Cleaning travertine floor tiles in’t too difficult, but as with all natural stone, it’s important to understand the characteristics of the material. This article gives you all the information you need to know to clean your travertine the right way. Once you know how to clean travertine, your floor will look beautiful for years to come.
Travertine is a beautiful natural stone that compliments any interior. It is recognised as a being durable ideal for flooring. But it is not as hardwearing as dense stones like granite.
But, travertine does have its sensitivities.
Problems With Etching And Staining
Travertine is mainly composed of calcium-based minerals. The calcium in the stone means that it is sensitive to acids like fruit juice, tea, coffee, vinegar, liquid soap, bathroom cleaning products, which will etch and dull the polish. Marble and limestone suffer from the same problems because they are also calcium-based stones.
The etch damage will show as a dull spot on the tile, which will be very obvious on honed and polished travertine
Travertine is less susceptible to staining from coloured liquids. Most times, staining happens in combination with etching, when a coloured acid attacks the travertine.
For example, if you spill a red fruit juice on your travertine, the acid will etch the surface and open it up, allowing the red stain to penetrate into the surface.
HelpfulTip: Marble, travertine and limestone are all made from calcium minerals, which means that cleaning and maintenance for all three types of stone are very similar.
Because of the acid sensitivity, we would not recommend using travertine for a kitchen or bathroom worktop, nor as flooring in a high-use kitchen or bathroom.
However, because of its warm, beautiful finish, travertine is mostly used in kitchens and bathrooms, proving that beauty overrides practicality. However, in these situations, it is essential to apply a travertine sealer
Sealing Travertine Floor Tiles
Sealing natural stone is not a difficult task. However, the key to success is using the right sealer at the right time.
If you are concerned about cost, I can assure you that the cost involved with sealing stone is small compared to how well your travertine will look for years to come
Sealing Polished Travertine Tiles
You will come across people on the web who claim that honed and polished travertine is stain-proof and doesn’t need sealing.
This is nonsense…
A good quality sealer makes the floor much easier to clean, and helps prevent soil from binding to the surface of the stone.
Sealing Honed And Tumbled Travertine
Honed and tumbled travertine has a more “open” and porous surface that can absorb soil and stains. So sealing is a must for these stones.
Helpful Tip: Sealing travertine tiles will protect against stains, but not etching. Etching is physical damage which happens when acids dissolve the surface of the stone. At this time impregnating sealers can not prevent etch damage. However, surface sealers will give you more time to remove the spill before it causes damage.
7 Important Travertine Cleaning Tips
By following the cleaning guidelines below will help minimise the chances of damage and help your travertine look beautiful for much longer.
1. Dry mop your travertine floor tiles regularly.
Use a clean, dry, non-treated dust mop or a microfiber dust mop. You can use a vacuum cleaner, but make sure to use a soft cleaning head because hard, sharp edges on a cleaning head can scratch the travertine.
2. Mop Up Spills As Quickly As Possible
Acidic spills are corrosive to travertine floor tiles, and they will quickly cause etch damage. The quicker you clean up any spills, the greater the chance that your travertine will not be damaged.
3. Use Travertine Cleaners
Don’t use generic floor cleaners. Many standard floor cleaning products contain ingredients that can damage travertine floor tiles and travertine worktops. They can also weaken and eventually remove sealers, leaving the stone vulnerable to staining and damage from spills.
If you use generic floor cleaners, you will not see the damage they cause immediately. However, over time, your travertine will start to look dull and marked.
4. Use Microfiber Mop
Damp mop your floor regularly with a microfiber floor mop. Microfiber lifts soil off the floor and traps it inside the fibres of the mop, leaving the floor clean and nearly dry. Don’t use a cotton round mop to clean your floors. These old-style mops just move soil over the surface of the floor tiles and leave the dirt in grout lines and crevices.
Steam Cleaners – Should You Use Them On Travertine
It is my opinion as a stone restoration professional that a damp microfiber cleaning mop is much better to use than a steam cleaner. A mop is lighter, more manoeuvrable and gives you greater control over the moisture in the mop head.
5. Maintain The Travertine Sealer
Travertine sealers will eventually break down as s a result of poor cleaning and or wear. So you should “top-up” your sealer in traffic areas every year. Applying a sealer is quite simple if you already have a clean floor.
6. Use Door Mats
Stop dry abrasive soil coming onto your travertine floor. The best way to achieve this is to use dirt trapping mats at the entrance and remove outdoor footwear.
7. Use Furniture Protectors
Moving tables, chairs and other standing furniture will scratch your travertine. So to prevent scratching make sure to use felt protective pads under any furniture. Also, make sure to clean the pads to stop them trapping grit as and soil. You should also use protectors on countertops or worktops.
Travertine has been used as a decorative flooring for centuries. The information contained in this article will help you keep your travertine floors looking beautiful for years to come.