An older house made you fall in love at first sight because of its lovely mid-century contemporary design. However, there is something off about it. The bathroom’s cultured marble vanity tops have already turned yellow since they can be expensive to replace. Understanding why they turned yellow and what you can do to fix the damage will help you save money. So, how do you clean yellowed cultured marble, then?
Before you learn how to turn that yellowed cultured marble vanity white and clean again, first, you should know what makes up cultured marble, how it is fabricated, and why this is a favorite surface material in most homes built around 50 to 70 years ago.
Cultured marble – A quick history
The mere fact that cultured marble surfaces in older houses remain viable to this day is proof of the fabrication’s durability. They might have yellowed or have a few stains, but these can still be fixed. If you dropped hair dye on quartz or natural marble countertop, this would soon become part of the surface because the stone will absorb it. On the other hand, cultured marble is a solid surface material that will not absorb the chemicals you accidentally drop on it.
Developed during the late 1940s and 1960s, cultured marble has been engineered from a large percentage of pigment that adds color, resin, and marble dust. DuPont developed the cultured marble fabrication and Corian, another type of solid surface material developed during the 1960s and dubbed as engineered countertop. However, after the patent ran out, the rest of the manufacturers joined the revolution of solid surfaces.
For homeowners, the price was and remained to be affordable compared to marble, quartz, tile, and granite. After choosing the colors, the ingredients were poured into what looks like a large KitchenAId mixer. This was actually a Hobart mixer that served as the basis of KitchenAid’s appliance. Mixing continues until the swirl pattern is formed. The solution is then poured into the prefabricated mold where it is allowed to set.
Why does cultured marble turn yellow
Air is necessary for older cultured marble to breathe. If there is no good air circulation or a window in the room with a cultured marble top used, the vanity may turn yellow after some time.
One important consideration here is the age of the surface because as it gets older, it will also be subjected to cleaning for a longer time, often using abrasive or harsh products.
Before installing the top, a gel coating will be applied first as protection for the surface. However, this coating will get penetrated after years of using inappropriate cleaning products. Once this happens, what will be left behind is a cultured marble surface protection with no protection at all.
The surfaces of newer cultured marble today are made up of materials that can hinder the sun’s chemical reaction that penetrates the surface that forms the yellow tint. Yellowing may also occur because of old water buildup. If a decorative piece is left on the counter for many years without even moving it, this may lead to discoloration on the surface.
How to clean yellowed cultured marble
Using baking soda to clean cultured marble will worsen the disintegration of the gel coating that protects the surface. All types of abrasives are considered too rough for cultured marble. The experts recommend sticking with liquid solutions instead. You can use one capful of bleach combined with 32 ounces of water. You can spray it on the surface and allow it to penetrate for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, use a non-abrasive cloth to rub it. Rinse it with cool water, then buff dry.
When misused, peroxide solutions, vinegar, or baking soda slurry may only do more harm than good. A pH-neutral cleaner can be used instead, such as those used for cleaning natural marble. You can apply the cleaner and buff.
You can also apply a gel-coat finish every now and then to maintain the shine. Experts also suggest that shampoo or liquid cleansers can be used for cleaning culture marble shower stalls since soap scum may lead to buildup. Just make sure that you don’t use hot water when you rinse away these cleaning materials.
How to restore yellowed cultured marble
It is often thought that restoring yellowed cultured marble is difficult, but it isn’t the case. The main reason behind this misconception is that most people believe that specialized tools or cleaners must restore cultured marble to its original shiny and glamorous look. But, this is far from the truth. There is an easy method you can try to restore your yellowed cultured marble.
However, it is essential to note that this method will only work on smaller cultured marble surfaces. You might need to adjust the method slightly if you will be restoring more oversized items made of yellow cultured marble, such as a backsplash or the floor.
It is not hard to clean smaller cultured marble items like statues. All you need here is a cleaning solution.
- Get a plastic tub big enough to hold your marble item.
- Put enough water and Alka Seltzer or Polident Denture Cleaner in the tub, enough to cover the item when you dip it in the solution. Be careful when doing this to prevent damaging the item.
- Let the item sit in the tub for not over one hour before removing it.
- After removing the item from the tub, put it on a well-lit, dry, and warm floor away from direct heat and sunlight.
- Use a clean and soft rug to rub the marble down to dry it out completely.
- Check to see if it still needs another cleaning. Repeat the process if necessary until you have entirely restored your cultured marble to its original glory, just as how it looked the first time you got it.