how to clean tumbled marble

spincrazy25November 26, 2008

My shower floor is made up of 4x4 tumbled marble tile, and it was supposedly sealed. It looked great for a while, but then it started grungy where we primarily stand. I used scrub brush and some mild soap to clean it. When it dried, it still looked grungy, and the grout looked splotchy (darker in some areas, lighter in others). Did I do something wrong? From my understanding tumbled marble isn't as fragile as polished. Is there a fix?

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What did you use for soap?

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 7:13PM
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Some sort of handsoap from Dial- and very little.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 8:34PM
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Too, how long ago was it sealed and with what? Aside from using the brush and mild soap, how did you clean it? For instance, after scrubbing it, did you mop or wipe it out or did you flush it with water first?

One thought on the splotchy grout, it may be possible that the sealer is wearing and some areas of grout absorbed more water than others, so some areas may have taken longer to dry and therefore looked darker. Possibly. Depends on how long the splotchy areas lasted before getting wet again.

Bill's absolutely right in asking what soap you used. But, then, we all knew he was right before he even responded!!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 8:39PM
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Yes, in Bill we trust! I'd say the tile was sealed probably in June or July. Not exactly sure of the name of the sealer, but I have seen it in this site. Something "Gold". The dark spots do not go away in 24 hours- about the frequency of when our showers happen. After I cleaned it, I just dumped a bunch of water on it to rinse, and I maybe wiped it a little. I should also mention that after I did all this, I got some sort of Granite/Marble cleaner from Lowe's (I think it's inteneded for countertops) and it had no effect at all.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 10:10PM
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Doesn't matter when it was sealed. Hand soap is the problem. It has oils in it that'll seep into the stone and grout. Your best bet is to do nothing (other than NOT using hand soap again). Give it a few months and the oils that got into the stone and grout will evaporate back out again. If it doesn't, or if you don't want to wait the time, it might be time to try a poultice on it to draw the oil out.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2008 at 9:51AM
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Thanks Bill. So can you recommend a good product to use? Also, how can I get rid of the grunge that seems to be embedded in the grooves, pores, etc of the marble? Is a scrub brush ok?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2008 at 11:17AM
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I wouldn't use a scrub brush too often on tumbled stone unless it's soft bristled. It tends to be soft, and can wear easily, especially if it's travertine. As for a soap, you can't beat oxyclean. You shouldn't need it all that often. Plain hot water should be all you usually need. But maybe once a month or so, it wouldn't hurt to use the Oxyclean on it.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2008 at 11:28AM
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We sometimes get a bit of mildew on the travertine tile in our shower. None of the regular tile cleaners are safe to use on stone, so we use a special stone cleaning product we get at Orchard Supply (CA regional chain). I would imagine that Lowe's or Home Depot would sell something similar.

As for soap, we use bar soap not liquid soap in the shower. We aren't doing it for the stone, we are doing it for our skin. Liquid soaps are actually detergents. So far (nine years) it has not stained the stone at all.


    Bookmark   November 27, 2008 at 4:02PM
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We use Oxyclean.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 8:10PM
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These posts are making me nervous. We just ordered tumbled marble for our shower floor. We plan to seal the living daylights out of the marble and the grout. To clarify--is liquid body wash considered the same as liquid soap? Should we use only bar soap? Is oxyclean the only cleaner we should use? We're using honed marble for the walls. Will oxyclean or other cleaners have an effect on the sealed marble? Do cleaners "undo" any of the sealing? Any other tips are greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:52PM
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Is oxyclean the only cleaner we should use?

Actually what you should be using is a ph neutral cleaner made for stone. The oxyclean is for when it gets to the point of discoloration from letting it go.

Do cleaners "undo" any of the sealing?

Yes, they do. Acidic cleaners will etch the stone, and basic cleaners will eat the sealer. That's why the recommendation for the ph neutral cleaner.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 9:06PM
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I just redid a bathroom in tumbled marble. How do I sanitize in the toliet area?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 3:34PM
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