A pumice stone is a porous, rough volcanic rock that forms when hot lava cools quickly. The porous nature of pumice makes it ideal for polishing and exfoliating the skin or removing stubborn dirt and grime from certain surfaces. But will a pumice stone scratch glass? And if so, what should you use instead?
A pumice stone will scratch most glass surfaces. For this reason, it’s often used to create an opaque frosted finish on windows. The only glass it won’t scratch is tempered glass cookware. Safer alternatives for cleaning glass include Magic Erasers, distilled vinegar, and baking soda.
Let’s look at what pumice is and whether it’s safe to use on a glass surface. We’ll also explore some alternatives for cleaning glass surfaces so that you don’t have to worry about leaving nasty scratches behind.
What Is Pumice Stone?
Pumice stone is a lightweight, igneous rock with a porous texture. It has tiny holes or pores created by gas bubbles trapped in the lava as it cooled, making pumice buoyant so that it floats on water.
Pumice stones — like this one (on Amazon) — are a common abrasive for sanding, polishing, cleaning, or creating a textured finish on surfaces such as concrete or glass. Pumice is also used in horticulture as a soil amendment and in concrete production.
Will a Pumice Stone Scratch Glass?
The quick answer is yes, a pumice stone can scratch glass.
However, the scratches made by a pumice stone will be much shallower than those made by other objects such as sandpaper or steel wool because the abrasive particles on a pumice stone are much smaller and less sharp.
Pumice stone is mainly used on glass to create a frosted or opaque look for a semi-transparent effect. Pumice stones can also remove stubborn stains from tempered glass bakeware because this type of glass is more resistant to scratching than other types.
Which Surfaces Are Safe to Clean With a Pumice Stone?
It’s not recommended to use pumice stones on all surfaces, but you can use them on the following:
Tempered Glass Bakeware
Reinforced by heat treatment, tempered glass is up to four times stronger than annealed (non-tempered) glass. So, tempered glass bakeware is less likely to scratch than other types of glass.
To clean tempered glass bakeware with a pumice stone (on Amazon), soak the item in warm, soapy water for a few minutes to soften any food or grease. Wet the pumice stone and rub it gently over the stained area in a circular motion.
Porcelain is made by firing clay or other materials at high temperatures, and its durability makes it a popular choice for bathroom fixtures and tiles.
Remove hard-water stains, rust, or mineral buildup from a porcelain surface, such as a toilet or bathtub, with a pumice stone by wetting it and rubbing it over the surface. Cleaning a toilet bowl is even easier using a pumice stone with a handle (on Amazon).
Using a pumice stone on porcelain should not be a routine cleaning method as it can damage the surface. Limit use to once or twice a year on tough stains that regular cleaning methods cannot remove.
The interior of an oven can become stained from baked-on food, grease, and smoke. To clean an oven with a pumice stone, spray the surface with a water and dish soap solution. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes to loosen the dirt, then wet the pumice stone and rub it over the surface.
Oven Racks and Grill Grates
You can use a brick block pumice stone (on Amazon) to clean the oven racks and grill grates. Remove the racks or grates, and soak them in a sink full of hot, soapy water for 30 minutes to loosen any dirt or grease. After soaking, scrub the surface with a pumice stone to remove the remaining debris.
Remove Pet Hair From Upholstery
Pumice stones can also remove pet hair from furniture and automobile upholstery. Vacuum the surface to remove as much hair as possible. Then, wet the pumice stone and rub it against the fabric in one direction using short strokes. An ergonomically designed pumice stone (on Amazon) makes the task easier.
Alternatives to Pumice Stone for Cleaning Glass
Pumice stones are a safe and effective way to clean some surfaces, but there are better choices for glass. Consider one of these options:
Ammonia (on Amazon) is a common ingredient in many glass cleaners, but you can also use it diluted in water to clean glass surfaces. Be sure to open windows and doors for ventilation when using ammonia, and never mix it with bleach, as this can create poisonous gases.
Mix 2 tablespoons of ammonia with 2 quarts of warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the glass and wipe it away with a lint-free cloth.
Making a paste with baking soda is another way to clean glass without using a pumice stone. Baking soda is a gentle abrasive that won’t scratch the surface.
Mix baking soda with enough water to form a paste. The amount of water will vary, so add and mix gradually until you have the desired consistency. Apply the paste to the glass surface and rub it with a soft cloth in a circular motion.
Distilled White Vinegar
The main benefit of distilled white vinegar (on Amazon) is that it’s a natural disinfectant. It can kill bacteria, mold, and mildew. It’s also effective at removing stains and odors.
While distilled white vinegar is safe to use around the house, it’s important to handle it with care. The acidity can cause skin irritation, so wear gloves when using it. Depending on the cleaning job, you can use it alone, dilute it with water, or mix it with dish soap and water.
Mixing vinegar with baking soda is a popular cleaning hack that can clean various surfaces. When you combine the two ingredients, they create a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide, which helps to loosen dirt and grime so you can wipe it away easily.
A Magic Eraser (on Amazon) is a small, rectangular block of melamine foam that is a milder abrasive than a pumice stone. It’s effective at removing stains and cleaning many surfaces, including glass.
To use a Magic Eraser, wet the block and rub it over the surface in a circular motion. The foam will break down as you use it, so you may need multiple blocks to clean a large area.