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How to clean limestone floors

Limestone floors provide a hardwearing surface finish that’s easy to keep spotlessly clean.

Like all natural materials, it’s important to use the correct cleaning and maintenance products, and the correct methods when cleaning limestone tiles.

Here’s how to carry out a routine and a deep clean of your for existing limestone floors and sealed limestone tiles.

 

What is the best cleaner for limestone?

Limestone is an acid sensitive material and all surfaces, from a pale honed tile to a black limestone paver, should be routinely cleaned with a pH-neutral detergent.

General household cleaners should be avoided – they tend to be quite acidic and will etch the stone and the grout joint, and will damage the sealer.  They will also dull a polished surface.

Surprisingly, many eco-treatments aren’t suitable for limestone; they may be kinder to the environment but they can still damage natural materials as they often contain acidic ingredients used to boost limescale and soap scum removal.

Always check with your tile retailer or the tile manufacturer; they will be able to recommend the best regime and maintenance range for your limestone and tile finish. We recommend British manufacturer, LTP’s ECOPROTEC® range.

Here’s more information about their products:

https://ecoprotec.co.uk – to see the product range.

http://ecoproductselector.com – to help you find the right product

 

Can you steam clean a limestone floor?

This isn’t recommended. Super-heated steam can damage any sealer applied and compromise the protection.

In some cases, it can cause ‘spalling’ or flaking of the limestone.

Aged limestone floor tiles

Be careful of cleaning hacks

Homemade cleaning solutions are very popular but, once again, they are not suitable for limestone because they tend to be acidic.  The most common culprits are vinegar, lemon and baking soda.

 

Bleach should also be avoided; although it is at the other end of the pH scale, being alkaline rather than acidic, it is still too harsh for limestone. This diagram shows the pH scale, with pH neutral solutions sitting in the middle.

pH acidity scale

pH acidity scale highlighting which cleaning products are suitable for use on limestone

 

How often should you clean a limestone floor?

A regular ‘routine’ cleaning regime will make ongoing maintenance easier, retaining the limestone’s aesthetic and promoting a hygienic environment.

How often this is needed will depend entirely on the setting, so this could be beneficial as a daily or a weekly clean, depending on how heavily your floor is used and how quickly it gets dirty.

Here’s how to give your limestone floor a routine clean

  1. Sweep or vacuum the floor, to remove dust and loose dirt.
  2. Dilute your cleaning product in warm water, according to the instructions on the packaging. Use a clean bucket or bowl and a well-wrung cloth or mop.
  3. At a high ‘routine cleaning’ dilution, most surfaces will not need to be rinsed.

Once grease and dirt builds up on a surface, tiles will be more difficult to clean and may become slippery.

A periodic deep clean may be necessary in high traffic areas, like kitchens and hallways, or after very busy periods, to thoroughly clean a surface.

Sometimes, the same detergent can be used for routine and deep cleaning, but the dilution and method will be different in each case.

When you deep clean using a lower dilution, you will need to rinse the surface to remove residue – if the residue isn’t removed, it will create a film that will attract dirt, making future cleaning more difficult.

How to deep clean a limestone floor

  1. Sweep or vacuum the floor to remove dust and loose dirt.
  2. Dilute your cleaning product in warm water, according to instructions. We recommend ECOPROTEC® Stone & Tile Intensive Cleaner.
  3. Carefully follow the application instructions. Generally, detergent is applied with a mop and left to work for 5 – 10 minutes, whilst keeping the floor damp with additional solution. It’s then agitated with a pad, the dirty residue is removed and the surface is rinsed thoroughly.
  4. You may need to repeat the treatment if tiles are severely contaminated.

N.B Always seek advice before deep cleaning, to check that you are using a suitable product. Bear in mind that the stone may need to be resealed if the surface is completely stripped.

Here are more tips to help you maintain your limestone floors.

Maintaining seamless surfaces

If you have installed the same limestone finish inside and outside through bi-fold doors, it’s important to maintain both areas to avoid an unsightly contrast. Just like indoor surfaces, outdoor limestone slabs will benefit from being sealed.

A quality water-based sealer will protect the slabs from stains, as well as the elements, including frost, lichen and algae, plants and leaf matter, and BBQ spillages.  It will also make ongoing maintenance easier.

 

Sealed polished limestone flooring

How to clean external limestone floors

External limestone slabs are maintained in a similar way to indoor tiles. There are specialist paving cleaners that can be used to give a routine or deeper clean; some have an anti-bacterial action that helps prevent the regrowth of mould spores, whilst others tackle issues like black spot.

If black limestone or darker slabs become faded in the sun, there are also treatments like ECOPROTEC® Blackstone Sealer & Restorer which can be used outdoors to restore the appearance and provide protection.

 

Stain removal

A good quality sealer should protect against everyday stains – but specialist treatments can also be used to safely remove specific marks, like grout residue, rust and – outdoors – black spot, lichen and algae.

Surfaces can also be deep cleaned, or stripped and resealed.  Always seek advice before using these products, to ensure that they are suitable for your limestone and that they will provide the best results.

If you’re installing limestone tiles in an area where they are likely to pick up stains, damage or marks then our guide explains what to consider when choosing limestone can help you pick the best tiles for your flooring.

 

If you need more advice on the best maintenance regime for your limestone, please get in touch. Call us on 01993 824200, email [email protected] or pop into the showroom.

Related Limestone Flooring Guides

How to measure a room for limestone flooring.

How to pair underfloor heating with stone floors.

Our pale limestone flooring top picks

What makes Indigenous Flooring so special

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