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 ¼ 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 ¼ 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.

MORE FROM BONNIE

Cleaning Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks

Stainless steel sinks need a little love and attention to look clean and shiny. Of the six cleaning methods given here, ...

Discover More

Cleaning a Teapot

To keep your teapot functioning and looking its best, clean it by soaking it overnight in a solution of vinegar, baking soda, ...

Discover More

Cleaning Silk Window Treatments

Silk is difficult to clean because it is such a fragile fabric. The process below will get your silk window treatments clean ...

Discover More

Tough Tools for Tough Cleaning Jobs O-Cel-O sponges and Scotch Brite scrubbers are truly a fashion-meets-function success story. The highly absorbent and durable sponges in this handy six-pack make quick work of tough cleaning problems in any kitchen, bathroom, or garage. Check out Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges today!

MORE CLEANING TIPS

Remove Stains with Vinegar, Borax, Club Soda and More

Sometimes stains just happen and fortunately for you there are simple, household ways you can rid your clothes of unsightly ...

Discover More

Cleaning Blood from Polyester

Accidents can happen to anyone at any time, and as such we can find ourselves needing to clean some rather unique stains. One ...

Discover More

Removing Self Tanning Lotion from Carpeting

Self tanning lotion can be a great help when you are trying to get a safe and healthy tan. However, since tanning lotion is ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

Videos

Subscribe to the Tips.Net channel:

Visit the Tips.Net channel on YouTube

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing
Share