Cleaning Travertine Guide

Cleaning travertine is easy ...but it's important to know what you are dealing with. Once you learn more about the qualities and characteristics of travertine and apply the simple "How To" secrets found on this page your travertine will look fabulous for decades.

Tips and Techniques that you find here also apply for cleaning travertine floor tile.

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First of all, travertine is warm and beautiful with unique pattern and color characteristics that complements almost any design. But in a way, it is delicate....

Travertine is a stone, of course, but not nearly as dense or hard as granite. Travertine will wear well and last forever, however it is sensitive to acidic substances (juice, wine, coffee) so it can etch (dull the polish) rather easily... just like marble and limestone.

In fact, travertine, marble and limestone are so similar in composition, chemical and physical characteristics that cleaning procedures and maintenance requirements are essentially the same for all three types of stone.

That's why you see a link to download our new comprehensive ebook on cleaning marble (and travertine too) at the top of this page. This book details every technique, method and solution along with all the information and answers you'll ever want or need about protecting, maintaining, repairing, restoring and cleaning travertine, marble or limestone.

So.... travertine will etch easily, but sealing has nothing to do with and won't prevent etching.

Sealing is to guard against staining. Travertine can stain when honed or tumbled, but polished travertine is nearly stain-proof and usually doesn't need sealing. You just need to test it to know for sure.

Because of the "etching" issue, travertine is not recommended for you kitchen countertop or heavily used bathroom. Travertine floor tile, however, will be just fine in any room.

Best use of travertine is for powder baths, table tops, tub surrounds, showers, floor tile and stone fireplace surrounds.

Use the following Do's and Don'ts to help you avoid bad habits and establish a safe method for cleaning travertine.

Also check out the General Care & Cleaning Guide for the best tips on maintaining all types of countertop surfaces and floor tile.

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We've used many products for cleaning travertine (Stone Tech, Miracle, SCI) but one brand has proven better than the rest... made for pros and cheaper too!

Do's and Don'ts

Do: Test and seal Your Travertine as needed.
You may have read about sealing your stone and all the "hassle" cleaning travertine is, but I assure you it’s no big deal. The job is as simple as... "wipe on - wipe off". The time and cost involved is really inconsequential when compared to how fabulous travertine counter tops and floors look in your home—not to mention the added value when compared with other surfaces. And if your travertine is polished, you may not need sealing. Just test it to find out.

Use a top quality penetrating sealer like Stone Care Pro & SenGuard Sealers to protect your investment.

Do: Blot up spills immediately.
Travertine is much more sensitive than granite to acidic substances like wine, coffee, fruit juices, tomato sauce, sodas, toiletry products and cleaning products that can etch (dull) the polish (shine) or stain the surface.

Do: Clean surfaces using a sponge or soft cloth.
The only cleaning agents you should use on a regular basis are hot water and a specially formulated stone cleaner/sealer. I recommend STONE PLUS Cleaner. Buff dry with a cotton cloth or chamois. Using a mild soap occasionally (3-4 times a year) for cleaning travertine won’t harm the stone, but consistent use will dull the surface.

Do: Use coasters under all glasses, bottles and cans.
Bottles, cans and glasses with acidic drinks may etch the polish or damage the surface leaving a "glass ring."

So make cleaning travertine easy and avoid expensive marble polishing and marble restoration by treating your travertine surfaces like fine wood furniture. Always use coasters matter what.

Do: Use a tray for toiletry products in the bathroom. A decorative tray can look very nice and it will protect the surface from the damaging chemicals contained in many toiletry products.

Do: Dust mop your travertine floor tile regularly.
Use a clean, dry, non-treated dust-mop. Be careful using a vacuum cleaner. Worn parts or grit jammed by the wheels may scratch the surface. Also, mop regularly using a specialized stone cleaner.

Tip: Travertine polishing on floor tile makes a very slick surface, so go with a "honed," "tumbled" or "flamed" floor tile. It will look warm and inviting and hide dust and dirt much better.

Also, travertine's distinctive voids and holes can easily be filled upon installation to keep dirt from accumulating.

Do: Use door mats inside and out along with runners and area rugs.
Grit, dirt and sand carried in by our shoes are abrasive and will wear and scratch travertine floor tile.

Don't: Use generic, store-bought cleaning products of ANY kind.
Cleaning travertine with products bought at your local store that contain acids, alkalis and other chemicals can etch or damage the countertop surface or degrade the sealant leaving the stone more vulnerable to staining.

It may not happen right away and trying to save money by using cheap, generic surface cleaners only ensures that you'll spend a lot more time and money on your travertine care in the long-run performing expensive repairs or travertine restoration.

Don't: Use vinegar, ammonia, lemon or orange for cleaning travertine. As noted above, a sponge with hot water is all you need on a daily basis and a stone cleaner/sealer weekly.

Don't: Use generic bathroom, tub & tile or grout cleaners.
The powders and even the "soft" creams contain abrasives that will scratch and dull the surface.

Use only products specially formulated for cleaning travertine like STONE CARE PRO products.

Don't: Sit or stand on your countertops.
Unlike laminate countertops, travertine countertops are not flexible and they DO NOT have a plywood backing, so too much weight in one spot could cause a crack.

Don't: Place toiletry products directly on your countertop surface. Hair products, toothpaste, perfumes, colognes, nail products, creams, lotions and potions may stain or damage the surface or etch the polish leaving a ring. Protect your countertop by placing these products on a decorative tray like they do in fancy hotels!

Think Roman Coliseum
OK. I know it seems like there is a lot to do and know about cleaning travertine, but if you think about it most of the Do’s and Don’ts are things you already do and don't do! And the new tips you’ve learned about how to clean travertine are really very easy.

The best advice is to get a separate cleaning tote for your travertine cleaning products and the products you use on other surface types you may have . . . such as granite, quartz or Corian.

Label everything and off you go--no problems or guesswork. This is especially handy if you use a cleaning service. You’ll never have to worry that you or the maid might accidentally use the wrong product. Cleaning travertine is simply a matter of routine.

Just keep in mind that travertine has stood the test of time and it is meant to be used. So with just a little TLC, you’ll enjoy its beauty for years.

Cleaning Travertine Questions & Answers

Learn even more! Click on the links below to see questions submitted by other visitors with complete answers and great info.

Sealing Travertine Tile Showers 
QUESTION: Ok, I know this is a subject that comes up often, I just want to make sure I have this right from everything I've read. I am installing a …

Removing Streaky Travertine Sealer 
QUESTION: I installed polished travertine flooring (Jinshan Carmel P/F) which my installer sealed with an unpolished sealer. The results were streaked …

Sealing Travertine Shower 
QUESTION: Should I put a sealer on my new travertine showers and floor tile? ANSWER: Yes... and No... let me explain... Many travertines …

Cleaning Grout & Sealing Travertine Problem Not rated yet
QUESTION: I just had a travertine floor honed surface laid and the installer grouted the tiles and then put an impregnating sealer enhancer on the tile. …

Travertine Maintenance Sealing & Cleaning Answers Not rated yet
QUESTION: I've installed brand new travertine floor tile. I've heard that you must have it buffed and sealed. Do professionals have to come …

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