Marble's natural beauty makes it desirable for decorative uses such as wall cladding and tabletops, but it is also a good choice floors, hearths, bathrooms and foyers because of its durability and ease of maintenance. Most household messes on marble are cleaned up with water and a mild detergent, but different types of stains may require specific types of cleansers, including acetone.
Sand, dirt and other grit elements are the greatest enemy of marble floors and other surfaces because they may scratch the surface. You can prevent excess sand and dirt from getting on the marble floor by placing mats at the entry, both inside and out. Guests and occupants can reduce the level of dirt and sand by removing their shoes as they enter the home. Clean the floor as it accumulates dirt and sand with a dry, untreated dust mop. Dry dust other marble surfaces with a soft dry cloth.
Blot up wet spills with a paper towel or damp, soft cloth. Don't wipe the spill as this will spread the stain over a wider area. Apply water and a mild detergent directly to the area of the spill and blot again. Repeat the process until the spill is not longer evident. Always clean spills of oil-based products, such as certain makeup products, cooking oil or grease, as soon as possible to prevent staining. If the spill results in a stain, more advanced cleaning may be required.
Pens or markers left uncapped may leak onto your marble surface as well. If the spill goes undetected and results in a stain, you may be able to remove the stain by gently applying acetone to the stain with a soft cloth. The Marble Institute of America recommends only using acetone on dark stones.
Other Cleaning Products
Different types of stains on marble surfaces require different methods of cleaning. Some oil-based, biological and organic stains respond well to bleach, hydrogen peroxide or ammonia in addition to acetone. Be careful not to mix cleansers as this can result in unpleasant side effects. Combining bleach and ammonia produces a toxic gas which can be lethal. Avoid abrasive cleansers and cleansers that contain acid. Some stains may require a poultice of acetone and a powdered material such as talc, powdered chalk or white molding plaster, which can be applied to the stain and left for up to two days to draw out the stain.