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Cleaning Limestone Surfaces

Cleaning Limestone Surfaces

Limestone surfaces are a popular choice for renovations and improvements providing the luxurious expensive look of marble but an a more affordable old-world price. Most limestone is usually white or off-white in color with unique and naturally occurring patterns throughout the stone.

Beautiful as they are, they come with a downside that they require more care than other stone types, such as granite. This is because compositionally, limestone is more porous and sensitive to acids attack. The porosity makes it more prone than other stains and discoloration. (We once were asked to seal a brand new set of limestone stairs after removing a coffee stain… it took 6 seal applications to finally seal the stone… and each day the property manager dropped a new cup of coffee as a test.) Once sealed it usually just takes another annual application to maintain, but the first application is a doosey. Once sealed spills are easily cleaned up without staining.

Of course we still recommend cleaning them up immediately, as a sealer does not protect a surface from acid attack, so that orange juice is still going to leave a mark, it just won’t be a stain. Spill marks and drop marks on limestone result from spills, spritzes and drips of acidic liquids such as lemon, lime and orange juice. Wiping up these types of spills isn’t enough, as one needs to neutralize the acids least they leave a mark. MARBLELIFE Marble & Travertine Cleaner is formulated to do just that not just halting acid attack but surrounding and lifting the acid away from the surface so that its damaging effects are halted for ever more. Wiping acids with water simply dilutes them and reduces the effect.

Daily Cleaning of Limestone Surfaces

  • First and foremost, never use harsh, acidic or otherwise abrasive cleaners on limestone surfaces.

Be aware, the high porosity can pull your cleaner into the stone so an acidic cleaner can do far more damage attacking and weakening the stone from within the surface. It is imperative that you clean with a non-acidic cleaner, and ideally a surfactant based cleaner, as you need to break the water tension to allow the cleaner to enter in and flush out the pores. For similar reasons an acidic cleaner with surfactants could make your acidic cleaner even more damaging. MARBLELIFE Marble Cleaner Concentrate and MARBLELIFE Marble & Travertine cleaner are non-acidic surfactant based cleaner designed specifically for marble and limestone to facilitate cleaning, neutralizing damaging acids, and flushing open pores in order to maintain the beauty of this elegant surface.

  • If the surface is going to be used for food preparation, clean afterwards with a soft cloth, skipping sponges or scrubbers that may scratch the finish. Limestone is a stone, but one of the softer varieties. Trap a piece of sand or bone under and hard sponge of scrubber and it could result in a scratch to your surface. Cloths are better at surrounding the hard particle and reducing the down pressure and scratch potential by dissipating that pressure more evenly over the surface.

Stain Removal from Limestone Countertops

  • If your stone does get stained, you will need to apply a poultice to draw the stain back out. Wiping at it will not help once the spill has penetrated the surface. Mix baking soda with the appropriate solvating material to draw out the specific stain. You can reach out to MARBLELIFE for guidance on selecting the best starting point. MARBLELIFE’s STAIN REMOVAL GUIDE is a real time saving friend here as it provides more than 70 different recommendations tailored to the type of stain you are seeking to remove.
  • Scratches will require a professionals assistance. Never attempt to remove with steel wool, as this can result in a grey color infused into the surface, and potentially rust stains later. Scratches can be polished out and the repair blended back to match the rest of your surface.

If you still need a New Year’s resolution

  1. Seal that Stone. It remains the most forgotten single item a stone owner can do to protect their investment. Like insurance when you need it you are so happy to have it. You will feel the same the next time something is spilled on your stone.
  2. Don’t Assume Cleaners are Equal – Everyone is selling but not ever product is capable of delivering. Our call volume jumps every time there is a commercial recommending hard water stain removers, as hard water and limestone/marble/travertine are all made of the same chemical CaCO3, what dissolves hard water stains will dissolve and damage your stone as well. Use a cleaner designed specifically for your surface and you will avoid a world of frustrations down the road….otherwise you may see MARBLELIFE again sooner than you think. 20% of our business is restoring surfaces damaged by an inappropriate cleaner.

Make keeping your limestone in good shape your new year’s resolution for 2019 and for any other questions or concerns, call your local MARBLELIFE office and a knowledgeable stone craftsman will be happy to assist you.


Call MARBLELIFE at (888) 524-3372 or visit us online to secure your FREE ESTIMATE at or to to secure the care products appropriate to your surface, and your desire for an easy effective cleaning solution.


Marble Cleaner Concentrate, 32oz by MARBLELIFE


MARBLELIFE(R) Marble Cleaner Concentrate is designed for regular cleaning of marble, granite, travertine, slate, terrazzo, concrete and other types of natural and man-made floors.

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Marble Cleaner Concentrate, 32oz


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