How To Clean Travertine Flooring (Always Consider This)

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clean travertine flooring

Since they are stone, travertine floors are relatively easy to maintain. However, you need to understand how to clean travertine flooring to keep the surface looking like new over its lifetime.

Things to Consider Before You Clean Travertine Floors

The process of learning how to clean travertine flooring includes  understanding regular maintenance, deep cleaning techniques, and the proper methods for handling spills, stains, and marks . You also need to use the correct cleaning products and tools that won’t leave marks on your floor. Travertine flooring will last a lifetime if you treat it right.

Understanding the Importance of Sweeping and Mopping Often

broom and dustpan

Like other stone floors, the most common form of cleaning for travertine flooring is sweeping. Depending on how much traffic a room sees, you may want to sweep daily, or at least every few days.  Sweeping will remove particles and create a clean appearance, but it will also help with long term maintenance. 

Travertine floors can get scratched or marked by particles. For example, someone walking across the floor could drag a small pebble on the surface with them as they move, making a small scratch on the tiles.  Also, regular foot traffic could grind dirt into the floor, making it difficult to remove without mopping. 

Your choice of broom matters. You should use a broom made from non-abrasive materials to do you sweeping and pick up the particles with a dustpan. You can also use a dry mop with either a disposable or built-in pad.

If you use a permanent pad, you need to make sure that you clean it between uses. This cleaning is vital because you want to avoid dragging particles from your last sweep across the floor.

How to Give your Travertine Floor a Deeper Clean

The first step in doing a deeper clean on your travertine floor is a familiar one. You will want to sweep before you mop your floor.  Sweeping will make mopping more manageable, and it will also remove particles that the mop could drag across the floor, scratching it. 

After completing the initial sweep, you can prepare to mop. You can use a mild cleaning liquid mixed with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. By “mild,” we mean a pH neutral cleaner without abrasive chemicals. You never use bleach or other harsh cleaning agents because they can alter the color of your stone flooring forever.

What Cleaning Products Should I Use?

cleaning products

You can also use one of the many cleaners specifically designed for stone. Manufacturers label some of these cleaners for use on granite, soapstone, or limestone. Travertine falls into this category. Soapstone cleaners are generally, but not always, the mildest option, and some cleaning agents use formulas created for both limestone and travertine.

You can also use a few drops of regular dish soap during a cleaning. You probably do not want to rely on a dish-soap cleaning mixture too often, because it could potentially cause soap residue to build on the floor.

If you notice a residue, you can take a second mopping pass using clean water to rinse the soap remnants off the floor.

Whatever cleaner you use, be sure it does not have alkaline, acids, or bleach. These chemicals can cause difficult-to-repair damage to your floor.

How Do I Clean Spills on a Travertine Floor?

You can use several methods to handle spills on a travertine floor. The cleaning strategy that you use depends on the type of substance and the condition of the surface. It is always a good policy to deal with spills, stains, and other marks as soon as they occur to avoid permanent staining. The longer you wait, the harder the cleaning job becomes.

You can clean up liquid spills by first blotting them with a sponge or cloth. If you get to the stain in time, you may be able to get any residue or color out of your travertine floor with a few drops of dish soap and water, which you can rub with a sponge and rinse with clean water.  Dish soap can be especially useful on stains that contain oil or grease. 

Another natural option is baking soda. Spread the baking soda over the spill and spray it with clean water to create a paste-like substance. You can rub this mixture into the stain and leave it for several hours before rinsing clean.

How to Deal with Difficult Stains

If you have especially difficult stains, you can use a concentrated batch of water and your regular travertine floor cleaner or an alkaline-based cleaner diluted with water. Another option is to use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide (3%) and water. You will usually find it necessary to use hydrogen peroxide for stains made by ink, paint, markers, or marks from shoe soles.

If you have darker colored stone tiles, you can opt for acetone instead of hydrogen peroxide.

How to Clean Grout on a Travertine Floor

grout cleaning

The grout in between your travertine floor tiles is especially susceptible to staining and discoloration. The bad news is that most grout cleaners have bleach in them, and you want to avoid putting this chemical on your stone tiles.

 The good news is that a mix of baking soda and paste can whiten or brighten your grout without chemicals.  You can apply the mixture with a rag or use a toothbrush to rub it into the grout in areas that are severely discolored.

Grout will not scratch in the same manner as the surface of travertine tiles themselves. This means that you can be aggressive in your scrubbing.

How to Create a Like-New Look by Sealing a Travertine Floor

Travertine flooring contains natural pores. For this reason, new floors get sealed during installation. You need to reseal the tile during its lifetime to keep the smooth, shiny appearance and enhance stain resistance.

Before applying sealant, you should give your floor a thorough cleaning and make sure it is dry. If the tiles have chips, scratches, or pockmarks, use an epoxy resin to fill them in before you apply the sealant.

With these cleaning techniques and strategies, your travertine floor will remain in pristine condition for decades.

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AUTHOR

Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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