Seven Surprising Uses for a Pumice Stone

Use one to clean, scrub, and polish every surface.

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Pumice stones and sponges
Photo: Viktoriia Oleinichenko / Getty Images

What kind of cleaner are you? If you're like us, you may prefer DIY methods like using vinegar, lemon, and baking soda to brighten and disinfect surfaces. Perhaps a bleach-based all-purpose cleaner is your go-to. Microfiber cloths, electric power scrubbers, or a good old fashioned toothbrush may also have a place in your routine. But no matter how many cleaning products you have in your arsenal, there are some stuck-on messes and stains that just won't let up. Still, there's one product you may not have considered just yet: a pumice stone.

Some of the uses we've outlined involve the exact pumice stone found in nail salons or your personal spa kit, while others refer to a pumice-like stone, or a cleaning block that safely sloughs off frustrating stuck-on stains and grimy gunk. In either form, it's a non-toxic tool that all style of cleaners can get behind. Here, our experts share their favorite tips and tricks to using it at home.

It can make your toilet bowl sparkle.

"Have you ever considered using something similar to a pumice stone in your toilet? For a nontoxic cleaner that eliminates hard-water stains, toilet rings, rust, and mineral build-up in your toilet bowl, you cannot do better than a 'cleaning block,'" says Tony Cronk, president of Summit Brands, the manufacturer of the EarthStone Cleaning Blocks Collection.

"With the look and feel of a large pumice stone, cleaning blocks are actually made of recycled glass that has been ground to a fine powder and mixed with a chemical-free foaming agent," he explains. "By conforming to the shape of the surface being cleaned, cleaning blocks work fast and effectively on porcelain and ceramic toilet bowls, removing lime and scale buildup without the toxic acids and dangerous fumes found in chemical cleaners."

It can cut through greasy deposits on stove grates.

Pumie is another brand that Laura Smith of All Star Cleaning Services recommends. "They are the best tool around for busting through greasy deposits on stove grates," she says. "Be sure to keep your pumice stone wet while cleaning, and rewet often to prevent scratching. We keep ours in a cup of water and re-dunk every couple of minutes."

It can remove pet hair with ease.

From your frisky feline to your playful pup, shedding is to be expected if you own a pet. "Use a pumice stone to remove pet hair from upholstered furniture and car upholstery," says Melissa Maker of Maker's Clean. "The way to do it, is to use short strokes working in the same direction. Have a vacuum handy to clean up the loosened pet hair." Just make sure the stone is wet.

It's great for cleaning the water lines of swimming pools.

"Pumice stones are also great for cleaning calcium deposits around the water line of swimming pools," says Smith. "Scrub gently with light pressure, and always test in an inconspicuous area prior to going to town with it. Often pumice stones will appear to be leaving scratches behind when they are not, so if it looks like it is causing scratching just wipe over with a damp cloth and usually the 'scratches' will disappear."

It can clean off years of stuck-on food in an oven.

"Pumice stones can remove years of burnt-on food inside an oven or on old barbecue grill grates," says Melissa Homer, chief cleaning officer of MaidPro. So long as your cleaning block is wet, you can get to work loosening up the burnt gunk without ruining the enamel in your oven.

Maker suggests following that up with a scrubbing solution: "Use a spray of two cups of water and one tablespoon of dish soap. Leave the solution to soak for five minutes and then use a heavy duty scrub pad and the combination of the pumice (abrasive), dish soap (loosens grease) and scrub pad (friction) will lift off the difficult build up."

It can make a porcelain tub shine.

"Hard water lines on the inside of a porcelain tub don't stand a chance against a pumice stone," notes Homer. "But the tub itself doesn't stand a chance if it's fiberglass, so be sure you know what type of tub you have before you go to town scrubbing. The key with pumice stones is to only use them on durable surfaces like porcelain and ceramic and to always keep the surfaces lubricated with some sort of all purpose or bathroom cleaner." Furthermore, never use a pumice stone on stainless steel or other stove top materials, as the stone will leave deep scratches that cannot be removed.

It can de-pill your clothing.

How much did you spend on that cashmere sweater—and, more importantly, how often do you wear it now that it's covered in unsightly pills? Some of your favorite pieces may be subject to the unraveling of fibers, but that doesn't mean they can't be fixed. "Work in gentle strokes in the same direction, being gentle as to not damage the fabric. Finally, use a lint roller to pick up any remaining lint left on the garment," suggests Maker.

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