Written by Grove Collaborative

Clean Team: How to clean travertine floors.

Last Updated: November, 10 2020

We’ve put together a handy guide on how to clean travertine floors like a pro! Read on to ensure your floors stay clean and pristine.

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On your long list of home improvement projects, did you ever think cleaning your travertine floors would be one of them? No? Just us?

Since cleaning travertine is an unavoidable necessity, we’ve decided to help you out by putting together a handy guide to get you started. It should be useful whether it’s your first time cleaning travertine, or your billionth time.

Why should you clean travertine floors?

The long and the short of it is, travertine floors are long-lasting and durable, but only if maintained and cared for properly. That means cleaning them is a must. We know… so many cleaning projects, so little time.

Due to the pores in travertine flooring, which are actually carbon dioxide bubbles left behind while the stone was setting, it’s sensitive to certain chemicals found in many cleaning products. This is because the porous surface makes it easy for any liquids that are used to clean it to soak in and settle inside the stone, making it vulnerable to damage.

Despite the challenges, don’t stress. It’s still fairly simple to clean a travertine floor if done using the right tools and products. Proper cleaning helps to ensure that the tiles maintain their pristine appearance for as long as possible.

When should you clean travertine floors?

Travertine floors require regular sweeping or vacuuming, as well as mopping, at least once a week. Regular mopping will ensure that no dust or grime settles into the pores. Be sure to use a dry or damp mop, instead of a drenched one. If something is spilled on the floor, you should clean it immediately or as soon as possible.

Once monthly, disinfecting the floors thoroughly is ideal. That way you can ensure there are no germs or bacteria hiding in the pores.

Another thing to consider when cleaning travertine floors is grout lines. They need to be cleaned out every few months (check out our Grout Cleaning Guide, but keep in mind the travertine cleaning tips below), depending on usage and how dirty your floor gets. If it’s not a high trafficked area, you may get lucky and have to clean your grout lines less often.

Consider these general rules of the travertine floor road, and apply them to both hone-finished and polished-finish stones.

Weekly cleaning tasks

Sweep and vacuum up any debris, then mop and make sure to let dry.

Monthly cleaning tasks

Thoroughly disinfect floors with a non-acidic cleaner.

Yearly cleaning tasks

Consider applying a stone sealer to protect your floors from being damaged by sitting liquid or scratched with tiny particles.

Grove Tip

Act quickly

Remember, your travertine floors will last longer if you can prevent any stains or spills from settling on the surface, so be a floor mopping ninja when it comes to wiping up messes!

Things you’ll need to clean travertine floors

Before choosing cleaning products for Travertine floors, keep in mind that it can only tolerate products with a pH of 7 or below, or products that are pH neutral. Acids like vinegar, lemon, or other harsh chemicals like bleach can react badly with the stone and cause discoloration and permanent damage. Definitely not the result we’re going for!

Travertine floors in their natural form come with a lot of pores, which is a vulnerability and an easy way for the stone to get damaged. To prevent any soaking in of liquids and particles, use a stone sealer on travertine at least once a year. Sealants come in two types: a penetrating sealer and a surface sealer.

How to clean travertine floors: Step-by-step instructions

Step 1: Vacuum (or sweep!)

The first step is to use a vacuum or broom to clean away any dirt and particles on the floor. A hard floor vacuum works great, combined with a broom to pick up larger debris.

Step 2: Mop

In a mop bucket, mix clean water with a small amount of soap. Wring out as much liquid from the mop as possible and then clean the floor. It’s best to work your way back from the top of a room, and mop your way out the door. That way you won’t be walking on wet stone and tracking around new dirt.

Step 3: Dry cloth

After the floor is clean of any stains or spills, you can use a dry cloth to clean the floor one last time and dry up the dampness. You can also let it air dry, just be sure to not walk on it until it dries off. Alternatively, let it mostly air dry, and then use a dry cloth on any areas that are still wet.

Step 4: Seal

Depending on the foot traffic, the cleaning chemicals you use, as well as the type and quality of sealer used on your travertine surface, you may need to reapply a stone sealer once every year. Make sure that the floor is completely clean and dry before applying. End result? Clean, shining travertine floors!

Grove Tip

Be gentle

Consider the harshness of the cleaning products you use to clean, as it may affect the longevity of the sealant put on the travertine stone. You also don’t want to use any cleaning products that could cause permanent discoloration. Look for natural, non-acidic cleaning agents that disinfect and clean, without causing damage.

Travertine floor cleaning tips & tricks

Can you use vinegar on travertine?

You can, but we don’t recommend it! Travertine stones are alkaline in nature and react badly with anything acidic. Therefore, though we love vinegar for all kinds of cleaning projects, we strongly recommend skipping it for your travertine floor.

Can you steam clean travertine floors?

Yes! It’s perfectly safe to use steam mops on travertine floors. Just be sure you do it carefully and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

How do you polish travertine floors to make them shine?

Cleaning them thoroughly is an excellent place to start. There are also options like sanding, buffing, and polishing. However, that’s another tutorial, for another day!

How do you clean travertine tiles?

Keeping your travertine tiles looking great will be easiest if you wipe up any spills as soon as they happen. Have travertine tiles in the kitchen, shower, or as a bath surround? Remnants of dish soap, shampoo, soap and/or body wash splashed across your tiles all can eventually cause etching on the stone’s surface and leave damage behind. Be sure to vacuum or sweep those tiles free of debris, wipe or mop the tiles with a gentle mix of low-PH soap and water, and dry with a cloth or let air dry.

Cleaning travertine floors can be tricky, but it’s well worth the effort. Clean floor, clean home, clean living!

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