Cleaning Products for Travertine Tile

Travertine tile is both durable and beautiful, and it remains attractive over time as long as you care for it properly. Regular cleaning helps keep travertine floors in great condition. But, if you jump into travertine tile cleaning without doing your homework, you could damage the finish of the tile.

Man cleaning bathtub tiles and fixtures with scrub brush
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Cleaning Products for Travertine Tile

What Is Travertine Tile?

Travertine tile is a natural stone tile with attractive variations in color and texture. It often contains air pockets caused by carbon dioxide bubbles trapped while the stone was being formed, which increase its depth and subtle elegance. This natural stone brings a unique warm ambiance to kitchens, living spaces,and bathrooms.

You'll find several different finishes available for travertine tile, like hone-finish and polish-finish. Hone-finish is satiny and smooth but doesn't reflect much light. This makes it ideal for floors and other high-traffic areas. Polish-finished travertine stone is high-gloss and reflects light. It is more frequently used on countertops and tables. Regardless of which type you select, your travertine tile cleaning procedure will be similar.

How to Clean Travertine Floors?

Travertine floors are naturally going to accumulate dust and dirt, but they can get stained as well. Travertine tile cleaning for your floors starts with removal of the lose material. Dry dust mopping works well and doesn't etch the natural stone.

Regular cleaning of travertine floors doesn't require any exotic tile cleaners, but a few rules should be considered. Do not use an acidic product for cleaning travertine, since this can etch or dull the stone's surface. Instead, clean the tile with a mixture of a pH neutral dishwashing soap and hot water. Wash the floor in overlapping, sweeping wipes, then rinse well with clear water. You can also use a natural stone cleaner if you prefer, following the manufacturer's directions.

Travertine Table Top Care

Travertine tile cleaning is quite similar when you are talking about tables or countertops, but the risks of stains may be greater. Keep in mind that travertine tile is quite sensitive to acidic substances. This includes beverages like wine, coffee and fruit juices, one reason people who love travertine tile forgo using it on counters and table tops. Coasters are a must under cans and glasses.

Spills are certain to happen, so know what to do. The first rule is: blot up spills immediately, then wipe down the area with a soft cloth dipped in hot water. No fancy products should be used for this type of cleaning, nor tried-and-true home remedies for stains, such as vinegar, ammonia or lemon juice. Don't use any type of generic bathroom or kitchen cleaner on your travertine tiles, either. Even creams may include abrasives that scratch and dull the surface. Use only hot water, mild dish soap and products specially formulated for cleaning stone tile.

Removing Stains From Travertine

Travertine tile available commercially is often pre-sealed to lock out stains. But if you opt for tile that wasn't sealed, you might want to have the installer apply a sealer. Check for the tile manufacturer's recommendation to obtain the best sealant for your tiles.

If you get stains on your tile before it is sealed, you'll have to work with it. Figure out what type of product caused the stain first, since the appropriate product to use differs between stains. For example, products like grease or cosmetics leave an oil-based stain that can require the use of ammonia, acetone or mineral spirits. Wet a cloth with the cleaner and put it over the stain to draw the oil out. On the other side of the spectrum, if the surface is marred by an acid stain, it is probably etched and marked. Use water and marble polishing powder to buff out the damage. You can use a buffing pad powered by a drill or polisher set at low.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler

From Alaska to California, from France's Basque Country to Mexico's Pacific Coast, Teo Spengler has dug the soil, planted seeds and helped trees, flowers and veggies thrive. A professional writer and consummate gardener, Spengler has written about home and garden for Gardening Know How, San Francisco Chronicle, Gardening Guide and Go Banking Rates. She earned a BA from U.C. Santa Cruz, a law degree from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall, and an MA and MFA from San Francisco State. She currently divides her life between San Francisco and southwestern France.