how to clean travertine floors

Cleaning Travertine Floors: Do’s, Don’ts & Tips

By Maria Hernandez / March 10, 2021 / 2 Comments

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    Travertine is a beautiful natural stone that will give you magnificent floors. As a form of limestone, it’s durable; however, there are certain precautions you need to be aware of when maintaining it. So if you want to learn how to clean travertine floors, keep on reading!

    Besides learning how to maintain travertine floors safely, you will also find out how to tackle stains, deep clean your flooring, clean grout lines, and disinfect travertine. This article is a comprehensive guide that will help you understand how simple this flooring type’s maintenance is when you have the right information.

    First, I will review the major dos and don’ts you will need to follow after having your travertine flooring installed. These points will help you prolong the life of your travertine, protect the natural stone, and prevent damage.

    The Dos And Don’ts Of Cleaning Travertine Floors

    Before I get into detail about how to tackle stains, spills, how to deep clean travertine, and more, I wanted to list the biggest do’s and don’ts you have to keep in mind when taking care of this flooring type.

    The Dos And Don’ts Of Cleaning Travertine Floors

    If this is your first experience with this natural stone, you’ll see that it’s different compared to porcelain tile flooring or ceramic tile flooring in many ways. That’s why you need to educate yourself before you act.


    1. Always opt for a cleaner that is suitable for this flooring type. Travertine is a natural stone, has pores, and can quickly soak up chemicals. Harsh chemicals can damage the stone, lead to discoloration, and dull out the surface.
      Read the labels and ingredients when buying or ordering a cleaner. It should be specifically intended for travertine.
    2. pH-neutral cleaners are the gentlest option for travertine stone. They are safer for you and your household because they are not too acidic or too alkaline.
    3. Another huge DO is to clean spills and accidents right away. As I mentioned, this natural stone can absorb liquids and chemicals, which can lead to stains. This is the main reason why you should clean any spill as fast as possible.
      Debris, dust, and other particles can also cause damage to travertine. Regular cleaning is what’s most suitable for your floors.
    4. Do a quick test with your cleaning solution to make sure it’s not damaging to your floors. This is the safest way to know that you’re doing what’s best for the flooring in your home. Test the solution in one corner of your house before deciding it’s suitable to use more broadly.
    5. Regular maintenance is one of the most significant “dos” when it comes to travertine. You should sweep and mop several times a week to ensure a clean surface without the possibility of damages and scratches from dust and dirt.
    6. Soft bristles are the way to go. When you need to sweep the floor, opt for brooms with soft bristles that will be gentle to the flooring’s surface.
    7. A dry mop is a yes! Excess water is never a good idea for this type of floor, so consider using a dry mop with soft fabric to remove debris and dust.
    8. Protect high-traffic areas and entries with rugs or runners. Stepping on area rugs will reduce the amount of dirt and dust your floors are exposed to and reduce any resulting scratching or damage.


    1. Harsh chemicals are a huge no when it comes to travertine. Fragile stone flooring does not react well when exposed to harsh cleaning substances. Although many people like adding bleach and ammonia to their DIY home cleaners, these ingredients should be a hard pass when it comes to this natural stone.
      They will not only damage travertine but can also cause a dull appearance.
    2. DIY’s are not safe. Do-It-Yourself floor cleaner recipes are another thing to avoid, especially if you want what’s best for travertine flooring. My biggest recommendation is to find pH-neutral, mild cleansers explicitly formulated for travertine.
    3. Stay away from acidic substances such as vinegar or citrus extracts. Yes, there are many DIY natural cleaner recipes online, but don’t try them out on your travertine flooring. Acids can cause irreversible damage and make the surface of your floors look dull.
    4. Dish soap is not the best alternative, either. Although dish soap is not as harsh as acidic ingredients or other general floor cleansers, it should only be used a few times a year. Even then, consider diluting it to a mild, gentle formulation.
    5. Too much water is a no-no! Soaking your mop without draining it will expose your floors to excess moisture. Travertine’s porous surface can absorb liquids; therefore, a dry or damp mop is the only acceptable choice for travertine.
    6. Random floor cleaners that you already have at home are a possible hazard for your beloved new flooring. Ensure the cleaner that you opt for is intended explicitly for travertine.
    7. Avoid the vacuum. Although vacuuming is one of the fastest and easiest ways to clean floors, it is not suitable for travertine. Using a vacuum once might not cause damage, but doing so frequently can scratch the surface and shorten the life-span of this flooring type.

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    Which Cleaning Products Are Safe To Use?

    You can’t learn how to clean travertine unless you first know which cleaning products are safe to use. Previously, I hinted that pH-neutral cleaners are the best option for this flooring type.

    Since travertine is a natural stone with pores, it must be handled with floor cleaners that are not acidic or alkaline. That’s why you should be on the lookout for a product that has a neutral pH of 7. Before you buy, go over the ingredient list and the pH value to ensure that it’s gentle enough for natural stone flooring.

    Numerous cleaning solutions are formulated especially for travertine. These are your safest bet.

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    Regular Maintenance Of Travertine Floors

    Regular maintenance of this natural stone will prolong the life of your floors, keep your home optimally hygienic, prevent scratches, stains, discoloration, damages. It will save you money in the long-term.


    Although travertine is a somewhat delicate stone, the maintenance is quite simple when you have the right information. Principally, the cleaning process doesn’t require any expensive tools or cleaners.

    To keep your floors pristine, you will need:

    • A soft-bristled broom
    • A mop with a gentle fabric
    • A pH neutral cleaner meant for travertine
    • Dry cloths

    I recommend that you sweep your floors using a broom a few times a week, then go over them with a mop. The broom will remove most of the dirt, dust, and debris, so the chances of scratching your floors will be minimal.

    You can use a dry or damp mop. Remember that one of the biggest “don’ts” for this flooring type is a wet mop. Before you start using it, wring it out to be as dry as possible.

    You can add travertine floor cleaner to the mop water, but you don’t always have to. Just warm water and a mop will do the job for regular maintenance.

    The last step is to dry your floors using a cloth. Voila, it’s that simple!

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    How To Deep-Clean Travertine Floors

    Just like everything else in your house, travertine requires deep cleaning once in a while.

    Now put your favorite pH-neutral cleaner to use. It’s the perfect solution for a deep cleanse, and it’s gentle and safe to use on this natural stone.

    Start by sweeping the floors with a broom to remove dirt, dust, and debris.

    The next step is to get your mop and mix the cleaning solution with water. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before you start using any floor cleaner.

    Once you’re finished mopping, dry the floors with a clean cloth.

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    How To Disinfect Travertine Flooring

    Disinfecting floors every few months is essential, especially during a pandemic. If you have travertine flooring installed in high-frequency areas and you own pets, it’s a given that you need to give them a deep clean and disinfection treatment at least several times a year.

    Since they are acidic, citric ingredients and bleach are a hard pass for when you are disinfecting travertine; you must find a gentler solution.

    An alternative that will do a good job is warm water with just a little bit of dish soap. The soap that you’ll use should be mild and formulated without acidic ingredients.

    After mixing these two ingredients, you can go over your floors with your mop. Follow up with another round of mopping; this time, do so with just warm water. That’s how you’ll make sure that the floors are spotless, without any soap residue left behind.

    Finish off with a soft cloth to completely dry your travertine floors. Deep cleaning isn’t a complicated process.

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    How To Remove Stains From Travertine Flooring

    Stains are such a nuisance when it comes to cleaning travertine floors. Since this natural stone is porous, it quickly absorbs liquid, which can cause difficult stains.

    The first rule of removing stains is to tackle messes right away. Grab paper towels or cloth once an accident happens and use them to absorb the liquid. Next, if there is a noticeable discoloration, you need to find the right solution to treat the stain.

    Oil-Based Stains

    Oil-based stains can be treated with cleaners that are formulated to tackle oils specifically. You can make a poultice by mixing baking soda and water, applying it to a cloth, and then laying the fabric over the stain. Let the soda do its magic for a few hours, then clean the area with water.

    Paint Stains

    Paint stains are quite challenging, and in most cases, require a special paint remover that you can get online or from the nearest store.

    Organic Stains

    Organic stains are common and can come from foods, juices, tea, coffee, and more. Make a poultice using 3% hydrogen peroxide and water. This mixture can also help with stains caused by ink.

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    How To Clean Grout

    Properly sealing and maintaining the grout lines of your flooring is very important. Like travertine tiles, grout lines are prone to discoloration, water damage, scratching, stains, and more.

    How To Clean Grout

    Grout lines are a significant component of travertine tiling because they are the filler that helps these tiles adapt to different temperatures. Travertine will expand and contract throughout the seasons, and grout protects the tiles during these changes.

    Now, let’s address safe, proper care for grout lines. First of all, you want to be gentle with the natural stone. At the same time, you need an abrasive product that will deliver clean grout.

    This is where baking soda comes into the picture. You can prepare a paste using equal parts of baking soda and water. Grab a small brush or a special grout brush, and you’re ready to go.

    Apply the paste to your brush, and start scrubbing the grout lines. Make sure that you avoid the travertine tiles and their edges as well.

    If you don’t want to use baking soda, try the travertine cleaner you use for the floors to clean the grout. However, beware of grout cleaners as most are formulated with bleach and are thus not a good option for travertine tiles.

    As you can see, the process of cleaning travertine tile and grout is relatively straightforward. If by any chance none of these solutions work, you can always regrout.

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    Can I Use Baking Soda On My Travertine Floors?

    Baking soda is not a recommended ingredient for cleaning travertine. Travertine is a delicate natural stone; therefore, it requires a more specific approach. The cleaners that you use should have a neutral pH of 7, neither acidic nor alkaline.

    The typical pH of baking soda is around 8.4, but depending on the formulation, it can also be over 9. In other words, it’s not neutral but more on the alkaline side of the pH scale. Bicarbonate of soda doesn’t belong with cleaners suitable for treating any type of natural stone flooring.

    Aside from cleaning grout lines, the only other time that you can try using baking soda on travertine is when you can’t get rid of stubborn oil stains. The best way to make bicarbonate of soda more neutral is to mix it with acetone. When you get a paste-like consistency, you can apply it to the affected area.

    Leave the paste to do its magic on the stain for 12 to 24 hours. Then, you can remove it and clean the area well with just water. Dry it completely by using a soft cloth.

    After finishing the procedure, you need to reseal this part of your floors.

    Baking Soda And Vinegar

    Baking soda and vinegar is another combo that you have to avoid when treating travertine floors. Baking soda has an alkaline pH, while vinegar is acidic. When you mix these two, the paste can cause discoloration and permanent damage to natural stone.

    Can I Use A Steam Mop To Clean Travertine?

    Yes, you can use a steam mop for this flooring type, as long as you follow the instructions included in the mop packaging and don’t steam too often.

    Before steaming your floors, make sure that you clean them with a broom to remove large particles, dust, dirt, and debris. Otherwise, these can be abrasive to the floor’s surface while you’re mopping.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t spend too much time on one spot with the mop. Avoid staying in a single area for more than 10 seconds. Use a fresh mop pad each time you clean.

    Finally, don’t steam travertine too often. It’s safe to do it only a couple of times per year, but not weekly. Travertine is a naturally porous stone that is sealed, but the steam can shorten the seal’s lifespan and penetrate the stone’s pores.

    If you have any doubts about steaming your floors, contact the professionals who installed them or the vendor from which you purchased the travertine flooring. Experts in the field should be able to help you strike a well-balanced cleaning routine.

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    How to clean travertine is something all current and future travertine floor owners should know. These floors are beautiful but can be a little more vulnerable than other flooring types and require specific cleaning instructions.

    Regular maintenance is vital to keep travertine clean. With a broom, mop, water, and cloth, you can keep these floors tidy and prevent scratches and damages. Disinfecting these floors is relatively hassle-free, using a simple mix of water and a few drops of mild dish soap.

    Feel free to deep clean these floors once a month with a pH-neutral solution meant specifically for travertine. Attack spills right away so that you don’t need to battle difficult stains. Finally, keep grout lines clean, using the paste that I recommended above.

    These tips, together with the dos and don’ts in this article, will not only make your life easier but will also keep your travertine floors squeaky clean at all times.

    If you have any comments or first-hand experiences with this type of flooring, please post them below or share your pictures via our social media.

    About Maria Hernandez

    Senior Floor Critic, 25 years of experience in residential and commercial cleaning

    Maria Hernandez has 25 years of experience in residential and commercial janitorial and cleaning services. From hardwood to carpet to marble floors, Maria has developed a deep expertise in cleaning and maintaining many different flooring types. Visit Website.

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    2 thoughts on “Cleaning Travertine Floors: Do’s, Don’ts & Tips”

    1. We had our travertine floors professionally cleaned and they are beautiful however now our rubber soled shoes (tennis shoes) squeak like we’re on a basketball court. Any suggestions on how we can make it stop?

    2. I bought a home a year ago and I haven’t been able to get the dirt out of the tile. Unfortunately, I’ve tried all the Nono’s, vinegar, baking soda, bar keep, etc. what can I do? Use steam?

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