My Guide to Travertine Cleaning Do’s and Don’ts!
Travertine is a beautiful material which can easily fit most anyone’s decor. If properly maintained it can be enjoyed for years to come. That being said, how DO YOU maintain your travertine tile? I have put together a small list of travertine cleaning Do’s and Don’ts for your reference.
Do: Vacuum or dust mop the floor prior to cleaning. This will keep the grout lines cleaner for a longer period of time.
Do: Change your mop water frequently. If you keep the mop water clean it will reduce the amount of dirt being spread around while you are mopping.
Do: Use a neutral based stone cleaner to clean your travertine and marble floors. Travertine and Marble are very sensitive to acid based and highly alkaline cleaners. Neutral on the PH scale is 7. Any solution with a pH below 7 is an acid and any solution with a pH above 7 is an alkali (or base). Please follow directions on the cleaning bottle and dilute as directed.
Do: Seal your travertine grout. There are companies out there that pitch the no sealing route when highly polishing the stone. I agree that the stone doesn’t necessarily need to be sealed but the grout does. The grout will never come clean if it wasn’t sealed with a penetrating sealer.
Do: Use a coasters or a wooden block under your cups, bottles and wine glasses. Any drink that contains acid will leave a ring on your countertop. This ring is called an etch mark and most likely will have to be honed out by a professional and polished back up to match the rest of the countertop finish around it. You can watch my video on etch mark removal here.
FYI: Regular cleaning of your travertine tile will help to maintain an even shine. Dirt and grit on the floor are ground into the tile as you walk around. This is a contributing factor in dulling of the travertine shine.
Do: Fix and fill holes in the travertine. Travertine repair can either be done with a two part epoxy or grout. A two part epoxy is used for the larger holes while a sanded or a non sanded grout is used for the smaller holes. Non Sanded Grout will sometimes shrink after it dries and more may need to be applied.
Ok NOW onto the DONT’s of Travertine and Marble flooring, countertops, showers etc…
Don’t: Use an acidic soap or vinegar water solution to clean your travertine or marble floors, countertops or showers. Acid soaps will dull the travertine and leave etch marks on the tile. It’s better to use soaps specifically formulated for use on natural stone. Even bleach will damage and dull the stone surface.
Don’t: Slide furniture around on your travertine floor. This will scratch the soft surface of the travertine tile and a lot of work will be needed to remove the scratch. It’s just like when you scratch wood. The tile too, will need to be sanded down to remove the scratch.
Don’t: Use any type of topical coating on your travertine or marble tile! This is a huge NO NO. They sometimes come under the guise of a sealer but they aren’t! BEWARE of anything you see that says “Gloss, Wax, Floor Finish”. Open the bottle and look at it. If you look into the bottle and see a milky white substance put it back on the shelf, it’s a topical coating and it will ruin your floor.
Don’t: Place cleaning products on your stone countertops. Unless the products you are using are safe for stone it’s probably a good idea if they are no where near your stone surfaces. Read every table to see what you are dealing with. CLR for example, when sprayed on a glass shower enclosure, can have massive consequences to the travertine tile floors surrounding it. The acid in the CLR will react with the stone from the very second it touches it and your floor will have small dull marks everywhere. They will now require honing and polishing.
Travertine can easily be restored by a licensed, professional, travertine restoration company such as Scottsdale Travertine Polish & PV Interiors. One more thing of importance to mention… MAIDS. They are the root cause of a lot of travertine flooring problems that we see. These cleaning services have no idea these travertine cleaning do’s and don’t are. Half of these maid services don’t even know that you have natural stone surfaces in your house. These cleaning service company’s inadvertently use a cleaning product that damage the stone and cost thousands to the homeowner in restoration fees. Think ahead, be proactive, give them a safe cleaning product to use on your travertine or marble surface!
Hopefully this guide to travertine cleaning do’s and don’ts helps you the next time you have a question about how to properly care for you natural stone floor.