Travertine has been used in buildings for centuries. And for good reason, as the stone is not only aesthetically pleasing but also extremely hardy and durable. The Romans used travertine to build the Colosseum, and as you know, it’s still very much present today – despite devastating earthquakes and run-ins with stone thieves.

Travertine is a natural stone and a popular eco-friendly choice of material. While it does need to be sealed to prevent staining, there is no need for harsh chemicals to keep it looking like new. Regular cleaning is required, but the process is simple, cost-effective, and environmentally safe.

Sealing travertine tiles

Applying a natural stone sealer will not alter the look of your travertine tiles. It simply seals up the crevices and clogs the pores of the stone, preventing further liquids from being absorbed.

Without sealing, travertine is susceptible to immediate stains following a spill. By sealing your tiles, you increase the reaction time to around 4-5 hours.

Sealing travertine also helps to protect it from premature decay and contamination. It’s recommended that sealing be performed every few years to ensure the high quality finish stays beautiful. While it won’t prevent etching, it will guard against staining providing spills are cleaned quickly.

How to clean travertine tiles

Travertine tiles require regular cleaning using a pH neutral cleaner. That means no bleach, acid-based, or abrasive products that could cause damage to the tile’s surface.

Travertine has pits, depressions, and craters that when left alone can collect dirt, dust, and grime. To counteract this, travertine floor tiles should be regularly vacuumed using a canister or handheld vacuum.

The best way to keep travertine tiles looking good is to stick to a regular cleaning schedule and use products suitable for your travertine surface.

Your weekly cleaning schedule

Your weekly travertine cleaning schedule should involve the following:

  • Vacuum: Vacuum your travertine surface to remove dust and grit. Avoid using a vacuum that has wheels prone to scratching
  • Damp clean: Using a microfibre mop or a cloth dampened with warm water, wipe over the surface of your tiles with some pressure
  • Spot clean: If your travertine is unfilled, apply a soft brush to the inside of pockmarks. A toothbrush works well for this. Using a towel, soak up the liquidised dirt
  • Dry: Travertine should not be left to dry naturally. A dry mop or clean towel should be used to soak up any excess moisture.

Your monthly cleaning schedule

Your monthly travertine cleaning schedule should involve the following:

  • Scrub: Following a vacuum, apply a light solution of stone cleaner, and scrub using a soft brush or broom. Be sure to work the solution into the grout and pores of the stone. Leave for several minutes and scrub again
  • Dry: Soak up any liquid using a clean towel or dry mop. Make sure that all liquid has been absorbed from the pockmarks
  • Rinse: Using clean, warm water, rinse the surface before drying with a towel once more.

Your yearly cleaning schedule

Your yearly travertine cleaning schedule should involve:

  • Professional floor clean: If your flooring is starting to lose its original finish, hire a professional cleaner to get it looking brand new again. They will also be able to tell you whether not not the floor needs resealing
  • Water test: Spill a few drops of water on your stone and let it set for approximately 10-30 minutes. Dry it off, and if you notice any darkening where the water had been, it means your tiles need resealing. The water should not be able to penetrate the travertine.

Final cleaning tips

Keep these tips in mind all the time, and your travertine tiles should look brand new for longer:

  • Blot spills immediately: The sooner you clean spills and grime off the floor, the less chance there is of any staining. Blot, don’t rub
  • Use a chamois or cotton cloth: A good quality microfibre dampened with warm water is all that’s required for safe, effective cleaning
  • Use coasters: Avoid ring marks from acidic drinks by always protecting the surface
  • Use area rugs and doormats: Mats and rugs help pick up dirt that would otherwise be walked into stone surfaces
  • Never use anything but stone cleaner: Warm water and stone cleaner are the only things that should ever be used to clean travertine. Never use vinegar, ammonia, or citrus cleaning products
  • Use clean water: If cleaning a large area, be sure to change the water regularly.