Travertine is a beautiful natural stone that can last more than 30 years when properly maintained. However, natural stone is far from indestructible, and often requires more maintenance than synthetic materials. Properly cleaning travertine tile is essential for keeping it looking its best and ensuring it lasts decades.
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Never use abrasives when cleaning travertine tile. Abrasive scrubs, steel wool, and brushes scratch the finish, which permanently dulls the tile. Never use any form of acid to clean travertine, including vinegar, ammonia or anything with a citrus scent. Even mild acids can etch the finish on your travertine tile.
The only supplies you need are a soft cloth or sponge, mild soap or specially formulated travertine cleaning solution, hot water, and a clean untreated dust mop (if the tile is on the floor).
If your floor is travertine tile, begin by going over it with a dust mop to clear any dust and debris. If the travertine tile is a countertop or other surface, "sweep" it with a soft cloth. The goal is to remove all loose dirt before cleaning so that you're not just pushing it around when you soap the tile. Next, use a mixture of about one part mild soap or travertine cleaning solution to about three parts water to wash the tile. Dip your cloth or sponge in the solution and wipe evenly, in circular motions. You shouldn't need to vigorously scrub in order to make the travertine shine.
Use clean hot water and a separate cloth or sponge to rinse the tile. It is important to rinse well so that you won't be left with soap scum, which can stain your travertine tile.
The best way to make cleaning your travertine as simple as possible is to avoid set-in stains. If you spill something, clean it up right away to avoid having to scrub it out later.
Before trying a new type of soap or cleaning solution, you should test it on an inconspicuous tile (allow it to dry fully to see the results). Travertine tile is very sensitive to acids or harsh chemicals in soaps or cleaning solutions, so it is easy to etch or stain the tile, even when using a soap or cleaning solution you think is mild. If there are no stains after your "spot test," it is safe to use that soap or cleaning solution on all of your travertine tile.