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If you are lucky enough to have a limestone floor in your home, you want it to remain just as beautiful as the day it was laid. The best way to preserve the appearance of your new limestone floor is to look after it through regular cleaning and maintenance. Here are our top tips for how to clean limestone to ensure that your floor can continue to elegantly endure.

How to clean limestone: every day

You don’t need to wet clean your limestone floor every day. However, ensuring you are removing dirt and debris from the surface of your limestone floor is important. Small grains of sand, grit and soil can become embedded in or scratch the surface of your limestone. We recommend that you use a combination of a dry Swiffer mop and silicone molt net spray to remove this surface dirt.

You should coat your Swiffer mop head with the spray and leave it for 5 minutes. This will allow the solution to dry onto the mop head. It will then become like a magnet for dirt and debris. Sweep the mop over your floors and it will gently lift away any dirt. It’s that simple! In exchange for just a few minutes of light work you can protect your limestone floor from scratches and embedded dirt.

Be sure to thoroughly clean or replace the mop head before the next time you use it. Some debris, such as sand particles, can be sharp. Trapping dirt particles like this in the mop head then using it repeatedly is the equivalent of wiping sandpaper all over your clean limestone floor. It could scratch the surface of your limestone, which could then require resurfacing to remove the scratches.

How to clean limestone: every now and then

Despite your best efforts to keep everyday dirt at bay using the method above, your limestone floor will require the occasional wash with a traditional mop and bucket. Muddy footprints and spillages will require a bit of wet cleaning, and you also want to keep the germs away with an antibacterial detergent.

We recommend investing in a heavy-duty Kentucky mop and ladybug bucket system, for both the quality and ease of use. You should fill your mop bucket with cold fresh water and dilute your detergent accordingly. It is important when mopping to ring out any excess water using the ringer on the ladybug bucket. This helps to make sure you do not leave excess mop water to dry on the tiles. It is likely the mop water will contain some of the dirt you just tried to remove as, like all natural stone, limestone is porous. The water will help the dirt to penetrate deeper into the surface of the stone and allow it to dry into the grout lines.

Other considerations

You should check your detergent to ensure that it states that it is stone safe. Alkaline cleaners are safe with stone but will strip the sealant. Acidic cleaning products can erode the surface of your limestone, and that will result in etch marks. Etch marks are caused by acidic substances reacting with the surface of the stone and producing chemical burns. This shows up as unattractive marks that cannot be wiped away. You would require professional treatment to restore your limestone if it becomes etched. As a pH neutral detergent that is stone safe and can be easily diluted with your mop water, we recommend using ‘Fila Cleaner’. This product is a great limestone cleaner. It’s perfect for emulsifying dirt without effecting the sealant on your limestone or damaging the stone itself.

When you begin mopping, you should start furthest away from the door. The floor by the door is where you are likely to get the most foot traffic, so likely to be the most soiled, with the further edges being comparably cleaner. You don’t want to spread dirty water to the cleaner areas of the floor. Work in small sections to make sure you don’t miss any. You should then try to leave each area of the floor as dry as possible.

If your limestone floor is heavily soiled or you have a very large surface area to cover, it might be wise to change the mop water at least once. This will ensure that you aren’t washing your dirty floor with dirty water. With ‘Fila Cleaner’, however, if you dilute the product in the water correctly, it is not necessary to rinse the floor with fresh water as it does not leave any residue on the stone.

How to clean limestone: what to AVOID

We do not recommend that you use a hoover to pick up dirt. This can scratch the surface of your stone. As previously mentioned, limestone is naturally porous, so it is important to keep the regular cleaning process as dry as possible. Use the dry Swiffer mop and silicone molt-net spray combination mentioned previously instead. It’s much quicker than bringing out the hoover too!

Avoid mopping too frequently. Your limestone will have been treated with an impregnating sealant prior to installation to protect from moisture. However, over time new capillaries can become exposed due to everyday wear and tear. You may have also had a topical surface sealant applied after installation. Unfortunately, this will also naturally degrade over time. This puts your limestone at risk of water damage if not properly cared for. Continuous over wetting of natural stone can accelerate this process of deterioration. It’s not advisable to use a steam cleaner on stone floors for the same reason.

Avoid leaving water residue on the tiles after mopping. The best solution is to invest in a small wet vacuum to extract the mop water back off the floor. We would regard this as the gold standard when it comes to maintaining your limestone floor. A wet vacuum draws water out of your stone floor’s exposed capillaries. It will also draw out any water that may have pooled into the grout. There is usually bristles on the nozzle which are soft and will protect your limestone floor from scratches.

When to call in Athena Stonecare

To start fresh again and make maintenance even easier, Athena Stonecare can resurface your floor and restore it close to its original condition. You may have only just been made aware of the importance for maintenance of your natural stone and you think your limestone floor is beyond saving. This is simply not the case! Often clients first use our services when their floor has been in situ for as long as 20 years.

Even with brand new limestone floors, things can go wrong. Limestone is an acid sensitive stone. We have seen newly laid limestone floors that have etch marks. Accidents happen, and spillages of drinks or use of the wrong cleaning products are often the reason people call Athena Stonecare.  We can restore your floor by grinding out these marks and then we can refinish your stone to whichever finish you desire. Polished or honed or something in between: the choice is yours entirely.

Introducing Athena Aftercare

As experts in natural stone care, we want to make sure that your stone continues to endure elegantly within your home. That doesn’t just mean restoring your stone when things go wrong, but also helping you to maintain it.

We are always happy to hear from you if you have any questions about your natural stone. However, we want to make sure you are equipped to look after your stone without being an expert.

To support you with this, we are delighted to present our new Athena Aftercare guide. Packed with tips and advice for maintaining natural stone, the guide was created to help our clients to care for their stone as part of a bespoke maintenance regime. We would also like to share it with anyone who is lucky enough to have a limestone floor or any natural stone in their home.

If you would like a free copy of Athena Aftercare, simply contact us here.

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