• Homeowner Basic Course – Section 1: Surface Identification & Care

    Section 1: Surface Identification & Care

    The First Step

    The first step to the proper care of a surface is to recognize what that surface actually is before you apply anything to it.  Surfaces like marble, granite, stainless and wood don’t respond well to acids and tend to accumulate a dull residue from use of the wrong products.

    Natural stone includes Granite, Marble, Travertine, Slate, Terrazzo, Limestone, Sandstone, Onyx and more.  These are all stones that originated from the earth and require special care to not damage them and keep them looking their best.


    Granite & Quartz

    Granite is a resilient natural surface, popular for countertops and flooring and come in many different colors.  Granite can best be identified by its crystal like or salt and peppered appearance.  As you can see in these examples of Granite, there is a distinct crystal look to it.  Yet other Granite has more of a speckled or salt and pepper look. 

    Caution: Some cleaners that contain acid can be harmful to granite and most cleaning products will leave a residue, causing a dull film and leave oils trapped in the pores of the granite that emit odors, as the oils become rancid.

    The proper care for Granite is to use a high quality cleaner that is not only safe for the granite, but will travel into the pours of the granite, lifting out oils trapped inside, without leaving a residue.  Cleaning is the most important step with granite followed by applying a sealer.

    Sealing Granite is applying a safe clear durable substance to fill in its pores, that helps to keep out things that may cause stains such as red wine, coffee, B-B-Q sauce or colored sports drink.

    The only polishing of granite should be done by a professional as this is serious work.  A gloss conditioner may be applied to help bring out the inner beauty of granite, but beware that some granite does not change its appearance with gloss conditioners.


    Marble, Travertine & Terrazzo

    Marble is a beautiful natural surface with lots of character and comes in many different colors.  It is best identified by its veins that you can see in these images.  It typically has a more flowing look to it, almost as though you can see the layers of sediment building up over the years.

    Travertine is a type of marble with very large open pockets.  This is great for providing a rustic look.  Most Travertine has had its pockets filled, which can be detected by looking for many solid uniform colored spots that look different than the rest of the stone such as what you see in these photos.  Travertine is cared for same as marble and is included in this marble section.

    Caution:  Marble is largely made of calcium carbonate like that in an anti-acid.  Acid will eat the calcium out of the marble causing a damaged spot called an etch.  Thing that contain acid include coffee, sodas, most fruit juices, wine, vinegar, pickle juice, limes, lemons, oranges, many sauces, room fresheners, perfumes, glass cleaners and many cleaning products actually contain acids as well.

    An etch can look like a dull spot, or the surface may have a slight uniform etch to it, where the entire surface has a dull or warn look.  Adding a little vinegar to mop water is a frequent cause of this.

    The proper care of marble is using a high quality cleaner to keep it free form oils and debris that cause it to look dull, have an odor and may even stain it.  Keeping acids away from marble is essential for maintaining a high appearance.  Sealing marble is highly recommended; whoever it will not protect the marble from acids, but it will help protect it from stains.

    Marblelife Marble Polish may be used to remove etches and light scratches from marble in small areas such as counters, vanities, tables or small repairs to floors.  Large areas such floors are jobs for a trained Marblelife Service Professional and not a do-it-your-selfer.

    A gloss conditioner may be used to bring out the inner beauty of marble; however it should never be used on floors as this will likely cause the floors to become too slippery resulting in a slip and fall.

    Slate is another natural stone that has a distinct look like.  It looks flakey and typically has a rough natural texture to it.  It is cleaned and sealed like other natural stone.  Some may choose to use an enhancer to help bring out its best color.

    Other Natural Stone

    Other natural stone are cleaned and sealed much like Granite and Marble.  If you need to determine if a surface is real marble.  You can apply a small drip of vinegar in a hidden area for about 5 to 10 seconds.  If a light whitish mark appears, it’s marble.  If not it is some other natural or man made surface.

    There are many types of man made surfaces that look much like natural stone.  These are very uniform with little variation like you have seen in the previous marble and granite images.  We will not go into these, as our method of cleaning these surfaces is the same no matter what the surface is and shouldn’t require any other care beyond cleaning.

    Wood Flooring, Cabinets & Furniture

    The term wood today refers to various types of materials including Solid Wood, Engineered Wood, Laminate and imitation wood.  Solid wood is one piece of real wood cut to size.  Engineered wood consists of several layers of wood like in plywood with the top layer being the quality finished wood.  Laminate is a synthetic material that looks like wood glued on top of a fiber board type of material.  Imitation would be a completely man made material made to resemble the look and possibly texture of wood.

    The way we care for wood is all the same.  Keep in mind that most all wood materials used today have a urethane, acrylic, enamel or some other man made coating to help prolong the look and durability of the wood.  This means that whatever you use on the wood will not be touching the wood only the synthetic coating.  This means that the use of polishes and oil soaps only leave a residue on the surface of the synthetic coating.  This does not result in a clean surface.

    The proper care for these surfaces is to provide a good cleaning with InterCare Cleaner to remove dust, finger or foot prints and residues left by other products.  Any polishes applied to add to shine will also attract dust causing the surface to have a residue and become sticky and dusty quicker.

    Mirrors, Windows & Glass Cooktops

    These are easy surfaces to quickly clean when you use Marblelife InterCare Cleaner.  Oils and cleaning products are the most common cause of streaks on these surfaces.  Using InterCare cleaner removes the oils and residues leaving a true streak free clean.  Keep in mind that most glass cleaners are the cause for the laminate backing coming loose from the back of mirrors that result in those black spots around the edges.

    After spraying InterCare on a glass surface, wipe as needed to remove spots, finger prints and haze.  Before InterCare dries, turn your cloth over and buff dry to assure all streaks are gone.

    For Glass cook tops with heavy grease spray ample amounts of InterCare Cleaner onto surface thoroughly wiping complete surface area.  Wipe cleaner off with paper towel or rag.  Then lightly spray InterCare onto surface area a second time wiping and buffing off like normal until a streak free shine is reveled.

    Stainless Steel and Other Metal

    Avoid using cleaners that contain acid, as this may damage some metal surfaces.  Cleaning and removing stains are the only two processed that are needed with indoor metals.  Protecting against rust is needed for exterior metals because of rain and humidity.

    For cleaning Stainless Steel and other finished metals use InterCare cleaner to clean the surface and remove oils and residues.  This will revile a truly clean metal.  If spots or streaks are still visible, use Marblelife Soap Scum Remover to remove the stains from Stainless Steel.

    Tile & Grout; Ceramic, Porcelain, Mexican, Etc.

    You will use the same cleaning methods for all man made tiles including Ceramic, Porcelain, Mexican Tile, concrete as well as both sanded and non-sanded grout.  These are man made materials and as such are more durable against acid cleaners with the exception of the grout.  Grout is not to be cleaned using acids according to the manufacture’s label instructions.  Acids can cause grout to loss its color and even crumble out of the grout joints.

    Therefore we only use InterCare Cleaner for cleaning tile & grout of all types.  This assures a brilliant clean without causing damage.  Spray on surface and wipe like using any other cleaner.

    For cleaning grout, spray InterCare into grout joint and scrub with a soft bristle brush and wipe away dirty suds.  Wallpaper brush works best for cleaning grout and a toothbrush is best for the small detail areas and corners.  For maximum cleaning of really dirty grout use Marblelife’s MaxOut Grout Cleaner.

    Pour MaxOut into the grout joint and scrub with a soft bristle brush until dirty suds appear.  Promptly wipe away dirty suds with paper towel or rag.  Repeat if needed for seriously bad grout.  Afterwards clean remaining MaxOut off the grout and tiles with InterCare cleaner for a seriously clean tile floor, as this will deliver a highly professional grout cleaning.

    Plastic & Painted Surfaces

    InterCare is a fantastic cleaner for nearly every surface that you can use water on including painted surfaces and plastics.  It is great for wiping off hand prints and splatters.  With painted surfaces always test in an inconspicuous are first to assure that the painted surface is in reasonable condition before cleaning.

    Simply spray surface and wipe clean.  Avoid rubbing too much on painted surfaces as the integrity of some paint is not too good and the rubbing action itself could result in the paint coming off.

    Leather, Fabric & Carpet

    The cleaning of Leather can be done with InterCare Cleaner and a clean cloth.  Test first on an inconspicuous area to make sure that the die used on the leather is good and does not lift off.  Spray InterCare onto clean cloth and wipe the leather clean.  Be sure to buff dry.  Fabric can be cleaned in the same fashion.  Again make sure to test in inconspicuous are first.

    After testing the fabrics color fastness.  Spots can be successfully removed from fabric and carpet.  Spray InterCare either on clean cloth and rub out spot or spray directly onto dirty spot and rub with clean cloth or clean toothbrush it needed.  Wipe dirty suds away with cloth.


    The care of anything is the responsibility of the one caring for it.  These are cleaning suggestions that have been used by Marblelife Trained Professionals or that which have been provided from others and confirmed by Marblelife.

    Always do your due diligence, as exceptions to the rule do occur.  If you are unsure about caring for a surface, contact a Marblelife Cleaning Consultant for help, as they are these to help you to have a better experience.

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