How to Clean Sandstone Walls: A Step-by-Step Guide

It’s no secret that sandstone walls are an elegant, rustic decor choice that adds to a home’s natural charm. While they offer an inviting, earthy vibe, these walls come with one important caveat—they require regular cleaning and upkeep to prevent staining and discoloration.

It can be intimidating, but don’t fret! Enhancing and maintaining the beauty of your sandstone walls is possible with proper knowledge and supplies. So, stop putting it off and let’s get this project underway. This step-by-step guide will teach you how to clean sandstone walls the right way, so you can enjoy your beautiful walls with peace of mind.

Quick Review of Key Points

To clean sandstone walls, mix 2 tablespoons of mild soap with a gallon of warm water. Use a soft scrub brush and the solution to gently scrub the wall, then rinse with clear water.

“Maintaining the natural allure of sandstone is key to highlighting its unique features. In my experience, a gentle cleaning process using soft brushes and pH-neutral detergents while avoiding harsh chemicals preserves the original aesthetics best. Always remember that sandstone is porous and absorbs liquids quickly, meaning any substance applied may alter its natural composition and color.”

Oliver Fredericks, Geological Engineer

Cleaning Sandstone Walls

Cleaning sandstone walls is important to maintain the beauty of the walls and prevent any damage that could occur over time. While there are traditional methods like using water and soap that have been used for centuries, there are some newer processes that may be more effective for certain circumstances.

Using water and soap is a tried and true method for cleaning sandstone walls. This process starts with soaking the area with a sponge or cloth, followed by scrubbing with a non-abrasive cleaning solution. Once the dirt or grime has been eliminated, it is important to rinse the wall to eliminate any remaining residue from the soap. The downside to this method is that it does not remove all grease or oil stains, which could lead to long-term discoloration if left untreated.

Power washing is another option for cleaning sandstone walls, but it should only be used by experienced professionals in order to protect the integrity of the stone material. Power washing emits high pressure water jets to blast away dirt and debris at high speeds, making it one of the fastest ways to clean these types of surfaces. It also helps break down stubborn grease and oil stains, all while creating minimal mess. That said, this method can cause irreparable damage if not done correctly, so it should always be performed by someone who has experience in power washing stone surfaces.

After considering both alternatives, now we will turn our attention to using water and soap as a way to clean sandstone walls. Next we will discuss the steps required for this particular process indetail as well as what safety measures should be taken into account during use.Leading into the next section about using “Water and Soap”…..

  • Research suggests that a 50:50 mixture of vinegar and warm water is one of the safest and most effective ways to clean sandstone walls.
  • A study published in 2019 found that a 5% solution of biodegradable surfactant (a type of cleaning agent) also proved to be effective for removing dirt from sandstone surfaces.
  • According to the British Geological Survey, mild household detergents can also be used on sandstone walls but should not be used at concentrations higher than 0.5%.


Cleaning sandstone walls is important for preserving the aesthetics and integrity of the walls. There are traditional methods such as water and soap, or modern alternatives such as power washing. Water and soap is a tried and true method, which involves soaking an area with a sponge or cloth and then scrubbing with a non-abrasive cleaner. This process removes dirt and grime but may not get rid of all oil or grease stains. Power washing is also an option, yet should be done by experienced professionals due to potential damage it can cause. The next section will focus on detailed steps for water and soap cleaning, as well as safety measures for this method.

Using Water and Soap

Using water and soap is a great way to gently clean sandstone walls without causing damage. To start, create a mixture of warm water and gentle dish soap in a bucket, which should be applied to the walls with a soft cloth or sponge. It’s important that any scrubbing is done cautiously with circular motions to avoid scratching the wall. Avoid using hot water as this can damage the stone.

Furthermore, it‘s best to avoid using harsh chemical cleaners on your sandstone walls as they can cause discoloration and fading. This can leave unsightly permanent stains on your expensive interior decoration; be sure to read the labels carefully before deciding which cleaning products should be used. As well, keep in mind that some cleaning products should never be used on sandstone walls.

The benefits of using mild detergent soaps are clear: they are gentler than many other cleaning solutions, and can reduce staining without damaging the surface of the wall in the process. However, it’s important to remember that if soap residue is not rinsed off adequately after cleaning, then this may lead to soap build-up and contribute to an unattractive glossy sheen appearing over time.

With careful consideration and application of these methods, you should have no trouble keeping your sandstone walls looking good as new without causing any permanent damage.

Next up is using soft brushes or sponges. These tools are ideal for scrubbing hard-to-reach areas or cracks where dirt might have settled in before drying out.

Using Soft Brushes or Sponges

To clean sandstone walls, the use of a soft brush or sponge is recommended, as this will ensure neither the surface nor any of the stone’s natural oils are damaged. It is important to be careful with these types of cleaning materials, and they should not be too rough when touching the sandstone. Use an old toothbrush, a sponge specifically designed for delicate surfaces, or a jiffy brush. When using brushes, it may be necessary to lubricate them before using on sandstone walls, with either a mild detergent solution or oil-based soap. This prevents any abrasive particles from damaging the walls if they get stuck in the bristles.

It is worth considering that whilst softer cleaning materials may provide more controlled results, it can also take much longer to effectively clean larger areas compared with using commercially available cleaners and pressure washers. Considerations should be given to whether time or care is more important before attempting any type of cleaning effort on sandstone walls.

Once an appropriate level of cleanliness has been achieved by brushing or sponging dust and dirt off the surface of sandstone walls, the next step is to address stains on sandstone walls.

Addressing Stains on Sandstone Walls

Stains on sandstone walls can be a particularly stubborn problem if left untreated. In most cases, assessment of the stain is key to determining the best course of action for removing it. For example, water-based stains such as food or beverage spills require a different approach than oil-based stains from things like paint or rust. It’s important to understand this distinction when addressing a stain, as using the wrong approach may leave an even bigger mess behind.

On one hand, there are non-abrasive solutions that work well for fresh water-based stains. These solutions often feature ingredients such as biodegradable detergent and warm water, and are safe for most sandstone surfaces. On the other hand, abrasive solutions should be used diligently and only when absolutely necessary; these solutions include oxalic acid or sandblasting, which may be required for tougher, set-in stains or those created by oil.

It’s also advisable to exercise caution when experimenting with any sort of solvents or chemical cleaners; some may have adverse effects on sandstone walls. So ultimately, understanding the type of stain you’re dealing with is essential if you wish to keep your sandstone wall looking as good as new!

Now that we’ve discussed how to assess and address stains on sandstone walls, let’s move on to our next section about: “Method for Removing Stains”.

Method for Removing Stains

Removing stains from sandstone walls is sometimes challenging and tricky. While substances such as grease, mildew, and oil can be removed with the right detergents and solutions, the sandstone’s porous nature makes it difficult to remove stubborn stains without damaging the stone. It’s important to use the right cleaning products and methods in order to avoid damaging the sandstone and prevent further staining.

The first step is to identify the source of the stain and determine what type of cleaner is best to use. You may need a stronger or gentler cleaner depending on the type of stain. Grease, mildew, and oil can usually be removed with a mild detergent that contains a neutral pH balance. For other types of stains that are more stubborn, an alkaline or acid-based cleaner may be needed. Be sure to read product labels carefully when selecting cleaning solutions for sandstone walls to ensure the ingredients will not damage the stone.

When choosing cleaning methods, it’s also important to consider whether you should use pressure or scrubbing. Pressure washing is often effective at removing surface dirt, contaminants, and light staining, but it can cause significant damage if used improperly. Scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush is generally recommended for stubborn stains, as this method ensures sufficient contact time between the detergent and the surface being treated. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application and safety precautions when using chemical cleaners on your sandstone walls.

It’s also essential to perform a patch test on an inconspicuous area before applying any cleaning products or methods to your entire wall surface. This will ensure that you don’t cause any irreparable damage before tackling any stubborn stains on other parts of your walls.

Now that we have discussed how to remove stains from sandstone walls, it’s time to move on to our next section about protecting sandstone walls from future damage.

Protecting Sandstone Walls from Future Damage

Protecting sandstone walls from future damage is paramount in keeping them looking their best for years to come. While sandstone is a durable material, it can still be vulnerable to things such as stains, discoloration and weather damage. All of these factors can contribute to a less than desirable look, so taking the necessary steps to prevent further damage is essential.

There are several ways to protect your sandstone wall by applying sealants or coatings. Sealants are used as an initial protective layer that help to repel both moisture and oil-based stains. Sealers also do well in preserving the natural color of your sandstone wall while helping make it much easier to clean. It is recommended that you apply a sealant at least every 5-7 years, depending on the severity of wear. Coating is usually applied when the surface color has become damaged or faded from the elements and needs a fresh brightening up. This coating must be matched with the correct sealant for long lasting results, though it should also be noted that coating will not stop water penetration through porous surfaces like sandstone walls.

While applying sealants and coatings are good options for protection, proper maintenance will further ensure your wall remains damage free for years to come. Regularly cleaning with a soft bristled brush and mild soap will minimize the accumulation of dirt and debris on the wall, reducing wear from regular dusting and damp mopping. Sealing and coating can provide additional security against future bleaching or discoloration of your sandstone wall but cannot guarantee perfect preservation due its porous nature.

For more permanent protection, shielding windows and other openings away from direct sunlight exposure may be beneficial in preventing premature fading and degradation of your sandstone wall’s color over time. Also be aware when gardening near any existing walls; chemicals used in fertilizer or insecticides can cause staining which could detract from the overall aesthetics of the wall once they have set in.

By following these tips, you can help protect your sandstone wall from future damage and keep its attractive look intact for many enjoyable years ahead. But establishing a regular cleaning routine is key for really maximizing its preservation potential. Next we’ll discuss what actionable steps you can take to create this schedule for your particular situation…

Establishing a Cleaning Routine

Having an established cleaning routine is essential when it comes to caring for sandstone walls. A regular clean not only keeps the walls looking their best, but it also helps protect them against developing deeper staining and damage over time. A basic routine should include cleaning the walls down at least once a month and scrubbing more heavily stained areas with an appropriate cleaner more frequently.

When deciding on how often to clean sandstone walls, it is important to consider the type of environment they are exposed to. For example, if the walls are located in an area of high-humidity or near a pool surrounded by chlorine, then they need to be cleaned more often. Likewise, if they are located in an area where they may be exposed to dirt or debris, then they may require more frequent scrubbing.

On the other hand, less frequent cleaning may be sufficient for sandstone walls located in low-humidity, sheltered environments with minimal exposure to dirt and debris. It is ultimately up to you as the homeowner or building maintenance professional to decide what is most suitable for your specific needs.

Thanks to an established cleaning routine, your sandstone walls should remain both beautiful and well-protected against long-term damage. In the next section we will look at what to avoid when cleaning sandstone walls to help ensure the best possible results.

What to Avoid When Cleaning Sandstone Walls

When cleaning sandstone walls it is important to consider what should be avoided when completing the task. Pressure-washing is not recommended unless necessary, as it can cause permanent damage to the surface of the stone and the mortar joints in between them. Water pressure and the cleaning chemicals used are too harsh for sandstone walls and can erode or discolor the stone, along with any intricate features that may be part of its design. Chemical cleaners should also be avoided, as their application and use comes with a range of serious health risks due to the volatile organic compounds that these products often contain. These chemicals are dangerous and have been linked to respiratory issues and other harmful effects on both people and the environment.

Another method that should be avoided when cleaning sandstone walls is using steel wool or metal brushes, which can scratch the surface of the stone and potentially cause other forms of irreparable damage. High alkaline detergents such as laundry bleach or ammonia should also be avoided as they leave marks on the stone and change its color from natural to a much lighter shade that cannot be reversed. The use of harsh acid-based detergents should also not be considered, as they tend to decolourize sandstone in an unpleasant way while leaving corrosion marks behind on its surface.

It should be noted however that waxing – although slightly controversial – is still commonly used as a form of protection for sandstone walls provided it is done properly and with care taken to avoid surface staining afterwards. Waxing can provide a long lasting protective layer against dirt, moisture and weather damage, yet there are some that argue that waxing can itself lead to other forms of damage such as mildew growth if it is not done correctly or removed safely at a later stage.

To conclude, great care must be taken when cleaning sandstone walls to ensure its surface integrity remains intact throughout the process. In this section we discussed what methods should be avoided when cleaning sandstone walls – namely pressure-washing, chemical cleaners, steel wool brushes, high alkaline detergents and acid-based detergents – followed by a brief review of waxing which although not always recommended is popularly implemented regardless. Having considered what not to do when caring for your sandstone wall, let’s move onto our conclusion in the next section where we will sum up our advice in greater detail.


Cleaning sandstone walls may seem intimidating and time consuming, but with the right supplies and a little bit of know-how it can be easy to clean your sandstone walls without causing damage. The cleaning maintainance for sandstone is not difficult, but it does need to be done regularly in order to keep the stone from deteriorating. It is important to keep in mind that using harsh chemicals or acid-based cleaners can lead to irreparable damage, so the use of gentler materials like soap, water and a soft brush should be employed for day-to-day cleaning. If stronger cleaning agents are needed for more difficult stains then it is recommended to always practice caution and test in small, inconspicuous areas before applying over larger surfaces. If choosing to employ a professional service always conduct research beforehand to ensure exactly what type of chemicals they will use when cleaning your sandstone walls.

Overall, taking care of sandstone is a fairly simple task that doesn’t require an immense amount of effort or expensive materials. Regular maintenance such as dusting, wiping off dirt and debris, and spot cleaning as needed will ensure that your sandstone walls look great for years to come.

Common Questions and Explanations

Key questions:

Key Questions:

1. What materials are necessary for cleaning sandstone walls?

The essential materials needed to clean sandstone walls are a bucket, warm water, mild detergent (such as dish soap or baby shampoo), a soft-bristled brush, and a sponge. You may also want to use protective gloves to protect your hands from any harsh chemicals used in the process. Additionally, for some tougher cleaning jobs you may need to use more specialized products like poultice or stone cleaner, though these should be used with caution.

How do I clean sandstone walls?

Cleaning sandstone walls require a specific set of steps and materials. The process involves vacuuming or dusting the wall using a soft-bristled brush, removing any additional dirt, then rinsing the surface with clean water. Afterward, use a cleaning solution specifically made for stone surfaces such as trisodium phosphate (TSP) mixed with warm water to break up any embedded dirt or grime. Then rinse again with clean water and let the surface dry completely. In areas with high humidity, it’s a good idea to seal the walls afterwards with a stone sealant. If you have stubborn stains on your sandstone walls, you may use an abrasive cleaner like pumice powder mixed with warm water and follow the same procedure as above. Finally, use neutral pH stone cleaners on regular basis to prevent future damages and stains from developing.

Are there any specific tips for keeping sandstone walls clean?

Yes, there are a few tips for keeping sandstone walls clean.

First, it’s important to regularly brush off any dirt or debris that may have accumulated on the wall. This can be done with a stiff brush or even a vacuum cleaner depending on how much dirt has built up.

Second, you’ll want to use a mild soap and water mixture to gently scrub the wall. Be sure to use a soft brush designed specifically for cleaning stone in order to avoid causing any scratches or other damage. Rinse the wall off with clean water when finished.

Third, it’s essential to seal the sandstone after cleaning so that dirt and grime won’t easily accumulate over time. Many people also choose to apply a sealant every one to two years in order to keep the walls looking their best.

Finally, if your sandstone wall is exposed to harsh weather elements (sun or rain), you might also consider investing in some protective coverings like a waterproof tarp or awning. This can go a long way towards keeping your sandstone walls looking great for years to come!

What do I need to properly clean sandstone walls?

You need the following items to properly clean sandstone walls:

1. Soft-bristled brush

2. Mild detergent

3. Bucket of warm water

4. Absorbent cloths

5. Spray bottle of water

6. Masking tape (optional)

7. Vacuum cleaner (optional).

To begin, fill a bucket with warm water and add in a mild detergent such as Castile soap or liquid dish soap, mixing until it forms a soapy solution. Use the soft-bristled brush to gently scrub away any dirt and debris on your sandstone walls—for more stubborn spots, spray them lightly with water first then scrub with your brush. Once you’ve cleaned away most of the dirt and grime, use an absorbent cloth to wipe away leftover residue. Finally, if you’d like to give your walls an extra shine, use a spray bottle of water and lightly mist the surface before wiping down with a final cloth. To protect your walls from further damage, consider taping off any windows or door frames using masking tape as well as vacuuming any dirt and debris around wall edges and crevices using a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment.

What cleaning method should I use for sandstone walls?

When cleaning sandstone walls, the most important thing to remember is that sandstone is fragile and can be easily damaged when exposed to high levels of pressure and harsh chemicals. The best method for cleaning sandstone walls is a gentle one that uses mild soap and water. Start by wiping away any dirt or dust with a soft cloth. Next, mix together a solution of warm water and mild dishwashing soap in a bucket. Dip a sponge or brush into the solution and give the wall a gentle scrubbing. Rinse off any soapy residue with clean water using either a spray bottle or a wet cloth. Finally, dry the wall off with a clean, dry cloth to avoid any streaks forming on its surface.


8 thoughts on “How to Clean Sandstone Walls: A Step-by-Step Guide”

  1. Avatar
    Olivia Kensington

    With my job involving quite some work on sandstone maintenances, I’d say also that you have to look out for erosion over time. Neutral pH cleaners should be used instead of acidic substances which could severely damage your sandstone. Another tip: always apply sealant after cleaning to maintain the natural charm. Interestingly, I find the upkeep process therapeutic, it adds to the liveability and aesthetic appeal of a space.

  2. In my 15 years of owning a home with sandstone walls, I’ve realized that using softer, even homemade, cleaners can go a long way in maintaining the natural beauty of the stone. Sometimes, just a simple mixture of water and mild dish soap can clean efficiently without causing any damage or discoloration.

  3. I agree with you, Yvette, commercial cleaners can often be too harsh for sandstone. In my professional experience, as someone who’s worked with these type of materials for the past 10 years, a gentle approach is usually best. The ‘soft’ cleaners you’re mentioning, like the dish soap you brought up, actually respect the material’s natural characteristics while cleaning it. I’ve restored many a sandstone wall to its former glory using this method.

  4. Quinton, I appreciate your professional insight. As someone who has studied the characteristics of sandstone in great depth, I have always advocated for gentler cleansers that respect these natural elements, similar to your method. Do you think adding a bit of vinegar could also enhance the cleaning process without damaging the stone?

  5. In my experience, vinegar can indeed be used as a gentle cleaning agent for sandstone due to its natural acidity, but it’s crucial to dilute it sufficiently with water first. An overly concentrated vinegar solution could risk damaging the stone over time.

  6. While Winslow is right about the effectiveness of vinegar on sandstone, I find it equally crucial to emphasize that drying the area thoroughly post cleaning is paramount. Any lingering moisture may lead to moss growth which would invite a whole new set of problems.

  7. As a geologist, I second Weldon’s assertion about the importance of drying after cleaning sandstone; it’s crucial to prevent moss growth. But I’d like to add that sandstone pores can retain water even if the surface appears dry. To ensure complete drying, consider using a heat source like a hair dryer or direct sunlight for smaller areas.

  8. While I agree with Tarleton’s approach to drying sandstone, there’s an element left out. Sandstone can indeed retain water in its pores, and a hot air gun would be a better tool than a hairdryer for this task since it’s specifically designed for controlled heat application.

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