How to Clean Travertine Stone Flooring

Keep Your Floors Shiny With Simple Cleaning Ingredients

Travertine stone floor tiles cleaned with broom and white cloth closeup

The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

Travertine is a type of stone flooring that is quarried from the earth and then refined into tiles for architectural and landscape use. This stone has been used in a variety of building applications for thousands of years. A form of limestone, travertine is indeed "hard as a rock," but it is also relatively porous when compared to other natural stone construction materials. For this reason, it has particular inherent vulnerabilities that need to be considered when cleaning dirty travertine floors.

Here, we cover both long-term care, and regular maintenance concerns, for this natural stone, including the best cleaners for travertine floors. You'll also learn about cleaning travertine floors naturally with an acid-free option like baking soda. Follow these specific instructions and precautions whenever you're working with this tiled surface.

How Often to Clean Travertine Flooring

Regular sweeping and mopping should be done weekly on travertine floors, or whenever the surface is visibly soiled. Sweeping the floor removes small particles that can cause minor abrasive scarring to the tile's surface. Over time, these tiny particles can wear down the luster and finish of the material, while also removing the protective sealant coat, leaving the stone beneath it vulnerable to discoloration and staining. You can also clean travertine floors weekly with a steam mop. Steam mops use very little water, which eliminates the possibility of staining.

In addition to regular cleaning, there are three other travertine maintenance items to put on your list:

  • Disinfect floors during monthly maintenance.
  • Clean grout lines every few months depending on how dirty your floor gets.
  • Surface-seal travertine every three to five years according to most stone flooring manufacturers, though harsh chemicals and heavy use may wear out the sealer more quickly than that, requiring additional applications.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Broom or vacuum cleaner
  • Mop or sponge
  • Mop bucket
  • Towels
  • Small, narrow scrub brush for grout


  • 1 tablespoon mild, non-acidic dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • Warm water
  • Stone cleaner (optional)


How to Clean Travertine Flooring

Materials and tools to clean travertine stone floors

The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

  1. Sweep or Vacuum the Floor

    Sweep or vacuum the floor to eliminate small particles of dirt and grit.

    Broom sweeping over travertine stone floor

    The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

  2. Mop the Floor

    Apply a small amount of plain warm water to the floor with a sponge or mop that is nearly wrung dry so that the travertine surface gets just barely damp. Do not saturate travertine tiles with water, as it can penetrate down past sealant or into grout lines, causing discoloration, degradation, and the growth of mold and mildew.

    Travertine stone floor covered with water by sponge

    The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

  3. Disinfect the Floor

    If it is time to disinfect the floor, add a tablespoon of mild, non-acidic dish soap to a gallon of water. Damp-mop the floor with this solution. Mop a second time with clean water to remove any lingering residue that may exist. Toweling the surface dry is also recommended.

    Mild dish soap added to bucket of water for disinfecting

    The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

  4. Clean the Grout Lines

    Cleaning the grout around travertine tiles can be tricky because you don't want to mar the stone, but you need something abrasive to clean the grout. If the grout lines are due to be cleaned, mix equal parts baking soda and water to create a gritty paste. Carefully scrub this slightly abrasive paste onto the grout with a tiny brush as you avoid scratching or etching the edges of the tile with the tool. Also, try a specially formulated stone cleaner (approved to use on travertine) to try to clean the grout.

    Grout lines cleaned with baking soda, water and brush

    The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

Tips on Sealing Travertine Stone Flooring

Natural travertine has microscopic pores in the surface which give it a rustic look, but which can also soak up liquids, leading to stains, discoloration, material degradation, and mold growth. The way to combat this is to ensure that the material is properly sealed, both during and after installation, and then again periodically throughout its existence.

Types of Sealant

There are two types of sealants used on travertine floors. The first is a deep penetrating material that will seep down and clog the pores, making it difficult for moisture to invade the stone. A surface barrier sealer can then be used to create a clear coating over the tiles to stop spills from causing discoloration. Once the initial below-surface sealer is brushed on, a barrier surface coating can then be reapplied every few years to maintain the treatment.

Color Effects of Sealants

Travertine tiles tend to be light in color, but adding sealer can deepen those hues, and give them a slightly glossy appearance. Some people like this look, and if that is your desired effect you can reapply the sealant frequently. On the other hand, others prefer a weathered look which can be achieved by using the sealer less often.

Tips to Keep Travertine Tiles Clean Longer

Maintaining travertine comes down to using mild cleaners and taking care of the grout. Never use abrasive chemical cleaners or anything acidic when caring for travertine floors. This stone is, by nature, an alkaline substance, and it can stain and discolor if it comes in contact with acidic substances.

The grout lines between tiles are the most vulnerable points in your travertine flooring installation, as these spaces are susceptible to water penetration, stains, discoloration, and the growth of dark, unsightly, and unhealthy mold. Do not use commercial grout cleansers used for ceramic tile because they often contain bleaches that may etch travertine stone.

If necessary, grout lines can also be completely removed and replaced, which can give your flooring installation a brand-new and revitalized look. While regrouting can be moderately difficult, it is a much easier and less expensive option than replacing an entire travertine floor.

Follow these additional cleaning rules to maintain the maximum longevity of your flooring:


  • Always seal travertine flooring with a porous sealer to protect it from spills and stains.
  • Blot up spills as soon as they happen to prevent staining.
  • Sweep or dry mop your travertine floors daily to remove dirt and dust.


  • Don't use acidic cleaners, like vinegar, on travertine floors. The acid may eat away at the surface.
  • Don't vacuum travertine floors, as you could scratch or chip them.
  • Don't try to remove stains, polish, or deep clean your travertine floor. Always call a professional.
  • Are travertine floors hard to keep clean?

    Travertine floors are relatively easy to keep clean. A soft broom, or a Swiffer dust mop, can be used to remove dirt and pebbles. A damp mop and dish soap, as outlined above, can get them sparkling clean.

  • How do you shine dull travertine floors?

    Travertine and other natural stone floors can be shined only by a professional company that uses a diamond polishing process. Topical sealers that have a glossy finish are not recommended for use on porous floors like travertine.

  • Do travertine floors need to be sealed?

    Travertine stone floors are porous and need to be sealed so that they don't absorb liquid and stain. It's best to use a high-quality penetrating sealer to maintain the natural appearance of the stone. Topcoat sealers can wear off and chip, causing a varied appearance in the stone.