white carrara marble tileThere’s no dispute that white carrara marble tile is a thing of beauty but does it require a special process or effort when it comes to maintenance over other types of marble?

It’s easy to confuse white marble for white “Carrara” marble.   There are certainly Carrara look-a-likes or people who may try to sell you Carrara marble that is white but quarried from some other country.

The reality is there is only one Carrara marble and it comes from the Pyrenees in Carrara, Italy.   It might look similar but if it’s not from Italy it’s not Carrara.

Bianco Carrara is the least expensive of the white marbles coming from this region. Small pin holes are common in Bianco Carrara, as well as within other white marbles that are produced in the surrounding area. It is also a softer stone, and may be susceptible to scratching or abrasion.

Regardless, white Carrara marble tile is commonly used in home design due to its clean, aesthetic qualities — but owners need to be prudent as this white marble comes with cleaning caveats.

Cleaning White Carrara Marble Tile

The three most common issues associated with white Carrara marble is scratching, staining and dulling of a polished surface. When marble stains, it’s generally because watery or oily liquids have found their way into those tiny microscopic spaces between the marble’s crystals.

white carrara marble cleaningEven with the application of a penetrating sealer, you will merely narrow the voids making them less impervious to penetrating liquids by capillary action. Liquids will still get into the Carrara marble, however, you have bought yourself some time.

With a good penetrating sealer, you may have up to 24 hours versus 30 minutes or less to wipe up any stains or spills before they become lodged in too deep and become that stain you now need to deal with.

In addition, because Carrara marble contains iron deposits, any seepage of moisture into the stone can create a catalyst for rust.

And besides top seepage, the iron content may bleed through the surface if the stone is getting moisture from another source, like a water leak behind the white Carrara tile.

Carrara maintenance starts with these basics

The good news — marble that is nearly pure white — which is why Carrara marble is preferred for its clean look — is more difficult to scratch than marble that is highly colored or streaked. This is because the colors in other types of marble are a result of impurities like clay or silt that were part of the original limestone.

  • A honed (matte finish) surface will show stains more readily than polished — when the surface isn’t reflective (as in highly polished), color differences are more noticeable.
  • Stains that cannot be wiped off the marble tile surface and have penetrated will need the help of a poultice to remove.
  • Rust stains on Carrara marble due to its iron content may need multiple poultice applications to work whereas most stains will be removed with a single application.
  • Because marble is a carbonate, spills of lemon juice, vinegar or other acids trigger a fizzy-type reaction that eats into the marble on the surface and leaves a dull mark on an otherwise polished surface. Acids and Carrara marble (or any marble) don’t mix and contact should be avoided.
  • Water should always, always, always be wiped off Carrara marble tile using a soft cloth or chamois or rubber-tipped squeegee. Using a squeegee first makes the rest of the wiping easier. Hard water deposits, if left unattended, will etch the marble’s surface. This will take you from minor maintenance to damage control!
  • Use pH balanced mild soap and water for cleaning AFTER you’ve dry mopped  or swept any fine particles (dust or grit) from a Carrara tile floor surface
  • Change water frequently so you don’t leave any residue
  • Ensure the surface is completely dry after cleaning
  • Do not place hot items on white Carrara marble tile, if installed in your kitchen or bathroom, as heat will discolor the marble and can lead to cracking