When it comes to stone worktops, marble is considered the most luxe choice of material. With its eye-catching veins, the coveted stone makes any kitchen stand out. However, due to its porosity, marble also has a reputation of being high-maintenance.
The list of things to keep away from your marble is definitely longer than that of other materials, such as granite or quartz. While by its very nature, a kitchen worktop will come in contact with many of the below ingredients, this doesn’t mean your worktops are doomed. It does, however, mean that you should be careful when handling them and always be diligent with cleaning up after yourself.
Read on to see our top five things that can damage your marble worktops, and why you’ll want to avoid them.
1. Staining foods
This category includes liquids such as wine, beetroot and other highly pigmented foods. Other culprits include oils, butter, milk and peanut butter - essentially, anything greasy. All of them can be absorbed by the marble and leave stains behind.
2. Acidic foods and cleaners
In this category we would put the obvious: citrus fruits and vinegar. But you’ll also want to be careful with most fruits – even if you don’t think they are acidic, they probably are. Coffee is another culprit, as is vinegar and vinegar-based cleaning products. These products don’t just stain your worktops, but they can also cause etching, a type of chemical burn. That means they can corrode the top layer of the marble, causing physical damage to the stone.
3. Bleach, ammonia and hydrogen peroxide
Chemicals like bleach, ammonia and hydrogen peroxide are not ideal for marble because they can also cause etching. When strongly diluted they can be used on lighter worktops to lighten stains. However, on dark marble they can not only cause etching, but they can also fade the colour of the stone.
4. Knives & abrasives
Marble is a relatively soft stone and scratches easily. For context, mineral and stone hardness is measured by the Mohs Scale and given a score from 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the hardest. Where granite and quartz are around 7 on the Mohs Scale, marble is a 2-3. That means it can easily get damaged, so it’s important to always use chopping boards and coasters.
5. Heavy objects
If you or your children like sitting on top of your counters, then we have bad news: marble isn’t for you. Because of its softness, you should avoid any excessive weight. Otherwise, you risk cracks in the material which doesn’t look great and is costly to repair.
To sum it up: be careful with your worktops and always wipe your counters down after use. This doesn’t have to be complicated; a bit of water and a drop of soap will do the trick. Make sure to dry your surfaces off with a clean cloth to avoid water stains and that’s it.
Now we do need to add, that even with the best of care, worktops are bound to show some signs of usage. If you want pristine looking worktops for years to come, you might be better off choosing marble look quartz for your kitchen instead. However, there’s also a strong argument to be made that years of use add patina to marble worktops and give them character.