How to Clean a Travertine Shower

Shower area with travertine tiles

Learning how to clean travertine showers, floors and other surfaces can be a little tricky since you are dealing with a very porous surface. This can easily be damaged with the wrong cleaning products. However, once you know the right products to use and how to maintain your travertine surfaces, cleaning can be a lot less stressful.

How to Identify Travertine

Before you begin your home cleaning, it is good to know more about the type of natural stone you have in your home. This way you can make sure that you are cleaning it the right way.

It is pretty easy to tell travertine apart from its close relative marble. This is mainly because marble surfaces will have the tell-tale veins that run all across the surface. These veins give marble its distinct pattern.

A clean bathroom with travertine tiles

Travertine, on the other hand, is easily identified by its holes or pock marks. These marks in the stone can be small or larger than a quarter. Most finished travertine will have a resembling color epoxy filling in the holes to give it a smoothed over look, but you should still be able to identify the sealed pock marks. This natural stone can come in many colors. Its most popular availability is in browns and beiges.

Pros and Cons of Travertine

Searching for the best way to clean travertine floors and showers can be a little daunting. First, you need to know more about your travertine tile in order to clean it properly.

The Good:

  • ​Durability - Travertine is a really durable natural stone, especially after it has been finished and sealed. You don’t have to worry too  much about it showing any harsh signs of cracks, scratches, or even chips.
  • ​Weathering - This effect begins to happen years after you have travertine tiles. The weathering effect is considered a pro thanks to the distinct character it brings out in the tile. If you don’t want your tiles to experience the weathering effect, you can avoid it by applying a stone sealing agent once or twice a year.
  • Beautiful Design - While it is a beautiful stone tile, travertine tiles aren’t a loud tile, giving your floors and showers a warmer, quieter glow. Travertine is available in many warm palette colors as well as a few cooler ones like grey and off white. This tile also has a beautiful natural swirling of colors, which gives each piece its own characteristic instead of being a flat single color.
  • Easy to Repair - When you have single tiles, it is pretty simple to pull up one that is broken, cracked, or chipped. If possible, try to keep a few extra tiles on reserve in case this does happen down the road. You can then have the best color match for repairing.

The Not-so-Good:

  • The Pores - This is one of the most important points to pay attention to since we are focusing on travertine tile shower cleaning as well as tile floor cleaning. Travertine has these teeny tiny microscopic pores in the surface that absorb any spills and stains into the stone. You can counteract this by sealing your tile and doing a routine resealing once or twice a year. However, this also means you need to avoid acidic cleaners that can damage the stone. Put down the vinegar and opt for a safe cleaning agent that we will talk about a little further down.
  • It’s Cold - Pretty much all stone surfaces will retain their cold, especially early in the mornings when you roll out of bed and step onto the chilled floor with your bare feet. A good way to combat this is to wear slippers or socks. If you really want a warmer floor without sacrificing your tile then you can install a radiant heat system into your floors to warm them up.
  • ​Weight - Dealing with natural stone and tile means that you will be putting more weight on your homes structure. If you already have tile, then your home should already be set up to hold this extra load. However, if you are looking into installing travertine floors, you may want to make sure your floors and walls can handle the load before you start laying it down.

Now that you have a little more insight to travertine floors, you can understand how to better clean them. When cared for properly, travertine and other natural stone floors can really be a distinguishing feature in your home.

How to Clean a Travertine Tile Shower

Knowing how to clean travertine shower walls and flooring is important for keeping your natural stone looking brilliant. You also want to keep it protected from soap scum residue that can soak in and damage your tile.

When you need to deep clean your travertine tile, you will want to use a mild soap such as a simple Dawn dish detergent that doesn’t have any added scents or citrus in it.

 Shower area with travertine tiles

For a first time cleaning or a monthly deep cleaning you will want to grab:

  • ​A sponge or cloth
  • ​A mix of water and a few drops of Dawn in a spray bottle
  • ​A squeegee

A large sponge may be the best option. It is easy to grip as well as having the soft texture to help scrub your tiles without being too abrasive.

To learn how to clean natural stone tile shower, just follow these easy instructions.

  • 1
    ​Once you have your Dawn and water mixture, spray the walls first. The mixture can and will drip down the travertine shower walls, so you don’t need to focus on them just yet.
  • 2
    ​Use the sponge to gently scrub your walls. Instead of going in side to side motions, you should opt for small circular strokes. This allows you to reach all of the indentions and crevices in the travertine to make sure you aren’t missing any hidden soap scum.
  • 3
    ​Let the mixture sit as you work your way around the travertine shower walls.
  • 4
    ​Once you have scrubbed all of the walls, spray the cleaner on the travertine or regular shower floor. Step out of the shower and bend down to use the same small circular strokes to clean the tile floor.
  • 5
    ​Once everything has been scrubbed well, you can begin to rise. This is where a handheld shower head will come in handy.
  • 6
    Begin with rinsing the top of the shower walls, letting the water and soapy residue run down the shower walls and onto the shower flooring. This will help rinse everything.
  • 7
    When you no longer have anymore soapy residue, you will want to use the squeegee to get the excess water off of your walls. The best way to do this is to place the squeegee at the top of your shower at a slight angle and arc your stroke down.


Stay away from cleaners you purchase in the store, unless it is a safe for natural stone cleaner. There are some available, like ​StoneTech Mold & Mildew Stain Remover. Read all the ingredients to make sure there is nothing acidic involved. Sneaky components in cleaners are smells. They seem harmless, but the added ingredients can be harmful to your tiles.

Time Tables for Maintaining a Clean Shower

After a good thorough cleaning, you will not need to do this again as often. Here is our timetable to help you understand and plan how to clean travertine showers on a regular schedule.

Daily

Instead of cleaning your shower on a daily or weekly basis with soap, all you really need to do is use clean hot water. You can either allow the shower water to run over the walls via a handheld shower attachment or just turn the shower head at an angle to hit all of the areas.

The hot water will liquify any hard soap scum that has deposited itself onto your travertine shower walls and help wash it away. Follow up with a squeegee to keep the tiles dry after rinsing.

Monthly

Set aside time to clean your travertine shower walls once every few weeks. This will ensure that the natural stone surface stays safe from any stains or buildup.

You want to avoid using soap on your travertine tiles frequently as this can cloud your tiles. Of course you will want to use it as needed to shine up your shower when it is looking a little dull and the hot water rinse is no longer restoring its shine.

Use the same method that we mentioned above with the water and Dawn dish detergent mixed together to create a mild cleaning spray that you scrub onto your tile with a sponge.

Yearly

You will want to inspect your natural stone and travertine showers once a year to make sure the grout is not broken. You may need to reseal the travertine tiles.

Even if you don’t think your shower needs it, due to the daily use of water on your tiles, you still want to set aside the time to check it to make sure everything is properly sealed.

How to Clean Travertine Floors Naturally

Taking care of your travertine floors is surprisingly easy. You don’t need to do a lot of fancy cleaning. Some simple care on a daily basis keeps your floors in good health.

Sweep

With travertine floors, sweeping daily is a must in high traffic areas. Try to sweep 2-3 times a week in rooms that aren’t used multiple times a day.

Sweeping is very important because it is the first defense for keeping your travertine floors safe from abrasions. Tiny particles like dust and dirt can rub against the travertine surfaces and begin to indent them with scratches.

Close up of travertine tiles

Mop

About once every week or two you will want to run the mop over your floors. You honestly don’t have to use a cleaner every time if the floors aren’t showing much dirt or staining. ​Simply using a good mop that is damp with water will give your floors a nice, safe shine.

If you have any issues with a stain or sticky residue on your travertine surfaces, you can use a mild dish soap such as Dawn to help clean your travertine floor. Just make sure you have the simple Dawn formula. Skip anything that has as added scent or any citrus.

Add a few drops of Dawn dish detergent to your clean mop water and use that to gently scrub your tiles. Just make sure you rinse the floor with clean water to get rid of the slick soapy residue.

Also, you will want to avoid drenching your floors. The added water can seep into the tiles and grout to damage your floors. Keep it mostly damp and quickly dry any puddles that you see forming on your tiles.

Quick Spills

For spills that happen on your travertine floors, make sure you act quickly. This is due to the porous nature of travertine tiles. They will absorb the spill and can become permanently stained if left for a long time.

The best way to clean travertine tiles is to:

  • 1
    ​Blot first. Don’t rub the area, treat it gently so that the spill doesn’t spread any further.
  • 2
    ​Use a sponge or cloth with only water on it to wipe the area. Make sure to only use water before the next step since this will help clean up most of the spill.
  • 3
    ​If the area is sticky then you can opt to use a mild soap mixed with water on the area.
  • 4
    ​Rinse the area only water to get up the soapy residue.
  • 5
    ​Use a dry cloth or paper towel to pull up any excess moisture for quicker drying.

If you do have an older spill, you will want to follow these same steps to get it up as best as you can.

Stained grout can be cleaned with a water and baking soda paste. Apply it, let it sit, and scrub into the grout. Let the paste sit a little longer after scrubbing and then rinse with clean water.

Conclusion

Now you know more about how to clean travertine showers as well as how to clean travertine floors. You also know the best way to care for your tile surfaces and how much you should or should not deep clean them.

​If you're enjoying this article, make sure to check out our comprehensive cleaning guides​:

About the Author Lauren Moldvay

Lauren Moldvay is a freelance writer from Virginia and the mother of one (not always) sweet little girl. She specializes in trying to help others find easier ways to clean, manage the home and save money with DIY projects.

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