At Sungloss Marble Restoration Company, we’ve helped so many of our residential customers to understand basic maintenance techniques for marble bathroom vanities and granite kitchen counters. Since those surfaces are so common, and we receive questions about them over and over again, we thought our maintenance tips might bear repeating for newer customers (and established customers, and those who are just curious about how to keep their natural stone looking good!).
Limestone and marble bathroom vanities are the most unknowingly-abused stone surface in the home. There is a large gap in knowledge and communication between a homeowner and their architect, interior designer, real estate agent, and (this one hurts us most personally), stone provider. What happens often is the homeowner either moves in to a house that already has stone vanities, or they install them during a big renovation. In both circumstances, sometimes they wish they never had limestone or marble vanities! It’s not that the stone is the problem, but the high expectations that come with marble or limestone, combined with an over-abundance of chemicals and practices harmful to stone.
If you think about it, there are probably 10 or 15 chemicals in constant rotation around your bathroom sink. Almost all of them react with calciferous (marble, limestone, etc.) stone. Even a well-sealed vanity will still look worse for wear after a few years if the user isn’t careful with after-shave, toothpaste, and doing her nails. All those chemical drips discolor or etch (burn) the surface. And God help the homeowner who hires a well-meaning but stone-illiterate cleaning lady. Truly unfortunate and horrific damage can result.
What’s the best advice for marble and limestone vanities? Although it can be difficult, treating them carefully—using a tray or a towel to store your toiletries—is the first line of defense. Of course, having them sealed about once a year with a high quality penetrating stone sealer helps, too. Finally, cleaning then with a neutral stone cleaner designed for sealed marble is best.
While granite countertops are much more resilient than marble and limestone, there are a few bits of advice that bear repeating. Two words: No Windex! Use a neutral stone cleaner to clean them. If you are in short supply, a mild soapy solution of dish soap followed by a very good rinse is OK.
Hopefully, these scant advice points ring a bell with not only our residential clients, but also make sense to the condo boards, real estate developers, interior designers, and construction company clients who come to us with similar issues in their fields.