The internet is awash with ‘cleaning hacks’ and tips recommending bicarb of soda, water and lemon, soda crystals or vinegar. And homemade cleaning products have a strong appeal.
How pH levels affect limestone
However, limestone is, of course, a natural stone. As such, it is particularly sensitive to highly acid and alkaline liquids.
Lemon and vinegar, for example, are both very acidic. Meanwhile, soda is a strongly alkaline substance. Either of these could erode surfaces including worktops, mosaics, floors and tiles. Equally, they could harm any protective sealant you have previously applied.
So it makes sense to choose a gentle product which is pH-neutral.
The pH scale in more detail
The pH scale runs from 0 to 14. A 7 score is safely neutral. Anything below that number is acidic. Then anything above it is considered to be alkaline.
With a pH of around 3, lemon and vinegar are not ideal for limestone cleaning. A typical commercial toilet cleaner, in contrast, will have a pH of 1-3. These kinds of acidic products are good at shifting rust, calcium and similar ‘non-organic’ stains. Tile cleaners and bleaches are on the other end of the scale with high values of up to 13. These are good at removing organic dirt, oil and grease. But, again, they’re potentially among the worst things you could use on a limestone surface.
Even a number of ‘non-toxic’ products on the market can damage natural stone. So you need to study the label carefully on all-purpose cleaners. Check to see whether it states that it’s acid-based. And always have an eye out for the small print.
Why adding more product won’t always work
Another misconception is that just adding more of the same product will do a more effective job. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. If you use something in a high concentration, you risk leaving behind a residue or film behind on your limestone. This could make cleaning harder for the future.
Talk to us
We’re limestone cleaning specialists at Royal Stone Care of London. And we’re always happy to share our expert knowledge of looking after this gorgeous natural stone. Maybe you’re unsure about being able to clean your worktop, floor or bathroom yourself. Or perhaps you need something beyond the usual day-to-day limestone cleaning. Either way, get in touch. We also offer limestone restoration and limestone chip repair in London. And we work in commercial and domestic properties.