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The Best Way For Cleaning Limestone Fireplaces

The Best Way For Cleaning Limestone Fireplaces

If you have a limestone fireplace, you will want to know how best to clean it. It is not as simple as giving it a wash with soap and water as the material will react with anything acidic. Being as many cleaners include citric ingredients, you will need to find an alternate approach. Similarly, if you use soap, residue will tend to build up over time and eventually the surface can end up looking very poor.

Remove Grit

The first step when cleaning a limestone fireplace should be to remove all surface dirt. The quickest and easiest way to achieve this is with a vacuum cleaner. This should also minimise any abrasion which might ensue from sweeping bits of grit across the surface of the limestone.

Use Appropriate Cleaning Products

You can get stone cleansers with a neutral pH, including many which are specifically intended for limestone. This is a good place to start and you can use a toothbrush to work on problem areas. If you have particularly stubborn stains – such as those requiring some form of oil solvent – there are also specific poultice products, which can draw out stains over a period of time.

Rinse and Dry the Stone

After cleaning the stone, you can rinse it with soft or distilled water and then dry it straight away. While water isn’t as bad as many drinks which could be spilt on the stone, it may still result in stains or discolouration.

Steaming

This is another option for cleaning limestone. As the stone is somewhat porous, dirt can accumulate and be hard to get out, but steam cleaning is a viable method. Again, make sure you dry the stone afterwards.

Sealing

Limestone is usually sealed in order to protect it to some degree and it will therefore need resealing from time to time in order to preserve it. Those who produce limestone tiles often suggest leaving a drop of water on one for five minutes as a test as to whether this needs doing. If the water is absorbed or leaves a dark spot, the material needs resealing. There are sealants specifically intended for limestone and it is highly recommended that you make use of one rather than experimenting with something else, or simply assuming that a given product will be okay.

Things to Avoid

One of the best ways to keep a limestone fireplace looking its best is to avoid allowing it to get dirty in the first place. Clearly, you have to use it, but there are certain things which are easy to avoid and which will help keep it looking its best.

Never use wax polishes as they will tend to make the stone look duller and darker and may also result in a patchy finish. You should also avoid kitchen and bathroom cleaners for the reasons given at the start of the article. They are often acidic and may well react with the stone.

Avoid resting drinks of any kind on the stone’s surface as well. Stains and rings are difficult enough to remove at the best of times, but depending on the drink, you might end up doing rather more significant damage.

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