Cultured marble is made from marble dust and high strength polyester resin in a process that involves several steps. It is usually stronger than common marble and is widely used in bathroom surfaces and products like shower pans, bathtubs, vanity tops, shower surrounds, and bases. Though it is durable and hard, it needs proper care and maintenance to last several years. Cleaning cultured marble is not very hard, but one needs to know about what should or should not be used on them to avoid possible damage. This is because the use of wrong products can result in considerable damage, especially to the gel coat that imparts that brilliant glaze to these products.
Regular cleaning is the best way to keep your cultured marble free from stains, soap scum, and dirt. If possible, excess water from the shower base and surrounding areas should be squeezed out after each shower to prevent water stains.
For stubborn hard water stains, you can use vinegar for cleaning the marble surface. Vinegar can also be used to remove soap scum without damaging the seal. Just spray some distilled white vinegar on the surface and let it stay for sometime, around half an hour. Then rinse the surface with water, and wipe with a soft damp cloth. Never use warm water on the surface of cultured marble, even for cleaning purposes.
Use of abrasive cleaners like scrubbing sponges, scouring powder, and steel wool should be avoided, as they can scratch the surface. They can also damage the seal applied on the surface of cultured marble. Instead, you can use a mild soap or detergent cleaner or an all-purpose cleaner for the daily cleaning of marble surfaces. Simply spray the cleaner on the surface and then gently wipe with a soft and damp cloth. Use of cleaners that contain harsh chemicals such as acids is not advisable. Use water-based cleaners or those that are pH-neutral. Never begin cleaning without first wetting the surface.
Baking Soda and Ammonia Cleaner
For removing stubborn stains from cultured marble, you may require a harsher cleaner. Mix 1/4 cup each of baking soda, vinegar, and ammonia and dilute it in eight cups of water. Wipe the stains with this solution and leave on for 10 minutes. Then wash off with cold water. Repeat if necessary. Alternatively, mop the area with a soft rag that has been dipped in hydrogen peroxide and let it stay overnight. Wipe off the stain the next morning and rinse with water.
Turpentine and Denatured Alcohol
Many people prefer to use turpentine, paint thinner or denatured alcohol in such a situation. But before applying such products, they should be tried on a small inconspicuous area to avoid any major damage. You can also take the advice of a professional or the manufacturer of the product to clarify any doubt regarding the use of such substances on your cultured marble products.
Care and Maintenance of Cultured Marble
Your cultured marble may occasionally require waxing to restore its original glaze and shine if it has become dull. For polishing, you can use either car wax or countertop wax. Water and silica products are also suitable for polishing them. Remember that cultured marble is vulnerable to scratches and dents. Therefore, take appropriate precautions and do not drop any heavy object on them. Do not expose them to harsh chemicals and even hot water. Small dents on their surfaces can be easily covered with wax, but for serious damage, consider the help of a professional.
If maintained properly, cultured marble can be quite durable and can last for several years. Proper cleaning is also a crucial part of daily care and maintenance, which can be efficiently performed by following these simple tips outlined above.