tape down the edges.
- Leave the poultice for 24 hours. During this time, for liquid cleaner should pull the stain into the powder. If the stain hasn’t been removed after this time, create more mixture and repeat.
Of course, prevention is always better than the cure, and there are a number of things you can do to make sure your marble doesn’t get damaged in the first place.
One thing you can do it get your fireplace sealed. Sealing your stone can help it resist moisture and other dangers for much longer than unsealed stones. The quality and effectiveness of your sealer varies widely on the brand you use and the type of marble you have, so it is worth talking to a professional to get a recommendation.
Other than this, there are a few more commonplace measures you can take to avoid damage:
- Place felt mats beneath metal mantle decorations to prevent rust stains.
- Never place mugs or glasses on your hearth or mantle, or at least use a coaster if you do.
- Discourage family members from eating near your fireplace.
If your stone is scratched, or a stain is particularly persistent, it is always best to ask for professional help so that you do not damage your stone.