The Almighty Pumice Stone!
You probably stumbled upon this site while asking your magic Google machine something like “Google, Google on my desk, tell me which pumice stone is the best!” And you were probably hoping to read some lame review about what makes one pumice stone a little scratcher than another. We’ll you won’t get that here!
I mean you are talking about the AMAZING PUMICE STONE not just some silly little foot grater.
A rock so magical the Greek thought it was a gift straight from the gods themselves. That’s right a gift from the gods! I bet you didn’t know that. Well in this article, I’m not only going to show you how to use this magic little rock but I’m also going to teach you some crazy campfire facts to impress your friends.
Ok So What Is A Pumice Stone Anyway?
I’m sure you all probably remember pumex is Latin for pumice; because well you know, everyone studies Latin these days, and that’s just common knowledge. Well, did you also know it got that name because pumex actually means “foam”? In fact, Europeans used to call it “Spuma Maris” meaning froth of the sea, because it actually floats on top of the water.
Why? Because when volcanoes explode lava is hurled from the bowels of the Earth into super cold water (or air) causing it to cool so fast the gasses from the lava are trapped into thousands of little tiny bubbles peppered through the stone.
Yep! You heard me right it’s FLOATING LAVA FOAM bitches!
When did we start using this wonder rock you ask?
Well that’s a little unclear, but there are some really old legends talking about floating rocks or “witch candy” that date way back to the dawn of civilization. Ancient Greeks; because they love to make up elaborate stories about everything, even had a whole crazy story about ‘kienpie’ (greek for pumice) origins. Want to hear it?
Ok, here is the quick and dirty (or maybe I should say sexy) version.
It all starts when Vulcan; the god of fire, and Venus; shatterer of all glass ceilings and original women’s rights activist, got together and oh I don’t know spilled sex juice all over the world! Then for some reason the Greeks thought they should eat this stone the gods gifted them!??! WTF! I don’t know I could be paraphrasing or misinterpreting ancient mythology a bit here. The point is old Greek dudes are weird and don’t eat pumice stones; or anything else dripping after sex for that matter! Gross!
Ok moving on! Anyway eventually some brilliant progressive ape had the idea to start scraping hair off their bodies with a rock and guess which one it was. That’s right, the ever so versatile pumice stone!
While that probably led the Greeks into the modern day use of using a pumice stone for dead skin removal it was actually the Mayans who first started using it for callus removal. Well, first they used it to clean their animal skins, but since they didn’t try and eat it first I’m just going to give them this one.
So, there it is.
The origins of the modern pumice stone use was another gift from the Mayans. Yep, legend has it they wanted to make up for the broken calendar they gave us by making sure we have someone to give our $50 a month to.
Now Let me Tell You How To Use A Pumice Stone
As I am sure you have deduced by now I derive most of my power from the pumice stone.
Not just because I can go for a 3 day long barefoot hike on Friday and have silky soft heels for my date on Tuesday.
No, No, No, No.
I use my pumice stones for everything from an oil diffuser to exfoliating my face! Below you will find a few ways to use the pumice that you might have never known without a little advice from a badger 🙂
But, first lets make sure you’re using a real pumice stone and not a glue stick mixed with fake stuff. Sadly, loads of pumice stones you find at Target and CVS are fakes.
Being from the Pacific Northwest I think I would be insulted if you told me I didn’t know the difference between corporate pumice goo and real pumice; but the sad truth is, these days most of us probably don’t even know the difference. But it’s easy, really, It’s all about buoyancy and shape.
So, here’s a quick lesson:
Pumice has an extremely low “specific gravity.” Yeah, Science Girl here. Anyway that’s basically a fancy way of saying if it doesn’t float, it’s not a pumice stone, but more likely a mixture of glue, chemicals and ground up pumice or pumicite.
Another good way to tell if your pumice stone is real is the shape. It should look like a rock!!! Not a perfectly shaped manufactured cut-out! Again painfully obvious to me, but you would be surprised at how many people think Artemis created millions of perfect sandal shaped pumice for us to buy at Target! Well she didn’t and those are not real pumice!
For DIY Pedicures
Now that we all have our real pumice stones in hand let’s talk about how to use it. First it’s been a long day. Let’s fill up a basin with hot water, let our feet AND pumice stone soak.
Badger tip: Take your electric tea kettle and keep it plugged in next to you. It works perfect to add a little heat to your water as it starts to cool and you don’t want to get up. Just make sure it doesn’t fall in the water – ZAP!
Now just relax. I like to imagine a sexy little man is just ever so softly massaging my toes, but maybe that’s just me.
When you’re ready pull out a foot from the water bath. Pat it dry and then rub the pumice stone in a circular motion. Too much pressure might cut you so be sure to apply as much pressure as you need, but let the stone do the work. It’s a little tickley.
Most callused skin on the feet tends to build up around the heels and sides of your toes so be sure to pay extra special attention to those areas. As you scrub you will probably notice some super yummy looking white muck build up on the pumice stone. Personally I keep a separate water container to rinse my stone in when that happens, but you can use your same water bath, it won’t hurt ya. After about two or three minutes of this switch feet then rinse, dry and apply your favorite oil or moisturizer.
When you are done rinse your stone really well. Scrub with an old toothbrush if necessary. Then let it air dry. This is by far the most common use for pumice stones, but as you will read below it’s not the ONLY use. That said it’s important to note any rock you have used on your feet should probably stay reserved just for your feet.
FOR DIY Manicures
Sometimes, you have to do your own nails. Most of us just do a quick polish change, but if you have calluses and dry cuticles, this could be an easy and slightly luxurious addition to your DIY manicure.
A lot like the little DIY pedi you did for your feet, you can also do for your hands. Shocker, right!?!
Lay down a towel,fill a little bowl with warm water and a dab of soap, and have a seat. Soak one hand for 3-5 minutes then use the dry hand to pumice your cuticles, calluses (from all those outdoor activities we love!), and anywhere else that feels a little rough.
Then dry and switch hands. The trick is to keep your skin and the pumice super wet so you don’t scratch yourself.
After you get your paws all cleaned up, file and paint (if you’re feeling perdy) and dab a little cuticle oil to keep your cuticles from drying out.
FOR All Natural Hair Removal
If you’re one of “those” girls that wants to remove all the hair on your body, but hates shaving, then I’ve got the jam for you.
A pumice stone can actually be used for hair removal. Like smooth as a baby’s bottom; hair removal. But there is a pretty specific way to go about this and it’s a tad involved.
Step 1: Exfoliate in the shower, you can use any sugar or salt scrub you have on hand, or whatever is on sale. Since it’s for body (not face) don’t use a face exfoliator, the grit is too fine. This gets off all those rotten dead skin cells and body oils that will get in the way of Step 2.
Step 2: Dry your body off, get your pumice wet, and go to town! Using small circular motions, you just rub the pumice repeatedly where you don’t want hair anymore. Try to be gentle, you don’t have to rub very hard
Step 3: Rinse off in the shower (at least I do), dry off, and use body lotion. You might have to repeat this process a few times to get the full baby bottom effect.
Bring Back Your Old Jeans To Life
Ever buy a brand new pair of jeans only to wish they were as awesome as that comfy pair you picked up from the thrift shop last year. Well don’t fret. Pumice Stone to the rescue!
Turn them into super destructed jeans with your handy dandy pumice stone! It’s really as easy as it sounds. Just wash and dry them, then rub that pumice wherever you want to add style. Knees and thighs are a good choice. When you’re done, wash and dry them again before wearing them out.
As An Essential Oil Diffuser
Yes, it even works as a diffuser. But, you probably want to use a different one than you use on your body and clothes. Also, grab a pumice-sized mesh bag or one of those little breathable bags for closet potpourri, to stick it in.
Put about 20 drops of your favorite essential oil, my faves are lavender, frankincense, rosemary, or citrus, on the pumice and drop into the little mesh bag. You can hang it in the closet, bathroom, kitchen, your man’s shoe closet, pretty much wherever. It could even go in your bra and underwear drawer to add a bit of class to your underthings.
It will slowly dry out after a few days, depending on the humidity in the air where you live, so just keep an eye on it and do it again when it stops smelling nice.
To Clean Your Oven or BBQ
It’s one of my least favorite tasks: cleaning super dirty greasy things. I hate that oily feeling it puts all over my hands and how it takes so long to wash off! I usually try to con someone else into doing this, but if you’re forced, there’s an easier way.
First, wear rubber, latex, or plastic gloves. I always forget to buy them and in the moment I end up just wanting to get the task done. But it will save you from that miserable 1-2 days oily residue thing.
Second, spray Oven Cleaner in the oven and BBQ cleaner on the BBQ. If you really hate chemicals, white vinegar or Dawn dish soap is an option but, come one, those nasty things need a powerful chemical-laden degreaser once in a while! After it’s set for the amount of time it’s supposed to, instead of using a rough sponge or brush, your very versatile pumice stone will work wonders. If you’re a glutton for punishment, I hear you can do this without any chemicals and just a wet pumice, but I’ve never actually tried it.
The key is to get your pumice stone soaking wet and scrub the oven or BBQ all over. It won’t scratch, don’t ask me why! Pay special attention to the super stuck-on spots and when you wipe off all the goo, it will shine like the sun.
It goes without saying that this pumice stone shouldn’t be used for anything else! It’s full of grit and chemicals now, yuck!
To De-Pill Your Sweater
The little “pills” that crop on clothes look like tiny thready balls. It happens when you put delicate fabrics in the washer (or dryer) and weren’t supposed to. I’m notorious for ruining my favorite sweaters with this lazy way of washing clothes. Who wants to go to a dry cleaner on the regular or handwash in the sink anyway?!?
Once the damage is done, you can use your ever-versatile pumice stone on it and get your favorite sweater looking good again. I swear, if you take it to a professional to do this (i.e. the drycleaner) they will use something that looks suspiciously like a pumice stone on it as they scowl at you for not bringing it to them to clean instead of ruining your clothes. But, whether it’s actually a pumice or not, I’m not sure, and I’ll probably never have the guts to ask! I’ll just pumice stone the pills myself and save the embarrassment!
It’s really easy and the process almost doesn’t even need explaining. Just use a DRY pumice (yes, this is the first use we’ve mentioned when it isn’t wet!!) and rub it where the pills are. This will give you a feeling of total control and accomplishment in a world filled with chaos.
When you’re done, shake it out, put it away, and swear that you’ll never ruin your sweater again! But if you’re like me, you will end up being lazy and washing it wrong again, especially because now you know how to fix it !
To Clean Your Toilet
So gross. You’re probably picturing your hand in the toilet bowl with a sad little pumice wondering what he ever did to deserve this kind of existence. I mean, didn’t someone invent toilet brushes already?!? And those come on a long stick keeping you at least a foot away from the yuck in that toilet bowl!
But, use for the pumice stone is more for scrubbing off mineral deposits than using it for the whole toilet bowl. You literally just scrub off the deposits or any nasty stains that bleach and Scrubbing Bubbles couldn’t handle.
To Help Plants Grow in Good Soil
Your handy dandy pumice stone can also be used in gardening. It helps retain water and nutrients and it’s all natural (as long as you have real pumice stone!), so you can use it in soil for indoor and outdoor plants.
You chop up the pumice and put 1 part pumice to 4 parts soil and drop the plant in. You can do this with potted plants or in an outdoor garden. It’s especially good if you’re the type that forgets to water plants, live in a dry climate, or the rainy season is over where you live.
If chopping up a pumice stone sounds like a great way to lose a finger, you can find pumice pebbles at gardening centers or even better, order online where you can find anything.
So Now You Know Everything About The Miraculous Pumice Stone. Or Do You?
Ok so we’ve gone though just about every DIY and practical application of pumice stone we could think of. So just to raise the bar, we’ll go a step further and get into the medical and health applications of this amazing little rock.
Did you know it was used in ancient Chinese Medicine?
I don’t know much about ancient Chinese medicine, so this next part sounds a little crazy to this modern woman, but here goes.
The ancient chinese people would grind up pumice stone, fossilized bones (bones!), ground mica (yes, the rock!), and tea (for flavor?!?) and have a nice cuppa. Apparently it would ‘calm the spirit’ and help relieve a number of medical problems. It’s said to have reduced stomach tumors, relaxed an upset stomach, helped nausea, dizziness, and even insomnia.
For the record, I’m not suggesting you try this delicious recipe. Times have changed and we don’t make it a habit of drinking rocks and bones, even if it’s flavored with tea! Who knows what other problems they may have been creating with this little concoction.
In the 18th Century, ground up pumice was used for gallbladder cancer and urinary diseases. It’s also been used in Western medicine as a powder used on skin and corneal ulcers.
Did You Know it Was Used in Dentistry?
The people who came before us had pretty gross teeth before Colgate, Crest and Listerine came along. Again, I’m so glad we live in a modern world! Thank you minty fresh toothpaste!
They sucked on sugary fruits or candies to make their breath smell good which in turn caused more cavities and bad breath. It was a vicious cycle.
Then a super smart group of Egyptians decided to use pumice powder on their teeth. We know now that doing this actually gave them antibacterial benefits which fights cavities and bad breath. They probably only noticed the super white smiles they were all getting because of how well pumice polishes surfaces, even teeth.
When tooth enamel is rough it stains easier and catches bacteria more than when it’s smooth. Pumice powder basically sands down the surface and makes teeth whiter and cleaner. It is actually so fine that it doesn’t harm the enamel either.
This actually sounds pretty great. I wonder why we don’t have pumice toothpaste in stores now?!?
But what we do have in modern dentistry using pumice is called enamel microabrasion (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4126832/ ) and the American Dental Association thinks it wonderful.
Did You Know it Was Used For Water Filtration?
These days, we have clean water in first and second-world countries. I’m ashamed to say I kind of take this for granted.
Some of us are lucky enough to drink water straight from the tap and for everyone else there’s Brita, Pur, and Zero. Or even better, reverse osmosis hooked up to the kitchen sink. But, back in the day, having clean, drinkable water was a serious global problem.
Enter the pumice stone.
It’s actually a really good and all natural water filtration (https://www.zmescience.com/science/pumice-uses-structure-feature-geology/ ) device. Basically, it works by absorbing impurities in water into it’s little tiny structures and keeping them there. Since it’s a natural mineral rock, it doesn’t add impurities to the water or take away the natural minerals. Poof! Clean water.
These days, pumice filtration devices have been replaced by charcoal and reverse osmosis for drinking water. But pumice is still used in wastewater filtration.
Did You Know It’s An Essential Part In Brewing Triple Hop IPA’s?
Ok so maybe this one isn’t true, but after writing this MEGA pumice stone article I think it’s about time to sit on the porch with a nice cold Portland brewed Space Dust! Hopefully you enjoyed this article and have all sorts of fun telling your friends while you do the same.
Thank you for reading.
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