This article was co-authored by Diana Yerkes and by wikiHow staff writer, Savannah Vold. Diana Yerkes is a Skincare Professional and the Lead Esthetician at Rescue Spa in New York City, New York. With over 15 years of experience, Diana helps others with their skin care needs by incorporating natural and high-performing products and treatments into their routines while providing nutrition insights and educating clients on better skin care habits. Diana is a member of the Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) and holds certifications from the Wellness for Cancer and Look Good Feel Better programs. She received her esthetics education from the Aveda Institute, the International Dermal Institute, and the Biologique Research Academy.
There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
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Pumice—you know, the stuff that forms when hot lava cools? If you’re not familiar with this fabulous multi-purpose stone, you should be! Perfect for all kinds of exfoliation, pumice is a cheap and easy way to remove dead skin and more—some of its uses might just surprise you! In this article, we’ll go over all the best ways to use a pumice stone and how to keep it clean and sanitary so you can use it again and again.
Things You Should Know
- Soften your skin by soaking it in warm water for around 5 minutes. Then, wet the pumice stone and rub it gently over calloused areas to slough off dead skin.
- Clean the pumice stone with a scrub brush and let it air-dry between uses.
- Remove pilling and lint from clothing by rubbing the pumice stone in circular motions. You can also use the pumice stone to scrub and remove toilet stains.
- Dedicate each pumice stone to one purpose (removing dead skin, cleaning the toilet, etc.) Avoid using a single pumice stone for multiple purposes.
Exfoliating With a Pumice Stone
1Soak your calloused skin in warm water for 5 minutes. The feet are the most common part of the body to exfoliate with a pumice stone. Heels tend to develop a layer of hard, calloused skin that can become cracked or scaled. Additionally, your elbows may be another area that could benefit from exfoliation. Soak your calloused body part in warm water for about 5 minutes to soften the skin. X Trustworthy Source Cleveland Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source
- If you're working on your feet, fill a bowl with warm water and make a foot spa.
- Pumicing as part of your shower routine may be easiest for other body parts you want to exfoliate, like your legs.
- Use pumice stones for manicures by gently rubbing it across the skin around your nails.
2Wait until your dry skin has softened. Your dead skin will be easier to remove if it's soft and supple—see ya, scales! Touch your skin after around 5 minutes of soaking. If it still feels hard, wait a few more minutes (giving the water a warm-up if necessary). If it's soft to the touch, your skin is ready for the pumice stone. X Research sourceAdvertisement
3Wet the pumice stone in soapy water. Getting the pumice stone wet will help it slide more easily across your skin. Run the stone under warm water with a bit of mild soap, or dip it where you're soaking your skin to wet it thoroughly. X Research source
4Rub the pumice stone in circular motions over the calloused area. Use gentle, circular motions to slough away the dead skin like corns and calluses with the pumice stone. As you’ve soaked your skin so it's nice and soft, the dry, dead cells should come right off. Keep going until you remove all the dead skin and get to the fresh, supple skin underneath. X Research source
EXPERT TIPDiana Yerkes
- Don't press too hard. Light pressure is all that's needed—let the stone's surface do the work for you.
- If you're working on your feet, focus on the heels, the sides of your toes, and other areas where dry skin tends to build up.
Pro Tip: You'll especially want to remove calluses from your heels during the summertime when you're more likely to be wearing sandals.
5Rinse off the dead skin and go over any stubborn areas again. Wash or wipe off the dead skin from the area you’re pumicing and take a look to see if you need to keep going. If you still see bits of dead skin, go over the area again with the pumice stone. Continue using the stone on the area until you're satisfied with the results. X Research source
- Be careful not to rub your skin raw.
- Since the pumice stone will wear down slightly as you use it, turn it over for extended use.
- Rinse the pumice stone with water as you go to keep its surface clean and effective.
6Dry and moisturize your skin. When you've finished exfoliating with the pumice stone, use a towel to pat your skin dry. Then, coat the area with an oil or lotion to lock in moisture. Your formerly calloused skin should now be soft, supple, and gleaming! X Trustworthy Source American Academy of Dermatology Professional organization made of over 20,000 certified dermatologists Go to source
Pumice Stone Care
1Scrub your pumice stone after each use. Dead skin will build up in the stone's pores as you use it, so clean the stone after each use. Use a scrub brush to scrub the stone while holding it under running water. Add a bit of mild soap to help clean the stone completely. This way, your stone will be clean and ready for action the next time you need it. X Research source
- Use a mild soap, like Dawn, to avoid damaging the stone.
2Allow your pumice stone to dry out completely. Set the pumice stone in a dry place, so it doesn't stay damp between uses. Some pumice stones come with a string attached that allows you to hang the stone to dry. If you let the stone stay wet, bacteria could grow in the pores, making it unsafe to use. X Research source
3Boil your pumice every 2 weeks. If you use your pumice stone often, give it a deep cleaning every 2 weeks to ensure it isn't harboring bacteria. Bring a small pot of water to a full boil, drop in the stone, and boil it for 5 minutes. Use tongs to remove the stone from the water and allow it to dry completely before storing it. X Research source
- If you've used the stone on a dirty surface, add a capful of bleach to the water to ensure all the bacteria get killed.
4Replace your pumice stone every 2-4 weeks. Pumice is a soft stone that will eventually wear away with continued use or become unsanitary. When it gets too small to handle easily, or the surface becomes too smooth to be effective, spring for a new one. X Research source
Practical & Surprising Pumice Stone Uses
1Use a pumice stone to remove hair. The ancient Greeks used pumice to remove body hair, and because it’s so effective, people still do! Start by soaking your skin in the bath or the shower until it's warm and soft. Then, wet the pumice stone, and rub your skin using gentle, circular motions. Within 30 seconds, the area you're rubbing will be hair-free. X Research source
- The effects of pumicing are similar to that of shaving.
- Because pumicing is an effective way to exfoliate, it also prevents ingrown hairs!
- Pumicing should not be painful. If you feel pain, make sure you aren't pressing too hard.
2Use a pumice stone to remove pills from clothing. The soft, porous pumice surface is perfect for taking pills and lint off clothing. If you have a sweater you've wanted to clean up, start by laying it on a flat surface. Then, rub a dry pumice stone over the pilling in circular motions. Don't press too hard since you don't want to damage the fibers of the garment—gentle pressure is all that's needed to take the pills right off! X Research source
3Clean your toilet with a pumice stone. Pumice stones can even remove copper rings from the inside of a toilet—what can’t this little stone do? Put on a pair of nonporous cleaning gloves to start. Then, rub the pumice stone over the ring with scrubbing motions. Repeat until the ring is gone, and voila!  X Research source
- Use a pumice stone with toilet cleaner for more stubborn stains.
- Use separate stones for toilet cleaning and body use. Do not use the same stone for both purposes.
4Use a pumice stone to clean your oven. Thoroughly wet your pumice stone with water, then use scrubbing motions to remove built-up grime and grease on the outside and inside of your oven. Be sure to wet your pumice stone frequently to avoid scratching. X Research source
- Add your favorite oven cleaner to your pumice stone for extra cleaning power.
5Try using a pumice stone as an essential oil diffuser. If you’ve wanted to try a diffuser but have been hesitant due to the price, look no further than the humble pumice stone. Apply 1-2 drops of your favorite essential oil to a dry, clean pumice stone and hang it in a place you want to smell great! X Research source
- You can also place it in a bowl or dish in high-traffic areas like your kitchen or living room.
6Remove pet hair and dander with a pumice stone. We love our pets, but shedding on our upholstery and carpets can be frustrating! The great news is pumice stones are incredibly effective at lifting and collecting dirt and dander. Go over the area using short motions in one direction and watch as hair comes off with ease. X Research source
- Pumice stones aren’t rough enough to damage or snag your furniture—just be sure to apply light pressure to the surface you’re removing pet hair from.
QuestionAre pumice stones safe to use?Catherine Cheung, DPMDr. Catherine Cheung is a board certified Podiatrist based in San Francisco, California. Dr. Cheung specializes in all aspects of foot and ankle care, including complex reconstruction. Dr. Cheung is affiliated with the Brown & Toland Physicians and the Sutter Medical Network. She earned a DPM from the California College of Podiatric Medicine, completed her residency at the Encino Tarzana Medical Center, and completed a fellowship at the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center. She is board certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery.
Board Certified PodiatristBoard Certified PodiatristExpert AnswerAs long as you're gentle and use them in water, pumice stones are pretty easy and safe to use.
QuestionDo you use a pumice stone wet or dry?wikiHow Staff EditorThis answer was written by one of our trained team of researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Staff AnswerwikiHow Staff EditorStaff AnswerIt depends what you are using the pumice stone for but if it’s on your skin (exfoliation and hair removal), the pumice stone should always be made wet first, to avoid causing any injury to your skin. A pumice stone should be dry if you’re using it to remove lint from fabric and for other suitable cleaning purposes. Use of the pumice stone both for your skin and for lint removal are explained in the steps above.
QuestionHow do you get dead skin off your feet?wikiHow Staff EditorThis answer was written by one of our trained team of researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Staff AnswerwikiHow Staff EditorStaff AnswerThere are various treatments suitable for removing dead skin from your feet, such as a pumice stone, scrubbing pastes, soaking your feet or some leave-on overnight remedies. These methods are fully explained in the wikiHow: How to Remove Dead Skin from Your Feet. You can also shave dead skin off your feet, and you’ll find help with doing this in the wikiHow: How to Shave Dead Skin Off Your Feet.
Use a pumice stone at least once a month to stop rough skin from returning.
After exfoliating your feet with a pumice stone, try wearing moisturizing socks to lock in hydration and keep your feet smoother for longer.
- Use minimal pressure when exfoliating your skin with a pumice stone to avoid skin tearing or rawness.
- ↑ https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/4048-foot-problems
- ↑ https://www.apma.org/files/FileDownloads/myFEETPedicure.pdf
- ↑ https://youtu.be/MCdisFmUCSA?t=55
- ↑ https://youtu.be/FOdKBKOh_gc?t=110
- ↑ https://youtu.be/NDxNpZGQIuY?t=35
- ↑ https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/routine/safely-exfoliate-at-home
- ↑ https://abcnews.go.com/Health/products-healthy/story?id=33392020
- ↑ https://youtu.be/MCdisFmUCSA?t=85
- ↑ https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/when-to-throw-out-body-skin-care-products#slide-1
- ↑ https://abcnews.go.com/Health/products-healthy/story?id=33392020
- ↑ https://experthometips.com/uses-for-a-pumice-stone
- ↑ https://experthometips.com/uses-for-a-pumice-stone
- ↑ https://greatist.com/health/how-to-clean-toilet-stains#pumice-stone
- ↑ https://youtu.be/B6cRJcOoaVM?t=82
- ↑ https://youtu.be/2-1RliKh6tk?t=19
- ↑ https://youtu.be/2-1RliKh6tk?t=66
About This Article
To use a pumice stone, start by soaking the part of your body you want to exfoliate in warm water for 5 minutes, which will help soften your skin. Then, wet the pumice stone with warm water and gently rub it over your skin using a circular motion. Keep rubbing until you've removed all of the dry or calloused skin in the area. When you're finished, rinse off the pumice stone and apply some moisturizer to your skin. For tips on caring for a pumice stone so it lasts longer, scroll down!
Reader Success Stories
"Although I've been using a pumice stone for years, I never realized I needed to clean it every now and then! Also the other day I was asking myself if maybe I should be using it on dry skin instead of in the tub (I take showers but let the tub fill up as I wash so that my feet are soaking for those minutes). Your information is invaluable."..." more