How to clean travertine floors.

Last Updated: March 8, 2022

Learn how to clean travertine floors like a pro, from how often they need a scrub to which products are safe for the porous material. Read on to ensure your floors stay clean and pristine.

Oh, travertine. This gorgeous stone is reminiscent of Tuscan villas and sunny Spanish textiles — but along with its distinctive beauty comes a special set of rules for cleaning and maintenance. And because cleaning is an unavoidable necessity, we’ve put together a handy guide that’s useful whether it’s your first time cleaning travertine or your billionth time.

Are travertine floors hard to maintain?

Travertine floors are vulnerable to damage and need proper care to stay clean and pristine. Due to the pores in travertine, which are actually tiny 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 cleaning liquids to soak in and settle inside the stone.

Despite the challenges, don’t stress. Cleaning travertine is super simple if done using the right tools and products. Proper cleaning helps to ensure that the tiles maintain their immaculate appearance for as long as possible.

How often should you clean travertine floors?

Both home-finished and polish-finished 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. Make sure to use a damp mop instead of a drenched one. If something is spilled on the floor, you clean it ASAP to prevent the liquid from seeping into the travertine’s pores.

To ensure there are no germs or bacteria hiding in the pores, disinfect travertine floors once a month. Another thing to consider when cleaning travertine floors is grout lines. Depending on usage and how dirty your floor gets, they need to be cleaned out every few months (check out our grout cleaning guide for more info).

  • Weekly: Sweep or vacuum up any debris, then mop with a gentle, natural floor cleaner and let the travertine dry.
  • Monthly: Thoroughly disinfect floors with a non-acidic cleaner to avoid icky nasties from setting up shop in travertine’s pores.
  • Every few years: To prevent stains and scratches, use a stone sealer on travertine: more frequently on high-traffic areas and every few years for low-use areas.

Deep cleaning? Don’t miss a thing with our ultimate housecleaning checklist.

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!

What you'll need

orange dish gloves illustration

Before choosing cleaning products for travertine floors, keep in mind that the stone generally does best with 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.

Instructions for cleaning travertine floors

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 non-acidic floor cleaner. Wring out as much liquid from the mop as possible, and then clean the floor; excess water can stain the stone. 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 introducing new dirt.

Step 3: Clean the grout

Depending on how long it's been since you've last given your travertine stone flooring a good deep clean, the grout may need some attention. Consider giving your heavy duty grout brush a rest and swapping in a used toothbrush to better get into grout lines without scratching or damaging the surrounding stone.

Step 4: Mop again

Consider mopping the floor a second time with clean water to remove any remaining floor cleaner, especially if not using a completely neutral product. (This may not be necessary with products designed to treat travertine floors.)

Step 5: 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 6: Seal

Make sure your floor is completely clean and dry before applying a low-VOC sealant that’s safe for travertine stone every few years. Sealants come in two types — a penetrating sealer and a surface sealer — that are often used in conjunction to prevent liquids from penetrating the stone.

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?

Travertine stones are alkaline in nature and react badly with anything acidic. 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 generally safe to use steam mops on travertine floors. Just be sure you do it carefully and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

How do you clean travertine tiles?

If you have travertine tiles in the kitchen or shower, remnants of dish soap, shampoo, and soap scum can eventually cause etching on the stone’s surface. Wipe the tiles free of debris with a gentle mix of low-PH soap and water to prevent damage.

Looking for more cleaning how-tos and other sustainable swaps you can make at home? Grove has you covered with our buying and cleaning guides. And let us know how if you have any cleaning questions (or share your own tips using #grovehome) by following Grove Collaborative on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

If you're ready to take on germs, shop Grove Collaborative's floor cleaning essentials for the cleaning tools to tackle the job.

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