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Marble Expert Shares Tips on Cleaning Red Wine

Congratulations.

Your new stone counters look fabulous. But how are you going to keep them looking that way?

Deirdre Fahy, of Amendola Marble and Stone in White Plains, says it's important to make sure the stone is sealed with a silicone-based penetrating sealer. All natural stone is porous, she explains, though the degree of porosity varies.

With white marble counters so popular in kitchens and bathrooms, Fahy sometimes finds herself playing devil's advocate with clients. White marble, such as Carrara, Statuary and Calacatta, are high maintenance because they stain and etch, even when properly sealed. The sealer simply buys time to mop up a spill, Fahy says. She recommends re-sealing all marbles twice a year.

"The first question I ask a client is "Who's going to use the kitchen?"" she says. "Do you entertain a lot? How many people will be cooking? Do you have young children?" There have been times when Fahy has told clients that white marble simply isn't right for their lifestyle.

Fahy, who has been selling stone and tile in the Metropolitan area for more than 20 years, has several tips to help keep marble counters looking good. "If you spill anything acidic, wipe it up immediately with a non-ammonia cleaner," she says. Acids include red and white wine, lemon and lime juice, grape juice, cola and vinegar.

Oils also cause stains. Red wine or grape juice stains can sometimes be lifted by a baking soda poultice. Make a paste with baking soda and water, pat it over the stains, cover with plastic wrap taped down with painter's tape and leave overnight. If that fails Fahy suggests hiring a professional stone restorer.

People looking for a low maintenance kitchen counter should consider granite, she says. "The reason we use granite in kitchens is that it's not as porous as marble," says Fahy who has honed granite in her own kitchen. "You can do anything to granite. Nothing harms it."

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