Beautiful and flexible, bluestone is a favorite material for gardeners, landscapers and builders. Bluestone is a natural sedimentary stone used in landscape and outdoor building endeavors. It varies in color and minerals, making bluestone a versatile material for many different types of do-it-yourself projects.

Vibrant flowers in Nevers
credit: dennisvdw/iStock/GettyImages
How to Clean Bluestone

Characteristics of Bluestone

There are two varieties of bluestone from the United States: A limestone from the Shenandoah Valley and a sandstone that hails from New York and Pennsylvania. Due to its hardy nature, bluestone can handle extreme temperatures, from the desert heat to the freezing ice and snow in the North. The natural material is prone to imperfections that add to its charm. Cracks, crevices and clefts are common and don't take away from the integrity of the bluestone.

Where and When to Reach for Bluestone

Aesthetically pleasing, durable and easy to manipulate, bluestone has been laid for patios, stone steps, walkways, pool decks and anywhere else pavers are preferred. It's also made a move inside for kitchen countertops and mudroom floors. Most bluestone is shaped into square or rectangle pavers,but the natural jagged edged look and irregular shapes have made a mark in the DIY market. The irregular design works well for garden or small retaining walls, while the pavers can create unique patterns in walkways and other flat surfaces with high traffic areas that will attract the eye.

Cleaning Concerns

Its rough surface is ideal for areas that need non-slip or anti-slick properties. That same quality can make it difficult to clean with a quick hose down or sweep with an industrial broom. Bluestone is resistant to water and most chemical cleaners. Giving it a good wash every once in a while should help it to maintain its original hues and structure.

Although durable, cooking or motor oil can make an indelible mark on bluestone. In this case, blot the oil with thick absorbent towels you don't mind ruining. Add 2 teaspoons of ammonia to a liter of warm water and mix well. When using ammonia, use safety gloves and avoid breathing the astringent. Keep the room well ventilated and wear a face mask, particularly if you are susceptible to strong smells. Dip a soft scrubbing brush into the homemade cleaning solution and scrub at the oil until you've pulled most of it up from the stone. Rinse the ammonia solution from the pavers when you've finished and let it dry overnight. If the oil stain is stubborn you may need to use a household acetone, such as mineral spirits. Scrub the stain and around the stain, and you may remove it entirely – or at least blend the obvious stain boundaries into the rest of the pavers.

Vinegar and baking soda can whisk away signs of mineral deposits. These whitish spots or unsightly layers can build up over time due to soap residue, household cleaners and water build up.