Friday, August 17, 2012

Caring for Marble

Marble is beautiful to own and it's wonderful to use in one's home.  Luminous and cool to the touch, it is a stone composed of calcium carbonate metamorphosed from limestone.  Used by homeowners for kitchen countertops, kitchen sinks, backsplashes (tile or slab), floors, bathrooms (some people opt for cultured marble in this area of the home), cocktail tabletops, sideboards, mantels and fireplace trims, it is a surface that is suitable in many homes.  Whether it's an ultra modern high rise apartment, an old colonial, a French country manor or even a quaint bungalow, marble will greatly enhance many spaces.  Sourced from several countries around the world, the color & type will depend entirely on where it was quarried; there are many colors, striations and beautiful qualities available to the consumer that make each slab unique.  Whatever style you end up with in your home if you choose to go with this surface, marble should be treated gently & with the utmost care, because it is an expensive investment that requires some maintenance.  

This type of stone is soft and porous, which makes it prone to scratches and stains.  There are certain DO's & DON'Ts one must adhere to if marble is to keep its beauty for decades to come in one's home.

If you are considering placing marble in your home, it's a good idea to have it sealed with a quality sealer when it's installed. 
 
Many of us who bake a lot enjoy having a marble surface on which to roll out pastry and various other doughs.  Temperature has a lot to do with it.  Marble is naturally cool which is very important when working with most doughs; pastry also seems less prone to sticking when rolled on marble.  Professional pastry chefs like having a marble surface in their pâtisseries to roll out their flaky croissants, danish, tarts, and pâte feuilletée used to make those scrumptious mille-feuille.  It's also essential for making pure white fondant used to cover perfect wedding cakes everyone seems to love these days.   

No matter where you end up placing marble in your home, the only thing you really need to clean this stone on a daily basis is some warm water and soft cotton towels.  I have several plastic bench scrapers (used for doughs) that make it easy for me to scrape off bits of stuck on pastry or dough from my marble, without the fear of scratching it.  These are also good to scrape anything off a marble floor.

To clean any marble surface, lightly dampen a clean, absorbent cotton towel (don't get the marble soaked) and wipe down the area in question.  Use another towel to wipe it completely dry.  I also use these same types of towels to dust my marble surfaces periodically.  

If there is marble in your kitchen, never cut directly on the surface or pound anything on it without the aid of a good cutting board (think tenderizing meats of any kind).  Always use cutting boards suitable for food preparation and make sure to wipe up anything that may trickle off the board with an absorbent towel as soon as you spot it; marble is quick to etch.  Hot pots and pans that need to come off the burners should be placed on cooling racks or trivets.  Never put a hot pan directly onto your marble. 

Note: standing water will also stain & mark your marble, so make sure to thoroughly dry all marble surfaces.
Oils of any kind, acidic foods & ingredients such as wine (both red & white), vinegar, citrus juices and tomatoes (fresh, sauces or pastes) will etch marble surfaces very quickly if one doesn't wipe them up immediately.  I highly recommend having small dishes with rims to catch any spills from these food items and containers.  Spoon rests are essential to have on hand next to your stove to place spoons, ladles, tongs, forks & spatulas while cooking. 

If you're serving cocktails or wine on a marble surface, make sure you have proper coasters for the bottles as well as for the glasses.  One can also use large platters to set these items down, but it's always nice to give everyone an individual coaster.

Stains on marble that won't come out with plain wiping need to be treated with a poultice.  There are several types available at housewares stores, so one needs to know the source of the stain before applying one.  Inquire from the staff if you're unsure about which one to get and apply. 

The DON'Ts for marble.  Never use any harsh chemical wipes, spray cleaners or dish soaps of any kind to clean up this surface.  These can ruin the marble, especially if they contain an acid ingredient.  I don't ever recommend that you use a scouring pad or a sponge with a rough surface to clean up marble surfaces (even if it says non-scratch on the packaging).  I personally don't like using a colored  kitchen towel when wiping up marble either (fear of color bleeding).

Fine china or glass should be placed on any marble surface with care.  Dropping a piece will not only break it, but it will probably scratch or even gouge the stone. 

If there is a serious problem with your marble surface, have a professional stone restorer repolish & rehone the damaged areas.  It's a good idea to have the marble resealed with a quality sealer if you are having it restored.

Most importantly, enjoy your marble for decades to come.

3 comments:

  1. Hello There,

    this is really very nice blog and looking very nice. this blog is very helpfull for shopping .. we want come back on this blog...

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is very useful blog for the people who intend to apply marble flooring.

    ReplyDelete

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