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Care & Maintenance Tips: How to Seal and Clean a Travertine Floor

sleek modern bathroom with travertine tiles throughout, hanging toilet and sink next to each other

Is it tough to clean and maintain travertine flooring? – No. Is it important to know HOW to clean a travertine floor safely and efficiently? – Yes! 

This natural and durable stone is formed in hot springs or limestone caves and has been used in architecture for centuries. Today, the material is widely used as flooring in residential and commercial spaces and is often a preferred alternative to marble flooring due to the striking resemblance between the two stones. Of course, travertine comes cheaper whilst providing an equally beautiful finish to interiors with their natural, earthy tones, and raw finish. 

Now, the question is: how can you keep your travertine floor in tiptop condition? Well, with the right care and maintenance, your travertine flooring will look as good as new for years to come! So, without further ado, here is everything you need to know about sealing and cleaning a travertine floor. 

Why You Should Seal Your Travertine Floor

modern white inspired living room with two large couches and a futon on a travertine floor

If you’re wondering why you need to seal travertine flooring, it’s because the stone is a very porous material and therefore, unsealed travertine is prone to dirt. The exposed pores become clogged with debris while absorbing liquids which leads to staining. Travertine is also vulnerable to mould, discolouration, and wear and tear if not sealed and maintained in a timely manner. 

How Sealants Work to Protect Travertine Floors

When applied to the surface, the primary sealant seeps into the pores of the material, thereby protecting the tiles from moisture. A second application with a surface barrier sealant will help lock in the primary sealer while also protecting the stone from liquids, dust, and debris. This secondary coat should be reapplied as and when the existing sealer becomes worn (generally every 2-3 years).

Steps to Seal Your Travertine Tiles

If you’ve got the time, it’s super easy to seal a travertine flooring yourself. All you need to do is purchase the sealants and a commercial hand sprayer, as well as a microfibre mop and squeegee if you don’t already have these tools. 

Once you’ve rounded up the tools/products required for the job, follow the steps below:

  1. Vacuum the floor thoroughly to remove dust and debris.
  2. Pour the sealant into the sprayer. Check the label for specific instructions on how to use the product. 
  3. Apply the sealer to the floor one section at a time. Cover approximately 4 x 5 inches per section. Be sure to spray the floor generously and as evenly as possible; allow it to stand for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Spread the sealer using a microfibre mop. Do this from side to side within the sprayed section (starting from the top). Wait another 5 minutes before moving on to the next step.
  5. Use the squeegee to spread the excess sealant to the next section. This is a great way to minimise wastage.
  6. After 5-7 minutes have passed since using the squeegee on the floor, use a dry microfibre cloth to wipe over the sealed section. This will remove any excess product that the squeegee may have missed, and provide a smooth finish.
  7. Repeat the steps above until each section of the floor is sealed.

A surface barrier sealer can be applied using the steps above once the floor is completely dry.

How to Clean a Travertine Floor

top view of a stained acqua and white coloured travertine floor

With your travertine tiles sealed and protected, all that’s left to do is to clean the surface regularly using this safe and effective cleaning method that our experts at Maid For You swear by! 

Follow the step-by-step guide below.

Step 1: Remove Surface Debris

There is no recommended way of doing this; you can either sweep or vacuum your travertine flooring depending on your preference and convenience. It is, however, important to do a thorough job as any loose debris on the surface will get pushed into the grout lines during the next step. You should also note that vacuuming must be done using a brush attachment to prevent damaging the seal. 

Step 2: Damp-Mop the Floor

While you may find a few commercial cleaning products specially formulated for travertine flooring on the market, they are not necessary. In fact, you can safely and effectively clean and remove stains from your travertine floor using non-acidic liquid dishwashing instead. All you need to do is make a mild cleaning solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of dish soap and 3 litres of warm water. 

Use this DIY travertine floor cleaner to dampen a clean microfibre cloth, and proceed to gently remove stains and mop the rest of the floor. Bear in mind that any soapy residue left on the surface will make the floor look dull; therefore, it is advisable to mop the floor again, this time using a clean mop dampened with plain water. For best results, towel-dry your travertine floor to finish off.

Step 3: Clean the Tile Grout

This needn’t be a daily or weekly task, however, at least once a month, you should clean the grout lines of your travertine tiles to kill bacteria, and keep them from becoming discoloured. For this, a safe and mildly abrasive cleaning agent like baking soda is advised. 

Begin by making a non-runny paste of baking soda and water; apply it to the grout lines using a tile grout brush or your fingers. This will take some so you might want to enlist the help of other household members to speed up the application. Allow it to sit for a few hours to actively lighten the grout and combat germs before vacuuming up the crusty paste. 

Travertine flooring is one of the easiest floor types to clean and maintain which is only an added perk when you consider just how beautiful, versatile, and long-lasting the material is! The takeaways from this article are to always make sure that your travertine floor is properly sealed, and to clean it gently using the right tools and products for best results. 

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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