5 steps to clean travertine tiles – take them from dull to dazzling

From backsplashes to flooring, these unique tiles need unique care to keep them looking their best

A modern style bathroom with a large white bath and travertine style wall tiles
(Image credit: Chun han via Getty Images)

Travertine tiles are a timeless choice for any home – be it for flooring, backsplashes, or walls. However, these unique tiles require special care to keep them looking their best.

As with cleaning stone floors or backsplashes generally, travertine requires specific care and products to retain its appeal and ensure its longevity. 

This quick guide will walk you through the basics of cleaning travertine tiles no matter where they are in your home for spotless surfaces free from dirt and scratches. 

How to clean travertine tiles

Cleaning travertine tiles is not a once-and-done deep cleaning chore. You need to clean them regularly to keep them looking their best and prevent lasting scratches, experts warn. 

With that in mind, here is how to stay on top of the dirt. 

bathroom with grooved details in travertine

(Image credit: Francis Amiand)

1. Remove debris to prevent scratching

When cleaning tile floors, the first step will be to remove any loose debris such as crumbs that might scratch the floor or clog your mop, begins Katie Lambert, cleaning expert and owner of Clean Queen, Denver. 

‘Regular sweeping or dry mopping with a microfiber cloth removes loose dirt and debris that can scratch the stone's surface. Consider placing area rugs at high-traffic entryways to trap dirt before it reaches the floor,’ she adds.

2. Mop up moisture immediately

Whether you have spilled something on your travertine floor tiles, or splashed something on a travertine backsplash, it is a good cleaning tip to dry it off immediately, continues Katie Lambert, cleaning expert. This is because travertine is highly porous and very likely to stain or mark. 

‘Address spills immediately with a clean, absorbent cloth to prevent them from soaking in. For water-based spills, a damp microfiber cloth followed by buffing dry with a clean, dry microfiber cloth should do the trick,’ she explains. 

3. Use soft cleaning tools

If you want your travertine tiles to keep their shine, stay away from harsh scrubbers and abrasives when picking out your essential cleaning tools, Aylin Davidova, cleaning expert at Fantastic Cleaning, advises. Using softer cleaning tools such as soft mops, microfiber cloths, and sponges will avoid scratches and dullness, she says. 

‘Stay away from abrasive scrubbing pads or brushes that could harm the delicate surface of the tiles.’

4. Clean without chemicals

A delicate stone such as travertine requires a dedicated tile cleaner to keep them looking their best and ensure they stand the test of time, warns cleaning expert Katie Lambert. ‘These cleaners are gentle enough not to dull the stone's finish or damage the grout,’ she explains. 

Two of her top picks are StoneTech Neutral Cleaner from Walmart (this popular option comes ready to use and requires no rinsing) and Miracle Sealants Tile & Stone Cleaner from Amazon, a pH-neutral cleaner that is effective for everyday cleaning.

5. Dry manually

With the tile nice and clean, it is best to dry it off manually using another clean, dry mop, or a clean towel or cloth, rather than letting them dry naturally. This helps to prevent marking and stops dust and dirt from sticking to them right away. 

After drying off, using a dehumidifier in the space will ensure that no lingering moisture remains.  


What are the disadvantages of travertine tiles?  

Travertine tiles look beautiful, but their porous nature means that they are prone to scratching and staining. As such, it is important to clean the tiles regularly and use rugs in high-traffic areas to keep travertine floors looking their best.  

Can you get scratches out of travertine tiles? 

If your travertine tiles have scratched, you can use a tile and grout pen to fill in the area so that it is less likely to get worse. It also helps make the tile easier to clean, as dirt and debris cannot get stuck in the etched line.  

Do you need to reseal travertine tiles?

While you don’t need to reseal travertine tiles every time you clean, it is a good idea to reseal them every so often to make cleaning easier and protect their longevity, suggests Lina DaSilva, cleaning expert and owner of Toronto Shine Cleaning. Pick a dedicated sealant and apply it according to the manufacturer's instructions for the best results.  

Travertine tiles might sound like they require a lot of upkeep, but these timeless options are some of the hardiest you can select for your home when installed and sealed correctly. With regular maintenance, they won't be too much different to any other floor types or types of tile you might have around your home. 

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.