Removing Stains from Travertine

by Bonnie Roberts
(last updated March 9, 2015)


Travertine tile makes great-looking floors, fireplace surrounds, bathroom features, and backsplashes. If maintained properly, travertine can last forever, but it's not easy to care for. This stone is very delicate, so only certain kinds of cleaners are safe to use. Although stone may be hard, it's also porous. When something seeps down into these pores, it can be very difficult to remove. I'm sure that you have been very careful about protecting your investment. Unfortunately, sometimes stains happen. Here's what to do:

  • As soon as something spills on the travertine, blot it up. Don't rub it because you might work the substance in deeper. The sooner you blot up the spill, the less chance it will have to seep in.
  • First try scrubbing the area with a towel and lots of water. The less often you use chemicals, the better it is for your stone.
  • If plain water isn't enough, use a brush and mild soap and water. Murphy Oil Soap is highly recommended because it's very close to pH neutral. Dilute cup in a gallon of warm water and scrub the area well.
  • If your travertine has marks, rings, or dull spots that you can't clean, it has probably become etched by something. Since the minerals in the stone have become dissolved, this damage is permanent. A stone professional will have to grind down the stone and then repolish it. This is why it's so important to keep acid away from your travertine.

For a particularly stubborn stain, you can make a poultice and allow it to penetrate into the stone. (This won't work for etch marks.) Follow these steps:

  1. Mix baby powder with hydrogen peroxide to form a thick paste.
  2. Spread the paste onto the stain, keeping it about inch thick.
  3. Place plastic wrap over the whole thing and put masking tape around the edges. Remove this after 24 hours.
  4. Leave it alone until the poultice has dried completely. Then gently scrape it off and rinse and dry the area.
  5. If the stain is still there, repeat the process until it disappears. However, you may not be able to remove all stains with this method.

Finally, some warnings about what NOT to do when cleaning your travertine:

  • Don't use generic store-bought cleaners; most are slightly acidic and can harm the stone.
  • Don't clean with vinegar, ammonia, lemon, or orange.
  • Don't use tile or grout cleaners unless they're specially formulated for travertine.
  • Don't use heat or pressure to clean your stone.

Author Bio

Bonnie Roberts


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What is four more than 6?

2018-10-17 13:18:18

Rick Daniels

Thanks so much for this information.

What are the actual values for the � symbol in each of the above instructions?

Dilute � cup in a gallon...

...keeping it about � inch thick.

2016-10-23 19:49:23

daniella ortiz

I dropped orange juice on a lot of my floor what do i do

2016-05-31 19:07:45


I left a magazine on the counter while I was on vacation counter was wet and it left colored stain from magazine on the Travitine I'm gonna try the baby powder any other ideas

2016-02-01 20:12:26


We have a travertine shelf in our shower, a bar of dove soap was laid on the shelf for about an hour now we have an orange looking stain, any help! Furious travertine was even recommended to be used in a "working everyday" shower! But ....... Would appreciate any help we are doing the baby powder and perioxide! Stain is getting lighter???

2015-05-21 12:33:41


I have travertine floors almost everywhere, I was told that vintager is fine, as long as I dilute it, but prefer not to use it, what will it be safe to clean my floors and leave them shinny and no residue? They have a natural finish also to remove spots.
Thank you

2015-05-11 11:31:32

judy street

I had a sewer line back up on my travertine floor which is 15 years old. Part of the floor was not cleaned witha disinfectant for 2 days another area for 7 days. Should I have the floor repalaced or can it be cleaned. Should I be worried about any bacteria growing in the areas that were not cleaned immediately. I can't seemed to get a good answer, Thank you for any help you can give me on this mater.

Judy Street

2015-04-05 16:59:48


How to remove pickle juice stain from travertine tile?

2015-03-14 23:51:27

Loren Coppock

Tonic water was spilled on travertine appears to have dulled or stained.
What would you suggest to repair?

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