Limestone is a hardwearing surface that’s really easy to maintain, but correct cleaning products should always be used. All limestone tiles, regardless of colour and finish, are sensitive to acid, so they should be cleaned with a pH-neutral detergent. General household tile and surface cleaners tend to be acidic and will etch the stone along with the grout joint and damage any protective sealer applied. They will also dull a polished finish. Even quality ‘eco’ surface sprays and anti-bacterial sanitisers often contain acidic ingredients, so always read the small print to check if a product is suitable.
Home-made cleaning hacks & steam cleaning
Homemade solutions and steam cleaning are two other cleaning methods to avoid. The most common homemade hacks – vinegar, lemon and baking soda – are all very acidic and will damage limestone.
Bleach should also be avoided; whilst it is alkaline, rather than acidic, it is still too harsh for natural stone. Steam cleaning isn’t recommended either, as it can damage a stone sealer and compromise protection. Intense heat can also cause ‘spalling’ or flaking of the limestone.
What to use for routine and deep cleaning
A regular ‘routine’ clean will maintain a hygienic environment and a tile’s aesthetic. Once grease and dirt builds up on a surface, tiles will be more difficult to clean, and they may become slippery. A periodic deep clean in high traffic areas may also be necessary. Often, the same detergent can be used for routine and deeper cleaning, with the dilution ratio adjusted in each case. This is the case with ECOPROTEC® Natural Stone and Porcelain Aftercare Cleaner – the detergent that we recommend for limestone floor tiles.
Methods for routine and deep cleaning
Routine cleaning with ECOPROTEC® Natural Stone & Porcelain Aftercare Cleaner:
- Sweep or vacuum the floor, to remove dust and loose dirt.
- Dilute 2 or 3 capfuls (5 capfuls on dirtier floors) in a bucket of warm water.
- Mop surfaces and allow to dry. Does not require rinsing. Highly polished surfaces should be gently buffed using a clean dry towel to finish.
For machine application with a ‘scrubber drier’, the cleaner should be diluted as follows:
1 : 30 in warm water for light soiling
1 : 20 in warm water for medium soiling
1 : 10 in warm water for heavy soiling
Set the release rate as normal, scrub and extract. On polished surfaces use the lightly soiled dilution ratio.
How to maintain a seamless surface, from home to garden
If the same limestone tile is installed from inside to outside – for example, through bi-fold doors – it’s important to maintain both areas to avoid an unsightly contrast. Whilst ECOPROTEC® Natural Stone & Porcelain Aftercare Cleaner can be used on outdoor slabs, a specialist external treatment will help tackle issues specific to paths and patios, like staining from leaf and plant matter that can cause green/dark discoloration and create a slip hazard. We recommend ECOPROTEC® Stone and Tile Intensive Cleaner.
How to remove stubborn stains
If staining is still present on a floor after routine cleaning, we recommend use of an intensive cleaner like ECOPROTEC® Stone and Tile Intensive Cleaner. Various solutions are also available to safely remove specific stains, like rust, cement, grout and salt residue. The full range of ECOPROTEC® intensive cleaners are available on the website. Always check that the product is suitable for limestone. If the treatment is designed to strip the surface, you will need to re-apply a sealer to reinstate stain protection.