The objective of this article is to provide the Commercial Market with a step by step heavy or deep cleaning process for unsealed limestone floor cleaning.

We believe to better understand heavy or deep limestone floor cleaning and its grout, a basic understanding of limestone is needed.  Limestone is porous and easily stained; it can be affected adversely by acidity if proper daily maintenance is not maintained.  Limestone can be found on walls, floors, furniture, etc.  Limestone comes in various finished surface options, honed or medium to a highly polished surface.

Limestone often contains variable amounts of silica in the form of microcrystalline quartz (chalcedony, flint, jasper, etc.) or siliceous skeletal fragment (sponges, diatoms, radiolarians), as well as varying amounts of clay, silt and sand sized and carried in by rivers.  The primary sources of the microcrystalline in limestone are marine organisms. These organisms secrete shells made of aragonite or calcite and leave these shells behind after the organism dies.  Some of these organisms can construct mounds of rock known as reefs, building upon past generations. With that being said we know limestone has a higher level of porosity and is more susceptible to staining issues. 

So proper daily maintenance and periodic heavy or deep limestone floor cleaning is an absolute must to maintain great looking limestone floors. The correct and proper maintenance of limestone floors will also extend the life of your floor.

The heavy or deep limestone floor cleaning process must be precise; it involves proper chemical, dilution, brushes and equipment.  The heavy cleaning process below will outline cleaning a 500 square foot floor using hand held equipment.  For large floor areas an automatic scrubber can be used to save time and labor.


Limestone Floor Cleaning – Heavy Cleaning Floor and Grout without Sealer and Wax


Limestone Floor Cleaning – Products, Tools, Equipment and Supplies

  • Perform heavy cleaning using the following tools and cleaners.
  • Swing machine
  • Flo-Pac scrub grit brush (Be sure the proper clutch for your swing machine is included on the scrub grit brush)
  • Wet dry vacuum
  • Flo-Pac scrub grit doodle bug with handle
  • Diversey Suma Break-Up Degreaser
  • Neutralizing solution
  • 3 wet mops
  • 3 mop buckets


Limestone Floor Cleaning – Heavy Deep Cleaning Procedures

  1. In one mop bucket mix a 4 to 1 dilution of Suma Break-Up Degreaser, 4 gallons of water to 1 gallon of Suma Break-Up Degreaser (mop bucket #1).
  2. Flood mop floor with Suma Break-Up Degreaser (clean approximately 50 square foot section at a time).
  3. Work Suma Break-Up Degreaser onto floor and grout using swing machine and Flo-Pac scrub grit brushes, making 3-4 passes in each area is in most cases sufficient.
  4. Using wet dry vacuum pick up Suma Break-Up Degreaser solution.
  5. Flood rinse floor with cool clean water (bucket and mop #2).
  6. Using wet dry vacuum pick up rinse water.
  7. Flood rinse floor with neutralizing solution (bucket and mop #3).
  8. Using wet dry vacuum pick up neutralizing solution.
  9. Flood rinse floor with neutralizing solution (bucket and mop #3).
  10. Using wet dry vacuum pick up neutralizing solution.
  11. Damp mop floor with neutralizing solution (bucket and mop #3).



Limestone Floor Cleaning – Hard to Remove Stains


Occasionally you may find a stain on the limestone surface that can’t be removed by the heavy cleaning process outlined above; you may want to use a poultice to remove the stain.  There are many mixtures of poultices, you should start with the mildest mix and work up to a stronger mix if needed and so on.   

First Identify the Stain: Before you create your own poultice to remove stains, from limestone you must determine what composes the stain itself. This may not be an easy task especially if you weren’t the one to cause the stain.

Stains generally fall into the following common categories:

  • Oil based stains – such as cooking oil, food stains, grease, etc.
  • Metal stains – caused from iron, copper, etc.
  • Organic stains – tobacco, fruit, cosmetics, etc.
  • Biological stains – mildew and algae
  • Ink stains – pens and markers


As with any project cleaning task, results are only as good as the crew performing these tasks.  In order to achieve desired results and save future time and money train the crew, teach them how to become efficient and the professionalism and goal/quality oriented result will be realized. 


Limestone Floor Cleaning – Website Information


Diversey Suma Break-Up Degreaser


Written and contributed by:  Kerry G. Brooks, Consultant and owner of ICA Solutions, LLC

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