5 Surprising Things You Can Clean in the Kitchen with a Pumice Stone

updated Mar 7, 2021
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Hand holding a pumice stone in front of an open oven
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Fun fact: The pumice stone, a porous lava rock, traditionally used for personal grooming, can also be used to clean around the house. It’s not a particularly common house-cleaning tool, and it must be used with caution because it can scratch and damage many types of surfaces. But for some particularly impossible messes, a pumice stone is just the ticket. I added a pumice stone to my cleaning arsenal when I had a very stubborn hard water stain in one of our toilets. The adorably named Pumie helped me erase it for good. 

Since then, I’ve also used the stone for cleaning paint stains from our utility sink and rubbing out hard water lines in our tubs. While I don’t reach for my pumice stone often, knowing that I have it in my cleaning tool “back pocket” — and knowing how to use it without cauing damage — makes me feel confident tackling messes I’d resigned myself to accepting. Specifically, pumice stones can clean some of the most persistent problem areas in the kitchen. 

Here are five surprising things you clean in your kitchen with a pumice stone.

Note: Remember that a pumice stone should always be used wet. One way to keep it sufficiently saturated is to clean with a cup of water near you and dunk it in the water periodically.

1. Glass Baking Dishes

I have a robust collection of large, rectangular glass Pyrex containers and we use them for everything. Years of heavy use have left several of these dishes with harmless but unsightly baked-on brown grease stains. I could probably clean them off with determination, time, and lots of elbow grease and Bar Keepers Friend, but using a pumice stone is a better use of my time. I’ve found that it wipes those smudges right off.

2. Your Oven 

First, make sure it’s okay to use a pumice stone on the type of finish your oven interior has. If all checks out, you’re in luck because a pumice stone can tackle the caked-on, baked on splatters that make you put off cleaning the oven. Again, make sure your stone stays wet while you’re cleaning. Fashioning it into a point as you use it can help you get into corners. You may find the process so rewarding that you’ll clean your oven with a pumice stone from now on. 

3. Oven Grates

Oven grates are a whole different level of pull-your-hair-out frustration. Soaking oven racks in the bathtub helps soften and loosen a good portion of the gunk, but if your grates are anything like mine were, there’s still a great deal of scrubbing and fussing over them that has to happen if you want them truly clean. A pumice stone cuts down drastically on the elbow grease and time necessary to achieve the clean grates you covet. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

4. Rusty Tools 

I used to think that rusted tools were goners, but a pumice stone pulls through in this situation, too. Set down a towel on a flat, stable surface. (On the counter near the sink is a good spot so you can keep your stone wet.) Then rub your wet pumice stone over the affected areas of your tools. The towel will catch the rubbed-off pieces of pumice. Be sure to dry your tools after cleaning off the rust. I particularly appreciate this tip for the shears I use to cut the fresh flowers that sit on our kitchen table. 

5. Hard Water Stains on Granite

If you have hard water, you’re probably familiar with the hard water rings that form around your faucet and the bases of your handles on the counter. And you know that not much seems to touch them. If you’d like to wipe them away and don’t mind a little maneuvering to get to them, a pumice stone can help. Although granite is harder than pumice, be sure to test an inconspicuous area first to ensure the stone won’t scratch your counters. Next, turn off the water to your faucet and disconnect the fixtures. (You don’t want to scratch them while you try to clean the rings.) Scrub with your wet pumice stone, clean the area off with a damp towel, and replace the fixtures when you’re done.

Do you use a pumice stone in the kitchen? Tell use how in the comments below.