5 Things You Should Never Do When You’re Cleaning with a Pumice Stone

published Mar 13, 2022
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Hand holding a pumice stone in front of an open oven
Credit: Joe Lingeman

It’s hard to believe that a substance gentle enough to be used on bare skin is also tough enough to tackle some of the biggest cleaning problems — but that’s exactly the case with hardworking pumice stones. 

Pumice stones come straight from nature. They’re actually porous stones that form when lava and water mix, and they are often used to exfoliate or soften skin. But they also deserve a spot in your cleaning arsenal. In fact, pumice stones are coming back on the cleaning scene as a go-to solution for stubborn messes, including in the oven, on glass casserole dishes, on mineral deposits in toilet bowls, and more.

While pumice stones can erase messes you might have thought you’d have to live with forever, you do have to be careful when using them. They’re made of stone and using them haphazardly can easily scratch surfaces and cause irreparable damage. Here is what you should never do when cleaning with pumice stone.

1. Don’t ever use it without testing an inconspicuous spot first.

Even if you’re sure the item you are cleaning is totally safe for using a pumice stone, always test first. You never know if your item has a finish that could be damaged or if it’s made from a different material than you originally thought.

2. Don’t ever use it on a fiberglass or acrylic bathtubs.

Pumice stones work like magic to clean hard water stains on porcelain tubs, but they’ll scratch fiberglass tubs permanently. If you’re not sure which type of tub you have, hold a magnet to the side. If the magnet doesn’t stick, it’s more than likely fiberglass or acrylic. In that case, keep those pumice stones far away. 

3. Don’t use a pumice stone without wetting it first.

A pumice stone should always be used wet. Water softens the stone and makes it less likely to scratch the surface you are cleaning. If you’re not cleaning near a sink, fill a bowl with water so you can dunk your pumice stone periodically. 

4. Don’t use a pumice stone on stainless steel.

Pumice stones will scratch stainless steel, ruining its appearance. Don’t ever use a pumice stone to clean stainless steel appliances, pans, or faucets.

Credit: Jake Decker

5. Don’t use a pumice stone on glass.

Even milder abrasive products can scratch glass shower doors or glass stovetops. A pumice stone will etch this type of glass permanently. There’s one exception: tempered glass used in bakeware, as in your casserole dish. Tempered glass is four to six times stronger than regular glass.

Have you cleaned with pumice stone? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.