Limestone is a sedimentary rock made of calcium carbonate and organic materials. Limestone deposits build over thousands of years. Limestone is a trendy choice of flooring for both residential and commercial buildings. This is because limestone flooring is not only very durable but also comes in a plethora of aesthetically appealing textures, designs and colours which drastically change the appearance of the room. However, without proper cleaning, the limestone flooring tends to acquire a scratched and dull appearance and suffers long term damage. Hence, properly cleaning limestone floors is imperative. One must be aware of the right methods to clean and maintain limestone flooring. Some of them have been mentioned here.
Removing dust and grit
Dust and grit should not be left on limestone flooring because the abrasive action of dust and grit scratches the limestone surface and causes it to lose its sheen. Untreated dust mop or soft broom can be used to clean dirt and grit. A vacuum cleaner can also be used for sucking up dust particles from the limestone flooring. A vacuum cleaner without a beater bar or canister type vacuum cleaner must be used for cleaning limestone flooring. It is necessary to vacuum or sweep limestone flooring daily because dust gets deposited on it every day. Placing mats at every entry point to the room is recommended to prevent excess dust buildup.
Use limestone cleaner
Acidic cleaners such as vinegar and lemon-based cleaning solutions must not be used for cleaning limestone floors. This is because acidic cleaners cause etching on the limestone flooring. Limestone flooring should be cleaned using pH neutral cleaners, specially formulated for limestone only. Soaps and detergents should also not be used to clean limestone flooring because they create buildups and damage the limestone. Each section of the limestone floor must be rinsed with water after applying the cleaner and needs to be wiped dry immediately. If hard water is supplied to the taps, then filtered water must be used to rinse the floor. The limestone cleaner must be applied twice a month.
Limestone flooring needs to be mopped now and then. The soft cloth must be used for mopping limestone flooring. Hard water must not be used for mopping the limestone floor. Excess water must be avoided because water gets inside the limestone through pores present on its surface, creating stains and discolorations on the floor. The mop must be squeezed to remove excess water before using it on the floor. The water in the bucket must be changed frequently so that dirt picked up by the mop is not transferred back to the floor.
Spills need to clean immediately. The porous nature of limestone enables the liquid to seep deep into the floor, which results in the formation of stains. Delay in cleaning the spill causes it to dry out and settle deep inside the flooring. Thus, it is not advisable to neglect spills.
Sometimes spills can escape attention and result in stains. To remove stains from limestone flooring, special stone and grout cleaners designed for limestone can be used. Poultice products are also available in the market, which removes tenacious stains by capillary action.
Steam cleaners are available on rent for deep cleaning limestone floors. Steam cleaning dissolves dirt particles and evaporates water present in pockets on the floor which cause discolouration and staining. Steam cleaning can be done once in a while.
Limestone is porous. Hence, sealing prevents stain formation and wear and tear. A sealant can be applied after every 1-2 years.