How To Clean Travertine Flooring

Travertine flooring is a type of fibrous limestone found around mineral spring deposits.

It has a neutral, earthy color and a texture that resembles marble.

It is a very popular building material and tends to be sold in tiles used predominantly for flooring.

How To Clean Travertine Flooring

Travertine is a very durable, heavy, and porous material. These pores are created due to the presence of small carbon dioxide bubbles in the stone as it is hardening.

This means that it requires regular maintenance in the form of resealing. That being said, the flooring will last for many, many years if you care for it correctly.  

Travertine features prominently in the architecture of the Roman colosseum. You should take care not to get the stones too wet as this can allow moisture to seep into the sealant and grout.

This can cause structural issues over time, as well as leading to the development of mildew and mold.

Daily

You should sweep your floor at least once a day. This will help to remove any loose dust and debris from the floor’s surface and will help to maintain its condition for longer. This is because small particles of debris can drag along the stone, scratching the surface.

You should opt for a non-abrasive or soft-bristled brush to do your sweeping. You can also choose to use a dry mop. This can have a disposable or permanent pad attached.

If the pad is permanent, you should take great care to clean it after every use. This will prevent dirt from building up and getting dragged across the ground.

We do not advise running a vacuum cleaner over your travertine flooring. This is because the plastic casing of the vacuum head can easily scrape and chip the tiles.

Weekly

You should mop your floor at least once a week after you have swept the floor. Sweeping first will make your mopping more efficient and ensure you don’t just spread dirt around.

You should use a mild floor cleaning solution. This should have a neutral pH and should not contain any abrasive chemicals. You should dilute this cleaner with warm water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

You should never use vinegar, bleach or other chemicals this harsh. This is because they can cause irreparable damage to your flooring.

There are many cleaning chemicals that are designed specifically for use on stone flooring. Soapstone cleaners tend to be the most mild, but anything designed for limestone or travertine will be suitable. 

Occasionally it will be useful to add a few drops of a dish soap to the water for some extra oomph while you clean.

It is a good idea to run over the floor one time after this with just water. This will help you to remove any soapy residue that is left behind.

It is a good idea to wring out your mop as much as possible before placing it on the floor. You could even consider running over it with a dry mop afterwards, or using a towel to dry the stone surface.

How can you clean spills?

As a general rule, the sooner you clean up a spill the better. The longer you leave substances on the stone, the more chance they have of soaking in and staining.

You should use a dry cloth or sponge to blot the stain as soon as it appears. 

Dilute some dish soap in water and then dip in a sponge. Rub the stain in a clockwise motion over the stain to lift it. Rinse with clean water. This is a particularly useful method for dealing with greasy or oily stains.

You could also spread baking soda over the spilled liquid and then spray with water. This should create a paste which can be rubbed into the stain on the flooring. Allow this to sit on the stain for 2-3 hours before rinsing off with clean water.

When you are using a new chemical or cleaning method, we recommend testing it on an inconspicuous area of the flooring first. This will ensure that it will not discolor or damage your tiles.

How can you clean mold from travertine tiles?

You should create a solution that is 1 part baking soda, 4 parts borax, and 8 parts water.

Pour this combination into a spray bottle and then spray this onto the moldy area of your floor. Allow it to sit here for at least 15 minutes. 

Scrub well using a small brush and then wipe away any excess using a damp cloth.

If the stain has still not gone, repeat this process, allowing the solution to sit for 30 minutes this time. Scrub again and rinse clean. Use a towel to wipe the surface dry. 

How can you clean stains?

If you have some particularly tough stains to remove, we recommend first trying a mixture of floor cleaner and water. If this doesn’t work, you can move onto the next idea.

Paint stains, shoe marks, pen lines, and ink can all be very difficult to remove from travertine. We recommend using a diluted solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water. 

If your stones are darker in color, we suggest using acetone in place of the hydrogen peroxide. 

If your stain seems particularly resolute, or you are concerned about damaging the flooring, we would recommend contacting a professional cleaning company.

How can you clean grout?

Many commercially available grout cleaners are not designed for travertine flooring. This means that a key ingredient in them is bleach, which we have already established is bad for the stone. 

Instead, you should make a paste from baking soda and water. Apply this to the grout using a toothbrush or small brush. Rub it in and scrub vigorously to lift any dirt and grime from the grout. 

Wipe the flooring clean with a damp cloth to remove any excess baking soda.

Do you need to reseal travertine flooring?

Yes, you should reseal travertine flooring every 3 to 5 years, based on the usage. This sealant layer is used to protect the stone underneath and helps to prolong its lifespan.

Over time the sealant layer will wear down and this is why it needs to be replaced periodically. 

There are 2 main types of sealant used for travertine. The first penetrates deeply into the stone to clog up the pores. This makes it very hard for moisture to enter and get trapped in the stone.

A surface barrier sealant is then added on top to give the stones a clear coat. This is used to prevent spilled substances from discoloring the floor tiles. 

The initial sealant is unlikely to need replacing as it will have penetrated the stone, but you should periodically give the surface of your tiles a replacement barrier surface seal. 

To reseal travertine flooring, you will first need to remove any wax sat on the surface. Deep clean the travertine tiles and then allow them to dry completely, for at least 72 hours.

Find your sealant of choice and pour onto the flooring according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Level out and leave to dry for 30 minutes before applying a second coat.

Mop up any excess and buff the surface with a microfiber cloth. Allow to dry for 48 hours.

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