At the core of denim’s charming fades, there is the pumice stone. Since the 1970s, pumice has been a hallmark for softening and distressing denim fabric worldwide. However, beneath the beauty of denim fades lies a hidden environmental cost. So in this blog, HMS Washing has listed the top five reasons to reconsider our reliance on pumice-washed denim and find sustainable alternatives.


Top 5 Reasons Pumice Stone Washing is Not Sustainable

Environmental Impact of Pumice Stone Mining

Habitat Destruction

Although pumice is predominantly surface-mined, it can still spell doom for natural habitats, particularly in regions having unique plant and animal species. The Lipari Islands in Italy, for instance, have witnessed the decimation of their endemic Lipari thyme (Thymbra hirta) due to pumice mining. This loss extends beyond flora, impacting wildlife habitats and leaving indigenous species homeless.

Soil Erosion

The removal of topsoil and vegetation during pumice mining leads to soil erosion, making the land less fertile for agriculture. Moreover, soil erosion heightens the risk of landslides and exacerbates environmental degradation.

Air and Water Pollution

Poorly managed pumice mining operations result in air and water pollution. Dust emissions from mining and transportation activities deteriorate air quality, while runoff from mining sites contaminates water sources with sediment and other pollutants. Such pollution endangers human health and also disrupts delicate ecosystems.


Transportation Challenges

Two critical factors shape the carbon footprint associated with transportation: distance and volume.

Distance Factor

The vast distances from mining sites to pumice processing factories add to fuel consumption and emissions. Subsequently, the processed pumice then goes to denim manufacturing facilities scattered across the globe. These also exacerbate climate change and resource depletion.

Volume Consideration

A lot of pumice is required to sustain denim production. This puts additional burdens on transportation infrastructure.


Continuous Supply Demands

The quick dissolution of pumice during denim washing processes calls for a constant substantial supply. As a result, denim manufacturers are compelled to reserve large storage areas. This highlights the unsustainable nature of pumice stone usage.


Water Usage Concerns

Due to the rapid dissolution of pumice during washing, a higher volume of water is needed for thorough cleansing which leads to increased water consumption and contamination.


Energy Consumption

Pumice relies on heated water for the desired aesthetic. This intensifies electricity consumption and carbon emissions and calls for more sustainable alternatives.

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In light of these concerns, denim manufacturers must adopt eco-friendly stone washing processes.

Now the question arises what is that alternative which is friendly to both earth and fashion?

That is HMS (Hand Made Stone)!


HMS (Hand Made Stone): The Eco-Friendly Alternative to Pumice Stone

The eco-friendly soul of HMS lies in its composition of pumice dust and organic polymers.

Why Choose HMS Over Pumice Stone?


In contrast to the traditional method of mining pumice stones, HMS pioneers a revolutionary approach by completely bypassing this environmentally harmful stage. This illustrates HMS’s zero-impact environmental strategy.


Transportation, typically a major factor in environmental expenses, is similarly omitted in the case of HMS. By eliminating the transportation of HMS from mining locations to denim factories, its eco-friendly profile is further enhanced.


The introduction of HMS within denim factories transforms various operational aspects. Traditional storage needs for pumice stones are defined by their quick degradation, requiring extensive space. In contrast, the remarkable longevity of HMS, surpassing pumice by up to 60 times, lessens storage demands.

Water and Energy Usage

The slower dissolution rate of HMS, coupled with a 20% decrease in water usage per load, marks a notable departure from the water-intensive practices associated with pumice stone washing. Additionally, the use of cold water in HMS procedures rids the need for energy-intensive heating.

Wastewater Systems

The effect on wastewater systems is similarly significant. Pumice, notorious for quickly contaminating water, imposes strain on these systems. In contrast, the 60 times slower dissolution rate of HMS indicates reduced water contamination. This not only alleviates pressure on wastewater systems but also facilitates a more manageable water treatment process.

Earth Contamination

The disposal of waste from pumice wastewater systems often involves burial, leading to environmental harm in the surrounding areas. Conversely, HMS offers a solution through its recyclability i.e., it allows the reuse of sludge from wastewater systems to produce new HMS. This reduces earth contamination and promotes sustainable waste management practices.

Size and Melting Rate

The larger size and slower dissolution rate of HMS prolong the stone’s lifespan and reduce residue, especially in shorter stone wash cycles. Consequently, this reduces the requirement for rinsing after wash cycles.

Shipping Costs and Carbon Footprint

A metric ton of HMS can wash up to 72,000 garments, a remarkable increase compared to conventional stones, which typically have a capacity 60 to 100 times lower. This also decreases shipping demands. Interestingly, instead of requiring multiple containers of pumice, a single container of HMS can achieve equivalent results!


Are you a denim brand and HMS sounds the best for you? Please contact us for consultation.



In short, the beauty of denim fades through pumice stone washing has concealed huge environmental costs such as habitat destruction, heightened water and air pollution, huge transportation and energy costs, etc. However, the advent of HMS (Hand Made Stone) offers a promising alternative, embodying eco-friendly virtues from its zero-impact mining process to reduced water and energy consumption during denim production.


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What exactly is pumice stone-washed denim, and why should I reconsider buying it?

Pumice-washed denim refers to denim fabric that has undergone a distressing and softening process using pumice. It’s worth reconsidering buying it due to the hidden environmental costs associated with pumice stone mining and usage, as outlined in the blog.

How does pumice stone mining contribute to environmental degradation, and what specific impacts does it have?

Pumice stone mining contributes to environmental degradation through habitat destruction, soil erosion, and air and water pollution. It can lead to the loss of unique plant and animal species, soil infertility, deterioration of air quality, and contamination of water sources.

What are the key transportation challenges associated with the use of pumice stone in denim washing?

Transportation challenges related to pumice stone include the vast distances from mining sites to processing factories and the subsequent transportation of processed pumice to denim manufacturing facilities worldwide. These transportation activities contribute to carbon emissions and resource depletion.

What makes HMS (Hand Made Stone) an eco-friendly alternative to pumice stone?

HMS (Hand Made Stone) is an eco-friendly alternative to pumice stone due to its zero-impact mining process, which bypasses the environmentally harmful stages associated with traditional pumice stone mining. Furthermore, HMS reduces transportation needs, storage requirements, water and energy consumption, and overall environmental impact compared to pumice.


Thanks for your time 🙂

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