Can Steam Vapor be Used to Clean Limestone?

Updated February 21, 2017

Limestone is a natural stone that is common in building and manufacturing. Properly caring for the limestone will help it last as long and will keep it looking new and pristine. One common problem with cleaning limestone is removing dirt and debris from limestone crevices. You can do this effectively with steam vapour.

Steam Vapor Advantages

Limestone is sensitive to acid based cleaners. Because many gentle cleaners are acid based, this can make cleaning your limestone surfaces difficult. One advantage to using steam vapour is that you don't need to use any chemicals. This also will allow you to control chemical use in your home and keep your air environment free of those contaminants.

Steam Vapor Dangers

There are some cons to using steam vapour to clean limestone. The steam might penetrate the small cracks, nooks and crannies on the surface of the limestone. This will clean the limestone, but it also will embed water into the surfaces, which could weaken the limestone over time. Avoid this by not using steam to clean old limestone or limestone that is not sealed.

Using Steam Vapor

Use a steam-cleaning machine that was designed for use on natural stone. Often, these machines will have a microfiber covering that will protect the surface of the limestone as you clean. It also will diffuse the vapour so that it is not as hot and is less likely to damage the limestone. Always soak up as much of the water as possible with clean cloths and towels. Let it air dry before moving furniture and decor over the limestone.

Using Steam Extraction

Steam extraction machines work the same as steam vapour machines excect they extract the water from the surface of the limestone. This prevents the negative effects of cleaning limestone. Most extraction machines are expensive. If you don't want to purchase a machine, rent one from your hardware or home improvement store.


Because the steam is leaving the machine at a very high temperature, it can cause serious burns if you don't use the steam machine properly. Always wear gloves, long sleeves and long trousers to avoid burning your skin. Keep children and pets away from the area while you are working and before the floor is completely dry.

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About the Author

Kaye Wagner has been working in the fields of journalism and public relations since 2006 and is a recipient of a National Hearst Award. She is particularly interested in home-and-garden projects, as well as beauty and fashion writing. An avid traveler, she also writes travel reviews and guides. Wagner earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.