DIY Marble Polishing: Restore the Shine to Your Countertops

Marble is a top pick for high-end kitchen countertops. It offers natural beauty, and its heat resistance lends well to cooking spaces. But as beautiful as it is, marble is a soft stone more susceptible to stains, etching, and scratches than other counter materials.

Polish marble

DIY marble polishing can help restore shine to your dull countertops.

How to Polish Your Marble Countertops

The top reason marble countertops lose their shine is due to contact with acidic substances like vinegar, lemon juice, or pasta sauce. Another reason is the improper use of cleaners. Because marble is delicate, you must use a PH-neutral cleaner like dish soap and water or a stone cleaner. Failure to do so can lead to dullness or staining.

In most cases, you can restore shine to your marble. Here’s how.

Step 1: Determine Your Type of Marble

There are two marble finishes: polished and honed. Most marble countertops are polished, giving them a glossy look. Manufacturers produce this shiny finish using a stone polishing machine that buffs the slab at high friction or through a chemical process.

In rare cases, kitchens or bathrooms will have honed marble counters. Honed counters have an intentional matte look, so you shouldn’t polish them. While honed marble is more common for flooring, you must ensure you have polished marble before continuing.

Step 2: Clean the Marble

Knock all crumbs on the floor and clean your marble with a stone cleaner or mix of dish soap and water. Dry the counters with a soft, lint-free cloth.

Step 3: Lift Stains with a Poultice

If the dull area of your marble is stained, remove it before polishing the counter. You have a few options:

  • Use a commercial marble poultice stain remover. You can find these on Amazon or at any major home improvement store. Follow the directions on the package. If you have colored marble, refer to your manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Make your own marble poultice stain remover. (Minor Stains) Mix baking soda with water until a thick paste forms. Place the poultice on the stain, and allow it to sit overnight. Scrape it off the following day and wash it with dish soap and water.
  • Make a DIY marble poultice remover. (Major discoloration.) If plain baking soda doesn’t work, replace the water with hydrogen peroxide to lift the discoloration. Mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda until a thick paste forms. Place the paste on the stain and allow it to sit overnight. The following day, scrape the poultice off and wash the counters with soap and water. Hydrogen peroxide has bleaching powers and is best for white marble – green marble may not respond the same.

Step 4: Polish Marble with Polishing Powder

Restore the glossy finish of your marble with a polishing powder. But always check for manufacturer recommendations before choosing a product.

The directions for most powders include wetting the dull spot, sprinkling powder on it, and buffing the counter with a soft cloth using circular motions. Once finished, wash the area.

Note: If a large portion of your counter is dull/etched, call in the professionals. DIY marble polishing is best suited for dealing with small areas.

Step 5: Seal the Marble for Protection

Marble is a porous stone, meaning it can absorb liquids and stain. To protect it, seal your marble 1-2 times per year using the sealer recommended by the manufacturer.

Sealing marble is a simple process that entails applying the product to the counters, allowing it to sit for a few minutes, buffing it with a cloth, and wiping excess off.

What About Marble Buffing?

An alternate method for restoring shine to marble is using a low-speed polisher attached to a drill. While drill buffers work well to polish marble, they can also cause an uneven finish. If you only have a small dull spot, we recommend opting for marble polishing powder instead.