How To Clean Limestone

How To Clean Limestone – For An Enhanced Look

Limestone is beautiful, and so many unique and stunning things can be created using it.

Limestone can be used for exterior walls and often comes in a tan or a gray.

If you are lucky, you can spot marks where fossils used to be after being on the earth for so long.

You can use limestone for benchtops, retaining walls, it can even be used on the floor.

Just like everything else, limestone will get dirty, and it will need to be cleaned.

Limestone needs to be cleaned in a certain way with the right products as it can become damaged quite easily.

How To Clean Limestone?

You can rinse the limestone down with a soft spray from your hose. The water wont damage the stone and it can help to remove dirty and soften stains.. You want to mix in a couple of drops of a stone cleaner into some tepid water. Ensure you are using soap that is neutral and safe for limestone; otherwise, it can damage it.

Cleaning Limestone Properly

You need to wipe down the surface of the limestone first before you go ahead and start cleaning it.

If the limestone is coated, you can wipe it over with a lint-free cloth, and if bare, you can use a soft bristle brush.

You want to work in small sections first; then you can rinse it over with some clean water once each section has been cleaned.

Ensure the cleaning solution doesn’t dry on the surface as it can cause residue and steaks.

If the water you are using becomes dirty or cloudy, ensure that you change the water often so you aren’t washing the limestone with dirty water that will create stains once dried.

You can go ahead and buff the coated limestone with a soft cloth. If you have a big surface, you might need to allow for a few cloths so you can ensure the whole area is dry.

If you have rough, bare limestone, you will need to allow this to air dry only.

What Is Limestone? Are There Different Types?

Limestone is actually a sandy rock that is composed mainly of aragonite, and calcite which are minerals.

Limestone can also contain skeletal fragments from long ago, such as foraminifera and coral.

It is a good idea to seal limestone due to the fact you cannot use many cleaners or stain removers because of the chemical sensitivity and porosity.

Polished Limestone

Polished limestone is a beautiful, highly reflective, glossy surface and isn’t very porous.

The polished crystals will enhance the grain and bring out the true colors. To polish limestone, grit up to 3500 is used to get the effect.

Did you know the shine actually comes from the reflection of the natural stone crystals?

You need to ensure that you are taking care of your limestone properly, as improper maintenance can wear the polish or limestone down along with heavy foot traffic.

Tumbled Limestone

Tumbled limestone is a rough texture that you can get when small pieces of marble or limestone are tumbled to gain a more worn appearance.

Honed Limestone

This type of limestone has a low sheen or flat matte gloss added to it. You will find the surface is not porous but very smooth, and there are wider gaps within the surface, unlike polished stone.

It is of medium density and works well for the low traffic parts of your home. The downfall here is the colors are not as beautiful as what comes in the polished stone.

Sand Blasted Limestone

The pressurized flow of water and sand will actually give you a matte finish on this type of limestone.

Bush Hammered Limestone

A textured surface is created on limestone using a hammer as the pounding action is what creates the texture.

This can actually reduce the color of the stone, so it will not be as vibrant as the other.

Special Care For The Different Types Of Limestone

Limestone requires special care so the uniqueness and beauty can stay there over time.

All it takes is a few simple maintenance and care tips that will help you to preserve the beauty of your limestone for years to come. It is recommended that you carry out a periodic cleaning of the limestone.

Before you start doing a detailed clean, there are a few important steps you need to take into consideration.

You want to reduce the damage to the stone as much as you can, which can happen when you clean too rough, use the wrong tools, or you might use cleaners that are just too harsh for the limestone.

It is vital that you understand and can recognize which type you have. There are many limestone finishes, but the most popular is polished, raw, and honed.

There are several important do’s and don’t’s when it comes to limestone which will help to protect it.

If you have limestone flooring, you want to dust and clean it often and ensure you use non-slip mats in the high traffic areas and if you have limestone benches, use coasters and trivets to protect the coating.

Surfaces should only be cleaned with the right soap for the right job and surface. Ensure after cleaning; the coated surface has been rinsed well. If you have any spills, blot them up as soon as they occur to avoid staining.

It is important that you don’t use acid-type cleaners such as vinegar and lemon juice on any type of limestone coated or not.

Don’t be tempted to give it a spray with bench spray or bathroom cleaner while you are already cleaning the bathroom. This can cause damage.

Don’t even use bleach or ammonia, or more importantly, don’t mix those two together as they can cause a toxic gas that can be lethal.

You should never mix chemicals or ingredients together unless the instructions say to do so.

You also want to avoid vacuum cleaners as the wheels can cause scratches on the surface of the stone, especially if the wheels have dirt or small rocks stuck to them.

How To Clean Limestone Rock

There are many surfaces among homes that can be made of limestone like shower walls, countertops, and tiles.

Limestone can absorb any spillage and become stained quite easily.

Due to the porous nature of the rock, it will not be able to handle cleaning products as they are too acidic and can end up actually eating into the surface.

You can still clean the limestone if you do it correctly.

If you have a stain that has gone into the surface of the limestone, you can use a poultice to clean the stain as long as it is the type of poultice meant for limestone.

Poultice is a powder that can be stirred into water and out over the stain. The poultice can draw the stained particles out. Ensure you follow the instructions carefully.

Cleaning A Limestone Fireplace

If you own a limestone fireplace, you will know we are right when we say you need to clean it every so often.

Do you actually know the right way to clean a limestone fireplace? No worries, we have all the information here that will help you clean your limestone fireplace.

First of all, you need to make sure you are using the right cleaning products. If you have a certain type of limestone, you need to know the right cleaner to use to help avoid causing any damage to the limestone.

Make sure you read the labels on the cleaning products and avoid any acid-based cleaners for your fireplace. Acid-based cleaners will actually corrode the limestone over time.

When your fireplace is in use, you will have soot, which will occur no matter what you do.

To clean this, you need to vacuum it up first as you don’t want to spread the soot all over the limestone, which will cause staining you won’t be able to get out.

Now you can grab a clean, soft cloth and dampen it with fresh water and wipe the soot away from the door, ground, and other places around the fire.

If you have extra stained soot, you can use a detergent inside the water but ensure that you don’t get any splashing on the limestone.

Now you can use your cleaner and only dampen the sponge and wipe down the limestone.

Give it a rinse over once you are done if the cleaner’s instructions say to do so, then dry the area after that.

Using Stain Removers

If you have extra, extra, extra tough stains that you just can’t get off with the simple steps of washing, you can purchase a limestone stain remover.

The stain remover works by taking out the stains and oil without causing any damage to the limestone.

Sealing For Protection

It doesn’t matter whether you have had your limestone fireplace for years or whether it just got installed; the point here is sealing your fireplace is a great benefit.

You need to seal the limestone once a year to help preserve it and add protection against stains.

What Cleaners Should You Avoid On Limestone?

When you are dealing with any type of limestone coated or not, you need to be careful just what cleaners and ingredients you are using to clean with.

Things like vinegar and lemon juice may be natural, so we think they are good to use, but in fact, they can damage the limestone.

Here are a few cleaning solutions you want to avoid on limestone:

Bleach, acid-based cleaners, lemon juice, vinegar, ammonia solution, and soft scrubs.

How To Remove Limestone Marks Like Juice Or Wine

If you leave spills like wine or juice for a while, they will end up soaking into the limestone and permanently stain it.

If you happen to spill dark-colored drinks or foods like spaghetti meatballs, the sauce will stain, so you want to clean this up as soon as it occurs.

You can try using a very soft toothbrush and work it into the stain going in a circular motion with a limestone cleaner.

If this doesn’t work again, you might need to try the poultice mixture to try to draw the stain out that way.

How To DIY Poultice Mixture

You can make your own poultice mixture by using hydrogen peroxide and ¾ cup of flour and mix until you have a paste-like consistency.

Now you can apply the mixture to your stain and allow it to sit on the stain for 24hrs or until completely dried. You can use a soft-edged scrapper to remove the dried mixture.

Removing Tough Stains From Paving

 If you have stained limestone paving, you can use a product called LTP’s Grimex which can help to remove stains from limestone.

It is important to always test the cleaner on a spot of limestone that you cannot see, like at the back or underneath.

You don’t want to coat a large area only to realize it has caused damage or discoloration. You need to dilute the Grimex product in a bucket with ten parts of warm water.

You can apply the solution to the limestone with a cloth or mop if you have a large area.

Make sure the area is covered evenly. You can agitate the mixture with a soft brush and let it sit for ten minutes to react.

You will need to ensure the area is kept wet. Apply more solution if the area is starting to dry. After ten minutes, you can go ahead and clean off the solution with a mop and clean water.

Removing Mineral Stains From Limestone

Sometimes rainwater can get into the cement and sand mortar underneath the limestone slabs, which once dried can actually increase the alkalinity of the area, which can then go up to the limestone surface and leave mineral salts in the stone.

While this is normal, it can be frustrating to see gray or white areas which can be noticeable in the lighter colored limestone.

You can get rid of the stains with a product called Azpects Efflorescence Remover, which is good for removing salt deposits.

When using this product, you first need to ensure that you test on an inconspicuous area beforehand to see if there is a reaction, then go ahead and remove any moss or loose dirt from the surface of the slabs.

Do not apply this mixture when the temperature is very low or when there is frost. You also want to avoid direct sunlight.

This result of this product can be reduced when used in cooler temperatures, and you might need to allow for longer cleaning and drying times.

To use this cleaning solution, you need to dilute 100ml of it in a liter of water and saturate a clean cloth with it, then apply it to the area affected.

You can use a spray bottle as well, and ensure you wear protective gloves when handling. If the stain is heavy, you can add 200ml to one liter of fresh water.

You need to allow the mixture to settle for one hour then you can apply another lot. Now leave for 24hrs so the mixture can deeply penetrate the stain and start neutralizing the salts.

After the 24hrs, you can go ahead and wash the surface with a hose using a gentle spray. Now allow to completely dry.

Restoring Faded Limestone Paving

 If you have black limestone that has begun to fade, there are products out there on the market that can help you restore the dark tones back into your limestone paving.

Black limestone will unfortunately fade and go gray over time, and this is no one’s fault and only occurs due to the chemical reaction that happens if there is acidic rain where you live.

The UV light also is to blame, which causes the black limestone to lose its color and become more of a steel gray.

When fading occurs it’s down to how much rain you get and when you get it, along with the amount of sunlight the limestone is exposed to. Paving will also fade if there is a high amount of foot traffic.

Pre-sealing The Limestone

It is important to pre-seal your limestone before it is installed. Limestone can have soluble salts, which can become discolored permanently from the installation.

The stone supplier or installer will be able to give you advice as to whether your type of limestone should be pre-sealed.

You can use a product called Aqua Mix ProBlock, which is a sealer that helps to repel stains that are caused by minerals in the water.

Picture framing stains are when the water is soaked in from the back of the limestone when it is being installed.

If you are applying a final surface seal, you don’t want to apply any pro block to the surface as it can stop the enhancing sealers from penetrating the limestone.

Sealing The Pre-Grout

If the stone doesn’t have to be sealed, it is a good idea to apply a coat of sealer onto your surface before you start grouting.

This will work as a grout releaser and help with the clean-up process of the grout. This part is important as most cleanups contain acidic cleaners which cannot be used to get rid of the grout residue that has already been cured.

If you have a surface that is tumbled, bush-hammered, or sandblasted, you want to apply some grout release. If the surface is honed or polished, then you can benefit from using a final sealer.

Grout Haze Remover

It is important within three to ten days that you remove all the grout haze. It takes three days for the grout to get hard and cure, and if you leave longer than ten days, you might need professional help to remove it.

The grout haze can be easily removed using a Nanoscrub, and if you used a grout release, you could use a heavy-duty tile and grout clean, and for epoxy grout, you can use a sealer and coating remover.

Sealing Your Paving After It’s Installed

It is important that you seal your paving so you can prevent any stains and the growth of algae or green moss. You might want to consider sealing the paving so you can keep the dark tones.

Ensure you check properly what effect you want as some sealants are designed to enhance the colors, and others are only for sealing and protecting.

Sealing at the end can also help protect your limestone from general wear and tear.

If you are getting your limestone installed professionally, then the installer will have their favorite sealers they would recommend.

Some people like to leave their limestone to naturally weather for a year before they seal it, then there are others who like to seal it as soon as the installation is complete.

Each has its own pros and cons that the professional will go through with you.


Limestone is very beautiful, and it can give off plenty of unique styles and designs.

From flooring to walls and shower stalls, limestone is well used and very versatile as long as you look after it properly and use the right products and tools to avoid discoloration or damage to the limestone.

Ensure you use a sealant every few years so you can prevent stains and bring out the bold tones of color. Enjoy your limestone for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Clean Limestone

Can Bleach Damage Limestone?

It is best to avoid using any strong chemicals like bleach. They can do more harm than they do good. Bleach can ruin the limestone surface and is not recommended. There are plenty of other cleaning products out there that are safe for limestone, so there is no need to use bleach.

Can You Use Baking Soda On Limestone?

Baking soda is great for cleaning around your home and for removing stubborn stains and odors. Baking soda is also not recommended for use on limestone as it is too caustic and can end up doing damage to the limestone. Look for a cleaning product that is safe for use on limestone.

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