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How to Clean Travertine Tile

Walk In shower tiled in natural travertine stone with metallic profiles and corner shelves.

Cleaning travertine tiles requires care to preserve their natural beauty and prevent damage. In this article, we will explain how to clean travertine tile floors and travertine tile showers as well as some general guidance on caring for these natural stone tiles.

What You'll Need

  • Dish soap or commercial stone tile cleaning product
  • Broom or vacuum with soft brush attachment
  • Bucket or spray bottle
  • Soft mop or soft sponge
  • Soft towel or squeegee


How to Clean Travertine Floors

Step 01 of 04: Sweep or Vacuum

Use a soft-bristled broom or vacuum cleaner to remove loose dirt and debris, which could scratch the surface of the travertine if they are spread around with a mop. If you are using a vacuum, either use one without a beater bar or use a soft bristle hose attachment.


Step 02 of 04: Mix the Cleaning Solution

Fill your bucket with warm water and mix a small amount of dish soap or the appropriate amount of commercial stone tile cleaner as directed by the manufacturer. Never use harsh chemicals or acid-based cleaners, as these can seriously damage travertine tiles..


Step 03 of 04: Mop the Floor

Dunk your mop into the bucket to get it wet and then thoroughly wring it out so it is slightly damp. Leaving excess moisture on travertine tiles even for a short period can put the tiles at risk of water damage, especially if they are not properly sealed.

Fill a second bucket with clean water and rinse the mop regularly to ensure you are not spreading dirt from one area of the floor to another. Once all the mopping is complete, go over the floor a second time with clean water to remove any cleaning solution residue that may be left over.


Step 04 of 04: Dry the Floor

Go over the floor with a soft towel or a microfiber cloth to pick up any remaining water. Doing this quickly will help prevent water spots that can make it so your floor still looks dirty.


How to Clean a Travertine Tile Shower

Step 01 of 04: Mix a Bottle of Cleaning Solution

Fill a spray bottle with warm water and add a few drops of liquid dish soap or the recommended amount of commercial stone tile cleaning solution as specified by the manufacturer. Shake the bottle thoroughly to mix the solution. Do not use shower cleaners that are not specifically designed to be used on natural stone tiles, as they are very likely to damage your travertine shower.


Step 02 of 04: Wet the Surface

Wet the shower tiles with warm water to loosen any dirt or soap scum. Consider cleaning the shower tiles immediately after taking a shower to take advantage of the lengthy steaming the tiles have received.


Step 03 of 04: Spray and Scrub the Tile

Spray the shower walls with the cleaning solution and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Use a soft sponge to gently wipe down the surface in a circular motion. Work your way from top to bottom to avoid streaking. Pay particular attention to spots where fixtures meet the tile to avoid unsightly rings of soap scum around the showerhead or faucet.


Step 04 of 04: Rinse and Dry Thoroughly

Once you've finished cleaning the tiles, thoroughly rinse the entire surface area with clean, warm water. This removes any cleaning solution residue that can leave streaks.

Next, working top to bottom, use a squeegee to remove excess water from the tile, then go over the area with a soft towel or microfiber cloth to get any remaining water. This two step process will help your tiles look as fresh and clean as possible.


Travertine Tile Care Tips

Cleaning Schedule

For both floors and shower walls, a weekly cleaning is recommended to keep tiles looking pristine and to prevent the buildup of dirt or soap scum. If either area is used heavily or starts to look dirty before a week has passed since the last cleaning, consider cleaning it every two to three days. Spills or other more urgent cleaning needs should be tended to as quickly as possible to prevent staining.


How to Make Travertine Tiles Last Longer

There are a few simple steps you can take to help your travertine tiles last longer. The first and most important step to take is to ensure your travertine tiles are properly sealed. Whether they are installed on your living room floor or in your shower, sealing travertine tiles will protect them against moisture, scratching and other potential natural stone hazards.

To make your travertine floor tiles last longer, place doormats at entrances to trap dirt and debris before it gets tracked onto the floor tiles. When these little bits of abrasive material accumulate, they can begin to scratch the tile surface. Area rugs in high-traffic areas can also help protect the travertine from scratches and wear.


How to Clean Grout Lines

If your grout lines need a more thorough cleaning than the travertine tile surrounding them, it's important to take extra care to clean them without damaging the delicate stone surface. The simplest way to do this is by giving extra attention to the grout lines during your routine cleaning process. Spend a little extra time going over the grout lines with the mop or sponge.

For grout lines that need more deeper cleaning, you can apply a mixture of equal parts water and baking soda. Allow this mixture to sit for a few minutes and then scrub it with a small, soft bristle brush such as a grout brush or a toothbrush.

Travertine Tile Cleaning FAQs

  • What is the best thing to clean travertine tile with?

    The best thing to clean travertine tile with is a solution of warm water and a mild, pH-neutral cleaner such as dish soap or commercial tile cleaner. Dish soap is a great choice because it's gentle and effective at removing everyday dirt and grime from travertine's surface. Commercial tile cleaners are even better at giving travertine tiles a thorough cleaning because they are specially formulated to clean and protect natural stone tiles without causing damage.

  • What should you not use on travertine tile?

    Travertine tile is made of natural stone and has specific cleaning and maintenance requirements. As such, there are several things you should absolutely avoid using on travertine tile.

    • Acidic cleaners. Vinegar, citrus cleaners, and other acidic products can eat away at the calcium carbonate in travertine, causing permanent damage.
    • Abrasive tools. Skip anything with rough or gritty textures, like steel wool, scouring pads or stiff brushes. These can scratch the soft surface of the stone.
    • Generic tile cleaners. Many commercially available tile cleaners contain harsh chemicals or undisclosed ingredients that might not be suitable for travertine.
  • Do travertine floors need to be sealed?

    Travertine tile is made from  natural, porous stone, so your travertine floors need to be sealed regularly to keep them free of damage. That porosity means the tile's surface can easily absorb liquids, which can lead to mold and mildew growth, staining or otherwise damage your tiles. Sealing creates a barrier that helps prevent water and other liquids from penetrating the tile.

    Sealed travertine floors are also easier to clean and maintain. Dirt and debris stay on the surface and don't get absorbed into the stone, making them simpler to wipe away. This helps prevent particulates from scratching the tile surface and ruining its natural beauty.

    You will have to reseal your travertine floors regularly to maintain this protective layer. For areas that see light to moderate foot traffic, resealing every three to five years is usually sufficient. For higher traffic areas, you may need to seal as often as every one to two years.

    If you are unsure about the state of your travertine floor's sealer, pour a small amount of water in an inconspicuous spot. Look to see whether the water beads or starts to seep into the tile. Water seeping into the tile means it is time to reseal your floors.