Tips on Keeping a Limestone Fireplace Clean

A limestone fireplace with an iron hearth.

A limestone fireplace is a very durable, long lasting fireplace that can bring years of enjoyment and heat on those damp, chilly days. Limestone is a great material for building things like fireplaces, but there are some problems with it. Limestone is a natural rock that is rather soft and porous.

If you have a fireplace, chances are you are going to use it. That use means that there is a strong potential for marks, scratches, stains, and other things that can damage your limestone fireplace. Great care should be taken when using it. Do it yourself type homeowners can maintain their limestone fireplace and keep it looking new for many years if they follow a few simple steps.

Keeping Limestone Fireplaces Clean

After using your limestone fireplace you may notice that there are some marks you want to clean off. When some people clean they just grab the first thing that they can reach under the kitchen cabinet or in the hall closet. Since limestone is porous and relatively soft, using commercial cleaners, especially those with abrasives in it, will cause quite a bit of damage to the fireplace. Waxes and sprays can also cause discoloration and dark patches on the surface of the limestone.

Fireplaces look good when they are adorned with several accessories that accent the color, or texture, of the fireplace. However, vases with water are the worst thing you can put on a limestone fireplace. Direct contact with the limestone surface can create a dark ring that will not clean off.

Logs and other combustible materials should also never be set directly on top of the limestone surface. Dirt, rocks, and small sticks can scratch the surface. Other types of liquid or stains will also mark the surface.

Seal Your Fireplace

This is especially important for new homeowners, or newly built limestone fireplaces. Sealants will not change the color of the fireplace but will protect it from stains and scratches. Apply the sealant in two coats letting the first coat completely dry before applying the second. The local hardware store should have several types of sealants available. Relatively inexpensive, sealing your limestone fireplace will protect your investment for several years before reapplying.

Clean with Cotton

Instead of using commercial cleaners, the best way to clean a limestone fireplace is to use a soft, cotton cloth dampened with a very diluted liquid soap. Scrub the limestone in a circular motion and not a strong, forceful back and forth rub.

Stronger stains should come off after several minutes of scrubbing. Do not panic and use powerful chemical cleaners, steel wool, or anything else that will scratch the surface. Take your time and clean your limestone fireplace carefully with these tips.