The versatility of pumice appears endless. Here are uses heard of or known about first-hand.
Bear in mind coarseness level of Mt. Shasta's pumice might make it unsuitable for some applications listed, such as scrubbing porcelain, and many uses here are applied as powder or grit or re-worked shapes, which are not offered.
This is just general knowledge sharing about a stone for all reasons!
1. File down foot calluses - time-honored use
2. "Loofa rock" for general surface dead-skin exfoliation
3. Scrub away porcelain toilet bowl rings of mineral deposits
4. Stone-wash denim jeans - big share of global pumice market
5. Add as crushed grit & gravel to soil to build water retention
6. Scrub lime and algae deposits from swimming pools & ponds
7. Scour Bar-B-Q grills
8. Scrub down commercial grill tops
9. De-gunk grime and rust from workshop and garden tools
< pumice wreath chew toy and photo by Amie Vollmer
11. Reusable fire starter: attach rod handle and soak in kerosene, light and set under wood. (Centuries' old practice brought to America in Colonial days - saves using kindling)
12. Coarse powder added to heavy-duty hand cleaners (Go-Jo, etc.), household cleansers (Old Dutch Cleanser, Comet, Bon Ami); finer powder added to soaps (Lava brand), body & shower gels, facial scrubs and toothpaste for scouring action
13. Granules added to construction cinder blocks to lighten (used since Roman times - surviving aqueducts built with them)
14. File nicotine stains from smokers' finger tips (ouch!) 1920's market ploy - saw product box in antique store
15. Clean ceramic tile
16. Remove hard mineral deposits around faucets and drains
17. Scour baked-on food and grease from cast iron cookware
18. Rid metal work and piping of scale and rust
19. Remove paint from tile, masonry and concrete surfaces
20. Make tiny reformed pumice cooking stoves (Philippines)
21. Create insulated fireproof chimney liners (England)
22. Manicure use around cuticles
23. Polish television glass
24. Add to acoustic tile
25. Sculptors, monument & gravestone makers/caretakers use to polish stone
26. Powdered form added to pencil erasers
27. Paint spiritual symbols on small stones to inspire inmates (submitted by Howard Gerber, Greenman Ministry, TX)
28. Ad hoc juggling props (used at faire)
29. Grooming dogs (smaller stones) and horses (larger stones)
30. Plumbers use to get gnarly dried glues and solvents off fingers
31. Kitty litter and oil-absorbent garage-floor litter (granular)
32. Aid in removing dying hairs from certain dog breeds' coats
33. Esoteric uses (see below)
35. Work into jewelry pieces (suggested by Frank Longo, Londonderry, NH)
36. Sweater stone to remove pills and balls
37. Tanning hides - possibly first use of stone in caveman days
38. Fishing floats
39. Caged bird perches - to trim claws and condition beaks
40. Medical research in growing bone graft cultures (Ireland)
41. World's oldest pizzeria, in Naples, Italy, lines baking oven with volcanic rock, likely pumice, from Mt. Vesuvius
42. Natural history museum gift shop specimens
43. Stone-wash film and TV production costumes to distress and age
44. As traditional Chinese medicine. Called fu hai shi ("float on the sea stone"), part of several herbal formulas taken in capsule, pill or powered form as part of consumed decoction
45. Scrubbing marble steps
46. Scraping windows free of sprinkler water stains
47. water filtration
48. Creating environments in aquariums and terrariums
49. Essential oil diffuser - porous nature of rock allows oil to diffuse slowly. 35 drops or so of favorite oil scents area over time
50. Stand-in for meteorite specimens, sharing certain characteristics
51. Clean gravestones
If you know of other uses for pumice, especially unusual ones, email and I'll add them. (credit contribution if wanted)
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Esoteric Healing Properties
Pumice stones have esoteric properties. While always sensing subtle intelligent energies emanating from stones, having worked with them so long and being sensitive to such things, I didn't know of specific healing uses. I just knew they held nice energy.
According to many sources, real pumice can be used to foster emotional healing and work in cleansing negative energies. One healer at local healing faire told me she intended to secretly place stones in rebellious teen son's bedroom to absorb negative energies and then periodically cleanse them. Something about its sponge-like nature soaks up everything - both energies measurable and those not yet measurable, but no less real.
In popular crystal and gem author Judy Hall's Crystals and Healing Stones guidebook, she says that placed over thymus a pumice can release old pain held in the heart and gut, "...healing long-standing emotional wounds and reprogramming one's emotional cellular memory."
She further states it's useful "...for defensive people who appear abrasive because of pain they carry, but who actually feel very vulnerable underneath." It also apparently can assist in letting go of protective barriers and even assist toxin release during colonic hydrotherapy. "Can be used after treatment to cleanse negative energy from therapist; a large piece can be placed in any therapy room."
Cleansing often recommended. Haven't found exact procedures, but intuit one way: soak in salt water a while, scrub with wire brush, rinse, then place under sun's purifying ultraviolet rays with focused intent, visualizing negative energies leaving, thus repurifying spongy stone for further absorption work. Sort of like cleaning a Dustbuster filter.
Another author, Diane Stein, gives similar use information in guidebook Healing with Gemstones and Crystals. She says pumice helps open the heart and get beyond old pain of defenses, "...especially for those whose abrasiveness creates difficulty in their lives." Also,focused use can promote gentleness and vulnerability and foster trust.
A third author, Melody, in her massive tome Love is in the Earth - Crystals and Mineral Encyclopedia (Earth-Love Publications), reveals pumice takes in negativity in any situation and is good for helping one bounce back when feeling depressed. As she notes, the buoyant stone serves as "...a reminder not to sink into despair when faced with heavy problems." She further says the stone is ruled by Aquarius (others claim Pisces or Capricorn) and can serve as a consensus rock among people coming together in single-minded purpose.
More info gleaned from various sources:
- pinkish pumice helps ground love energy
- anchors love energy of house
- very gentle energy - androgynous nature
The realms of understanding of the stone's virtues deepen. It appears pumice's abrasiveness, in addition to umpteen physical uses might, when used intentionally, excel in filing down perhaps gnarliest calluses of all - emotional ones.
A Few Pumiceous Facts
Origin of word 'pumice' (pronounced pum'-iss - rhymes with hummus), derives from Latin word 'pumex', meaning 'foam'. Some mispronounce it as 'poo'-miss.' Also 'pyoo'-miss' -- which could be fitting if used on dead skin and one doesn't cleanse stone often enough.
World's largest pumice producers: Italy, Greece, Chile, Spain, Turkey, Canada and US (mostly CA, NM, AZ, and WA)
According to old college geology professor, pumice and obsidian (granite, too) are minerally identical. He gave analogy of shaking up coke bottle and then opening: resulting explosion of frothy white foam is the pumice and liquid remaining in bottle is shiny black obsidian. Both the same stuff, one now distinctly different in appearance. (Same with foaming white head on dark ale.)
Pumice is high in silica (mineral basis of glass) and cooling so fast it has no crystal structure. It's classified a volcanic glass, and is sharp and fragile, same as glass. When one stone jostles or strikes another, rather than making a dull clunk sound like ordinary rocks, it can make subtly bright clink sound, reminding one of sound of Japanese tempered-glass wind chimes.
Stone vibrates to number 5 frequency
Hardness level on MOHS scale: varies with pumice type from
5 to 6 [don't know where Mt. Shasta pumice places]
Melting point: Between 1,340 and 1,700 degrees C.
Typical chemical properties (varies from volcano to volcano and even between eruptions of same volcano over time):
Silica, 60-75% (makes it abrasive and whitish; higher the silica, whiter the stone); aluminum oxide (makes it highly resistant to fire and heat) 13-17%; ferric oxide, 1-3%; sodium oxide, 3.6%; potassium, 4.5% These proportions will vary from source to source, as each eruption has a unique recipe of molten minerals. (Denim stone washers seek pumice with lowest iron content to prevent discoloring jeans)
Earliest reference of special properties is in Vitruvio's architectural writings of first century B.C.
Earliest known uses: thermal baths of ancient Romans and dome of Pantheon
Use in US for construction began in California in 1851
While I haven't learned how to do video clips to post online, here's a friendly competitor's nicely-produced You-Tube on natural pumice -- called "The Stone That Floats" -- that might interest.