How to Clean Marble
Q. We have tumbled marble tile in our newly renovated master bathroom shower. Can we use Clorox to control the mold/mildew in the shower without damaging the tile?
A. Congratulations on surviving a remodel; your bathroom sounds beautiful. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a recommendation for bleach usage on tumbled marble tiles. In general, we recommend against using any of our Tilex® bathroom cleaners (both with and without bleach) on marble, so I wouldn’t advise bleach usage here. Calcium carbonate, the primary compound in marble, can be highly reactive to both acidic and alkaline cleaners; your tiles may end up etched, pitted, or discolored. Since your shower is newly remodeled, hopefully you don’t have a mildew problem yet and can take steps now to avoid one in the future. Ventilation is key. A well-ventilated room will dry out quickly; using a squeegee to remove moisture from the shower walls will also help reduce mildew growth. As far as what cleaners you can use, I would start by checking with the manufacturer/supplier of your tiles to see what they recommend. I also found one web site to be particularly helpful with information on caring for tumbled marble, http://www.countertopspecialty.com, which includes suggestions for pH neutral cleaners suitable for marble. They also suggest keeping samples of your tile so that if you do end up with a mildew problem that needs a stronger cleaner, you can experiment on the sample tiles to see if limited use would be acceptable.