Travertine Cleaning Do’s and Don’ts

travertine cleaning do's and don'ts

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.

travertine cleaning do's and don'ts


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 Cleaning Do's and Don'ts

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.



Travertine Tile Cleaning Solutions

One of THE most asked questions I get is, “What should I clean my travertine tile floors with after you are done?” There are several travertine tile cleaning solutions out there but the one we usually recommend using is Stone Tech’s, Stone & Tile Cleaner Stone Tech Stone & Tile Cleaner  This non-abrasive, pH balanced cleaner is formulated so it won’t damage sealer or stone like other cleaners. Designed to be safe enough for use on natural stone, ceramic and porcelain tile floors.

Another travertine tile cleaning solution we recommend is Stone Tech’s Revitilizer Cleaner Protector.  This cleaner, “Cleans common messes while reinforcing protection. It’s built-in sealer makes surfaces easier to clean. Great for stone countertops, floors, and showers. Recommended surfaces: Natural stone such as travertine, marble, granite, slate and sandstone.”  Here is a link to the product on Amazon’s Stone Tech Revitilizer . We recommend diluting it more than the recommended guidelines! 

Believe it or not, most damage occurs from just walking around on your floor when it is dirty. We recommend using a dry, non-treated, dust mop everyday to remove dirt, sand, small rocks and dust. These particulates collect on the bottom of your shoes and slowly grind down the surface of the floor as you walk. This is a very common problem in North Scottsdale, Carefree and Cave Creek where many neighborhoods are on dirt roads. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the potential damage from these particles. In addition, be careful when using a vacuum cleaner as the metal or plastic attachments or wheels may scratch the surface. Damp mop the stone floor with a diluted solution of a neutral cleaner designed for stone. 

While we like the line of products produced by Stone Tech, any neutral, PH BALANCED cleaner will do.

Note** If the cleaner is too alkaline it will dull your floor. If it has any acid in it, it will dull your floor and ruin the finish.

Travertine Tile Cleaning SolutionTravertine Tile Cleaning SolutionsStone Tech Tile Cleaner–tile-floor-cleaner

Dull spots on your travertine

Do you have dull spots on your travertine floor and are wondering where they came from? Have you been trying to wipe them off with no success? This is because the  surface of the stone has been etched from some type of acidic item coming into contact with the stone. This can come in the form of a household cleaner, a food item or dog byproduct. 🙂

These dull spots on your travertine are an annoyance for any home owner to be sure. The only way to rid yourself of these pesky little spots is to have Scottsdale Travertine Polishing come out with the machines and remove them using our diamond pads. We use a series of diamond embedded pads to remove the damaged layer and polish it back up. Though this process is best if done at the time of your scheduled cleaning, spot removal is possible.

The travertine floor in the picture below shows an etch mark from dog urine and an after picture of how it looked once we removed the spot and polished the floor back up. B-E-A-utiful! 🙂

Dull spots on your travertine

Lippage Removal Pictures

Travertine Lipage Removal

Uneven tile got you down? You need travertine lippage removal!

Travertine lipage removal

Travertine Lipage Removal

No, this is not a term used in plastic surgery. lol. The term, lipage removal, refers to uneven travertine tile. If this is a problem  you are facing, there is a solution and it does not include tearing out your floor.

First, the floor must be fully ground down to level out the tiles.. This can be a bit tricky because if you grind the floor too much, holes start appearing in both the tile and the grout. Sometimes, even if you are careful, holes are created through grinding and will have to be filled before sealing. Next step in the lipage removal process is to polish the tile back up. That process is a slow one which will take several steps depending upon how highly polished the customer want it. After you have polished it to the desired shine level it’s time to put a penetrating sealer on it. We use Modern Stone Technologies Line of Sealers.


Topical sealer for stone? Yea or Nay?

Does your travertine floor get scuff marks when you move furniture across it? Have you been scrubbing and scrubbing on it and it doesn’t seem to come any cleaner? Well, you may have a topical sealer for stone otherwise known as “a coating” on it.

Travertine Cleaning

Topical Sealer On Tile

We say Nay to topical sealer for stone but especially for travertine. It is our opinion, after years in the biz, that a topical sealer is a hassle and a major maintenance expense. The downfall to topical sealers is they scuff easily and the high cost to maintain the floor. Eventually, it WILL need to be stripped off and redone or polished properly which is an extensive process sometimes costing thousands of dollars. For a while you can get away with cleaning and recoating but this just a temporary fix as it adds more layers of topical sealer that will need to be removed down the line.

BUMMM-MER if a topical sealer is found on your stone! Usually we find topical sealers in homes that have been flipped because it’s a cheap way to get a quick shine. Always ALWAYS have a Stone Care Professional work on your stone floors, NOT a carpet cleaning company that tells you that they can “clean that tile up for you”. I assure you, this almost always end in disaster. A true stone care professional will not offer a topical sealer option for travertine. We will always offer travertine polishing.

The first thing we do on a floor like this is strip the existing coating off the travertine. We do this by using a chemical stripper and a 17″ buffer with a scrubbing pad. After several passes with the buffer we pick up the old coating using a truck mounted rinse extraction machine. We have to go around all the edges by hand because the machinery is limited as to how close it can get to the wall and under cabinets. Once all of the old coating is removed, we hone the travertine using a low grit diamond pad. Honing is an important step because it removes a small layer of the stone and evens out the appearance of the tile before we shine it up. After the travertine honing we polish. Travertine polishing is offered in a flat, satin, gloss, or high gloss look. Each type of polish is done using polishing powders and diamond pads. We do not use any type of gloss or wax to achieve the high shine you see in the picture below.

Travertine Polishing Scottsdale, AZ

Acid Polished Travertine

White Stuff On Your Travertine Shower Walls?

Travertine Cleaning

Travertine Shower Cleaning

So, you’ve been scrubbing and scrubbing all day long and still the white stuff reappears after the tile dries. What the heck is going on, you ask yourself?!? You have tried cleaner after cleaner and nothing- the white mark is still there. What is this awful white stuff on your travertine shower walls that won’t go away???
Well, it’s a combination of hard water buildup that has been left behind on the surface of the stone and etching of the travertine from some sort of an acid compound, in this instance, soap. An etch mark occurs when an acidic compound is left too long on the surface of the tile. As it sits there, it begins reacting to the calcium that is naturally found in the travertine and thus a dull white spot is born.
Annoying huh! The only way to rid yourself of these pesky white stains is to call out the professionals at Scottsdale Travertine to polish and clean the stone. I think it’s important to note that no amount of sealer will protect your travertine from this phenomenon. My suggestion to our clients with travertine showers, get on a maintenance plan with us. It is much easier to keep up with it if we are not waiting 3 years in between cleanings. Another suggestion I give is to wipe down your shower after use. This will likely only help with a portion of the hard water buildup. It will not help the etching situation as it is an instantaneous reaction.

Stone Cleaning | How do I clean my travertine tile?

After we leave how do you clean and maintain your natural stone travertine tile?

So, we have just finished cleaning and polishing your travertine floors and you are now wondering, how do I maintain this beast??  

We get this question nearly everyday… “Once you are done with our floors how do I clean my travertine tile on a daily or weekly basis?”  First, NEVER EVER clean your floors with vinegar or any other acid based cleaner. This is the fastest way to dull down the travertine in which you’ve just made a significant investment. So then, what should you do in order to maintain your travertine floors?

We recommend first vacuuming or sweeping the floor to remove dust and crumbs. Even if you don’t see any visible dirt, it’s there, and will become your prime culprit for dirty grout. Once the floor is clear of particulates you can mix up a bit of Neutral Based stone cleaner in your sink or a bucket and begin your travertine floor cleaning. Be sure to dilute the Stone Tech Stone & Tile Cleaner   as it says on the label. You can even dilute it a bit more if it’s for weekly cleaning. As far as mops go, we recommend using a rectangular shaped plastic mop that has an elastic terry cloth or microfiber towel wrapped around the head. Any of the home improvement warehouses will have them as well as replacement towels. I’ve added a picture with a link below to the one we use but anything resembling this will work just fine.

Helpful tip… make sure you take the cloth off and rinse it out in fresh water after you have done 100 square feet or so. This means you are changing and/or cleaning that mop head VERY FREQUENTLY.  If you don’t, you will be moving dirt from one spot to another on your floor. You may also want to make another bucket of fresh cleaning solution halfway through the cleaning. We also recommend having a maintenance cleaning and polishing done, in the traffic areas, every other year to keep it fresh. This will be less than half the cost of the original job if you keep your floors professionally maintained.

Stay tuned. In my next blog I will list and discuss a few of the different stone cleaning solutions available to home owners.

How do I clean my travertine tileStone Tech Tile Cleaner


Travertine Scratch Removal

Travertine Scratch Removal

Travertine Scratch

Scratches In Your Travertine???

So, you’re moving your furniture across the room and you put a nice big scratch in your beautiful travertine. Don’t panic, it’s not ruined, it does need professional help though! Watch our six minute travertine scratch removal video to see an example of how the pros at Scottsdale Travertine Polish can help you.

Travertine scratch removal is not an easy or quick process. You must take into consideration that not all scratches are, both, worth removing and possible to remove. A number of factors will determine the proper course of action. These factors include depth of the scratch, length of the scratch, availability of replacement tiles, etc. Some scratches are so deep that all the grinding in the world won’t remove them. On the other hand, some scratches are so minor that paying to have every little scratch removed is not cost efficient.

Regardless of the situation, Scottsdale Travertine Polish is here to help you make that decision.
Travertine Scratch Removal Video

Frustrated by holes in your travertine?

Holes in your travertine

Travertine Holes

Ever wonder why you get holes in your travertine tile? Well, this is one of the most common questions that we get from our clients. The short answer is that travertine is like Swiss cheese – full of holes all the way through it. When the raw travertine is cut into tiles, the surface holes are filled and then polished to a specific finish. Yet beneath the surface of the tiles, holes still remain. These holes, called vughs, typically differ in mineral composition from the travertine itself, which is composed mainly of calcium carbonate. These vughs could be composed of granite, quartz, salt, etc. If salt is among the compounds, it is likely acidic. Should this salt be exposed to water, it dissolves, and the acid is released. The acid causes the calcium carbonate to disintegrate, causing a hole to form. Since travertine polishing involves the use of abrasives to bring up the shine, it’s common for holes to form during the process. Depending on the size of the hole and number of holes, we either fill them with non-sanded grout or epoxy travertine filler.

Next time your wonder why you have holes in your travertine call the experts at Scottsdale Travertine Polish for a free estimate to repair them!

Remove Etch Marks – Video

Ever wondered if those dull spots on your travertine could be removed? Watch the video below to see how we remove etch marks from your travertine?

Many people believe they have “water marks” on their travertine floor when in fact it is not a water mark at all, it is an etch mark. See our previous post, What is an etch mark? ‎‎

This video demonstrates the use of travertine polishing to remove etch marks or “water marks”. The process can easily be scaled up to remove etch marks from travertine floors by using a 17 inch travertine polishing machine and rinse extraction system.

Over time travertine will start to become dull and dingy looking. The general dulling of travertine floors and counters is typically associated with an abundance of etch marks and light scratching. You can only remove etch marks through polishing with a high speed buffer.  Cleaning the tile will not remove these pesky dull marks and no amount of sealer in the world is going to keep them from appearing.
Etch Mark Removal Video

See our Travertine Polishing Gallery for before and after pictures of our work.