How to Make Travertine Tiles Shine

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Travertine is a popular tile choice for its luster and durability. However, it's not impervious to dust and debris that can make it dull over time. Travertine floor polishing can bring it back to its former pristine and gleaming state. It doesn't take much effort but it does take time up close with the tiles to bring out the natural shine of this gorgeous décor choice.

How to Make Travertine Tiles Shine
Image Credit: akurtz/iStock/GettyImages

Cleaning Dirty Tiles

The best way to clean travertine tile floors is with water and elbow grease. If dust and dirt have had time to settle on the tiles, it may have become embedded in the crevices of the natural stone. Fully wipe down the stones with a damp sponge or cloth. Get into the corners and pull up as much dirt up from the top of the stone as you can. Don't use soap. This can clog the porous surface of the stone. A mild soap should only be used a few times a year during the regular maintenance of previously polished travertine tile flooring.

Regular Maintenance for Travertine

Although travertine is durable, it does have its weak points. Acidic substances, such as vinegar, juice, wine or coffee, can dull the finish. This is important to understand when you are cleaning a travertine backsplash. If you are using a vinegar solution to clean the countertops, don't clean the travertine backsplash with the same solution. If the travertine does become etched by a spilled drink or splash of juice, there are etching remover kits online or you can buff out the marks with a buffer.

Travertine Floor Polishing

Clean travertine stone floors are gorgeous to behold. Once the floors are clean, they should be gently sanded down. Use large circular motions to remove the top layer of grit and grime from the stone. This is the time to fix cracked tiles or any etching or stains that may have affected any of the travertine tiles.

Now, it's time to buff a beautiful shine into the travertine. A buffing machine will make fast work of the job for large tiled spaces. Go over the space with long, slow strokes. Make sure not to hover over one space too long or you can make an uneven surface or otherwise damage the travertine. Vary the sandpaper down to 800-grit rounds on your buffer to get a high sheen. Once you are satisfied with the shine, mop up any dust that is left behind from all that work.


Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at

View Work