The Truth About How to Clean Limestone June 02 2016, 9 Comments

If you read it on the internet, it must be true, right? Wrong. For as many facts as you'll find when surfing, there is an equal amount of fiction, and while a lot of that misinformation may be harmless, taking the wrong advice can not only be expensive, but dangerous. When it comes to learning how to clean limestone, stick with the experts, or risk causing irreversible or costly damage, to your natural stone tile.

What is Limestone?

Limestone is a sedimentary rock, comprised mainly of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and formed in one of two ways:

  1. Water containing CaCO3 evaporates, leaving behind sediment; when the area fills with water again, its weight packs down this sediment, creating limestone.
  2. Sea creatures such as mussels, coral or clams, contain calcium carbonate in their bones and shells, and when they die come to settle on the ocean floor. The pressure of the water compacts this material over time to make limestone.

Due to its composition, limestone is typically light in color depending on the addition of other types of sediment or impurities, with shades ranging from white to tan or gray. It is a very soft stone, which, if scratched, crumbles to powder; should it come in contact with acidic liquids or harsh chemicals, limestone will effervesce, bubble and deteriorate, effectively destroying the stone.

Bad Advice

Homemade cleaners are gaining popularity, as housekeepers and homeowners alike look for cheaper, greener solutions for removing dirt and grime. Whether used alone, or in a list of ingredients, vinegar is commonly referenced on Pinterest, blogs and forums across the internet, for cleaning everything from windows to floors, and even recommended as a solution for how to clean limestone. Vinegar, along with bleach, or any other acidic substance will eventually erode the surface of the stone, and is by no means safe to use, reinforcing the need to seek out professional advice when it comes to how to clean limestone, or for the care and maintenance of any of the natural stone surfaces within your home.

How to Clean Limestone the Right Way


For kitchen or bathroom counters, where daily maintenance is required, a neutral, multi-surface cleaner is recommended, to cut through everyday grease and grime, reduce water spotting, and leave a streak free shine. For best results, use a soft cloth or sponge, clean up spills immediately and use coasters, trivets and cutting boards to avoid knives, hot pans or acidic liquids from coming in direct contact with the stone; at the end of each day, use a complete countertop care product, to clean, polish, condition, enhance, and protect.


If you're wondering how to clean limestone flooring, the same advice applies: vacuum or sweep using a soft bristled broom or brush, and wash floors one or more times per week, using a neutral no-rinse floor cleaner designed for use on natural stone flooring. Use felt pads under furniture to prevent scratches, and clean up spills as they happen to avoid staining.

Heavy Soiling

Once stains or heavy grime take hold, a more intensive cleaner is required to restore the natural beauty of the stone. Choose a product that will penetrate deep in to the dirt, dissolving it so you can easily rinse it away.

If you have any questions about the proper care and maintenance of your limestone surfaces, pleae call 561-994-4668 to speak to myself or someone on our team for step-by-step guidance on what you'll need and how to use it. You can also email me directly at or download our free Stone Cleaning Checklist below to get started.