How To Clean And Restore A Limestone Shower

Limestone Shower Cleaning Tips

By Troy Cantini

Limestone is an extremely soft and delicate stone and when installed in a tile shower it must be properly cleaned and cared for.  Only professional stone specific cleaners and soap scum removers should ever be used in a limestone shower. Consumer level shower cleaners can be acidic and caustic and cause discolorations and etch marks in the limestone. Even consumer level non acidic shower cleaners have the potentional to put blemishes on delicate limestone tiles.

cleaning and restoring limestone shower

Regularly cleaning of the soap scum and hard water deposits is essential in a limestone shower.  Soap scum that is allowed to accumulate on the delicate limestone can be difficult to remove without scratching the limestone. Not allowing soap scum and hard water deposits to build up on the limestone is the key to keeping your linestone shower looking clean and new.

Calcium and lime deposits can start forming under the soap scum and these calcium and lime deposits can actually start eating away at the delicate limestone.  Periodically cleaning and removing the soap scum will help keep these deposits from forming and protect the finish of the limestone. Soap scum and shampoo deposits can also leave a chalky looking residue on the shower that distracts from the look of the shower.

limestone shower with soap scum build up

When cleaning a limestone shower you can not use any type of acidic cleaning products.  You also have to be careful even when using professional alkaline tile cleaning products on limestone. Improperly applying even professional cleaning products can stain or damage the finish of limestone. Limestone is also an extremely soft stone and any type of abrasive scrub pads or scrub brushes can easily scratch or dull the the finish of the limestone.

A professional level soap scum remover like MB-3 is the best way to remove soap scum in a limestone shower.   MB-3 is a professional non acidic soap scum remover that will effectively remove soap scum without damaging the finish of the limestone. MB-3 also works to clean off hard water deposits on the limestone tiles.

applying soap scum remover to limestone shower

When cleaning limestone you should always properly dilute your chemical cleaning products with water before applying them to the limestone.  It is also important to water down and get the limestone wet before actually applying any type of cleaning solution to limestone. MB-3 should be diluted 2 parts warm water with one part MB-3.

You can use a spray bottle to generously apply the MB-3 onto the limestone shower walls.  You should use a soft scrubbing sponge to gently scrub the limestone shower tiles to loosen up the soap scum. It is important not to let the MB-3 solution dry on the shower walls. You should keep applying more MB-3 solution as needed to keep it from drying on the shower walls. Keep scrubbing the limestone shower walls with the soft scrub brush until you have loosened up and removed all of the soap scum from the limestone shower walls.

A more aggressive type of scrub pad can typically be used to remove the soap scum on the limestone shower floor.  Shower floor tiles are typically smaller mosaic tiles that are not polished like the wall tiles. Aggressively scrubbing these mosaic floor tiles will not typically damage or dull the finish of these mosaic tiles. Shower floors usually accumulate the most soap scum so it is usually necessary to aggressively scrub them to remove all traces of soap scum.

Many limestone showers will also have moldy caulk that needs to be replaced to make the shower look like new again.  When re-caulking a limestone shower you should take extra care to not scratch the limestone when removing the old moldy caulk. The soft limestone tiles can easily be scratched when slipping while using a razor blade scraping tool to remove the old caulk.

limestone shower after cleaning soap scum

Sealing the limestone shower after cleaning it is also extremely important.  A high quality stone sealer will protect the limestone tiles from the damaging effects of the shower water. Stone sealers will also keep soap scum and hard water deposits from being absorbed by the limestone. Deep cleaning a limestone shower will usually remove any sealer that has been previously applies so it is always a good idea to seal the limestone shower after it has been cleaned. Most limestone showers should be regularly deep cleaned and sealed at least once per year. After cleaning, sealing, and re-caulking a limestone shower you should wait at least 24 hours for the sealers and caulk to dry before using the shower.

Regularly wiping down and maintaining a limestone shower after taking a shower is also extremely important.  After using the shower you should wipe it dry it to keep the soap scum and hard water deposits from building up. A PH neutral stone cleaning product can be used to gently clean the shower without removing the stone sealer that has been applied. It is also a good idea to only use liquid soap when showering in a limestone shower. Liquid soaps will not leave a chalky soaps scum film like bar soaps can.

Over time all limestone showers will eventually lose their original polished or honed finish and must be professionally polished by a professional stone restoration contractor.  A professional stone restoration contractor will use diamond pads to give your limestone shower tiles a highly polished or honed look depending on how shiny you want your limestone tiles to be. You should discuss your limestone shower restoration options with a stone restoration contractor to find out what is the best option available for restoring your limestone shower.

NATCO Related Articles>

How To Remove Shower Mold

Mold will naturally grow in a tile shower and it is important to periodically kill and remove this mold.

Read more»
Stone Sealer Reviews

Stone sealers come in many formulas and they vary in how good they protect your natural stone tiles.

Read more»
Sealing A Slate Tile Shower

Slate showers need to be sealed on a regular basis to keep water from damaging the slate.

Read more»
How To Re-Caulk Tile Shower

Caulk is the last line of defense to prevent water from getting from getting into your walls in a tile shower.

Read more»