Marble is a beautiful surface for counters and tabletops. But because it is quite soft and porous, marble can easily be stained, scratched, and chipped. To help prevent staining, marble surfaces are often coated with protective sealers. Depending on use, these coatings should be reapplied every year or two. Regular cleanings should be as gentle as possible. Dust the surface once or twice a week with a soft cloth. Wash the marble periodically with a cloth dampened with warm water, and, if necessary, a bit of mild dishwashing liquid. Remove the soap with another damp cloth. Never use dusting sprays or abrasive cleaners on your marble. Apply marble polish (available in hardware stores) on a regular basis to maintain the stone's luster.