Travertine's warm colors and interesting texture make it an attractive choice for modern flooring, shower walls and countertops, but it does require specialized care. Travertine is a natural stone, but it is softer than granite and is easily etched by acids, including wine, fruit juice or vinegar. It is similar to marble and limestone. Travertine performs best in powder rooms and low-traffic areas.
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Travertine, like all natural stone, has a hard surface that is much less conducive to bacterial growth than other surfaces, such as wood. Clean it regularly with warm water, stone cleanser or a mild liquid dish soap to keep it germ free. Use a gentle scrubbing brush to clean the grout and tile surface. Most natural stone surfaces benefit from a sealer. Consult the manufacturer for information on sealing your travertine countertops or shower.
To disinfect travertine tile, mix 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle with water. Spray the solution on the tile and wait 20 minutes before rinsing. Hydrogen peroxide is a natural germicidal agent made of water and oxygen. It kills germs by oxidizing them, and is safe for use on travertine surfaces. Hydrogen peroxide removes mold and mildew as well.
Ammonia is also recommended for use on marble and travertine and is an effective disinfectant. Mix 1/2 cup ammonia with 1 gallon of water and sponge on the travertine surface. Rinse well and dry immediately to clean and sanitize surfaces. Ammonia, while considered a natural cleaner, is more caustic than hydrogen peroxide and may irritate the skin and eyes. Run a fan and open a window while using ammonia to provide ventilation.
Vinegar is considered one of the best natural cleaners in many applications, but may permanently etch travertine. Other natural acidic cleaners, such as lemon juice or citrus products, may also cause damage. Use mild cleansers with a neutral pH when cleaning travertine. Plain, warm water is often all that is required.