Cleaning a Travertine Shower: Do’s and Don’ts

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Cleaning a Travertine Shower

Is there anything more beautiful than a travertine shower? You can’t take your eyes off the intricate patterns and textures. What many people don’t realize is that these luxurious tiles are porous, and that means soap scum will build up over time. This article will teach you the tricks for thoroughly cleaning a travertine shower without harming the stone or tile, and without the need for harsh chemical cleaners.

We’ll look at the best way to clean a travertine shower, how to remove mold from a travertine shower, as well as general do’s and don’ts to keep this natural stone looking like new.

Cleaning a Travertine Shower: What You’ll Need

Travertine is a sensitive stone that can be easily damaged, so it’s important to use the right cleaners and the right materials. Not only is travertine porous, but it’s also not as strong as granite and some other types of natural stone. The wrong cleaning regimen may leave your stone damaged, etched, or broken.

When cleaning a travertine shower, you should use a cleaner made specifically for porous natural stone surfaces. You definitely should not use acidic cleaners, including vinegar, with travertine or other limestones. In general, DIY cleaning solutions are not recommended for travertine because they may cause damage to the stone.

Unfortunately, your options are rather limited if you’re looking for a safe, chemical-free cleaning product that’s made for Travertine. Thankfully, Better Life’s Granite and Stone Cleaner is a safe, eco-friendly product that is readily available and effective.

Here are the supplies we recommend having on hand before you start:

The Best Way to Clean a Travertine Shower

Cleaning your travertine shower is much easier if you stay on top of it with regular maintenance and minor cleaning. The truth is, travertine showers take more effort to clean than most other types of showers. They look great, but it will require regular cleaning to keep them that way.

Regularly clean the shower by wiping it down after every use with just warm water and a general-purpose cloth (we recommend the E-Cloth microfiber cloth). This will remove excess soap, shampoo, hair, body oil, etc., and will keep build-up to a minimum. If you don’t do this regularly or if there’s an unusually large amount of grime left on the surfaces after your morning routine, you’ll need to clean more thoroughly.

You’ll need to do more thorough cleaning about once a week. Gently clean the stone tiles with the E-Cloth and Better Life Granite and Stone Cleaner. This will allow you to give the shower floor and walls a complete cleaning.

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You may prefer to use a soft-bristled brush around the edges of the tiles, near the grout. Sometimes the brush will be more effective in these areas than a cloth. You can also use an old toothbrush with the Better Life cleaning solution for corners, grout lines, and hard-to-reach places.

Be sure to thoroughly rinse the tiles with water to remove all of the cleaning solution. This is the best way to clean a travertine shower.

Related: How To Clean Travertine Floors and The Best Mop for Travertine Floors

Removing Soap Scum from Travertine

Some soaps leave a very thin, invisible film on the shower floor and walls. This is especially true of soaps with fragrance oils or essential oils. They leave behind a film that is almost impossible to see but leaves your travertine shower looking dull and dingy.

Soap scum not only looks terrible, but it can also do significant damage to your tiles. When soap scum sits for an extended length of time, hard water deposits may build up. This will eat away at your travertine shower and cause pitting and a mottled appearance.

The cleaning regimen described above with the E-Cloth and Better Life Granite and Stone Cleaner should effectively solve soap scum problems. However, if you’re having issues with soap scum, you may need to apply the cleaning solution and allow it to sit for 10 minutes before scrubbing.

Another option is to use a dedicated soap scum remover, but be sure to use a product that’s non-acidic. Soap scum removers that contain acid will damage the stone or cause discoloration.

Related: The Best Natural Granite Cleaner for Countertops

Mopping Travertine Shower Floors

One option for daily maintenance of your travertine shower is to use a microfiber mop, like the E-Cloth Deep Clean Mop, to quickly clean the floor. With just water, the microfiber mop will give the floor a quick clean that keeps soap scum at bay. This is especially helpful for larger showers since you can clean quickly with a mop.

Top-Rated Mop
E-Cloth Deep Clean Mop
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The Deep Clean Mop from E-Cloth is our favorite mop for keeping the floors in your home clean and free of bacteria. This inexpensive, lightweight mop cleans effectively with just water, no need to mess with mopping solutions. The reusable mop head will save you loads of money compared to single-use products, plus it's better for the environment. This compact mop is also easy to store when you're not using it, thanks to convenient hook and loop fasteners.

How to Remove Mold from a Travertine Shower

There’s no question that mold is the enemy of travertine shower tiles. Fortunately, most mildew and mold problems can be resolved easily, but it’s important to use the right cleaner.

Many products that can be used to remove mold, including vinegar, should not be used on travertine. The cleaning process covered above (Better Life Granite and Stone Cleaner and the E-Cloth microfiber cloth) should also be effective at removing mold from your travertine tiles.

Just like with soap scum, excellent maintenance practices will help prevent this unsightly problem (and even prevent further damage) from occurring.

If you wipe down your shower after every use, you should be able to prevent mold issues. This prevents excess soap and oils from building up and creating a home for mold and mildew growth. If you keep the problem in check, the travertine shower will only require spot cleaning when necessary. If you’re noticing more extensive mold or mildew build-up, it may be time for a thorough cleaning.

Related: The Best Marble Cleaner for the Floor and Bathroom

How to Remove Stubborn Stains

Staining can be an issue with travertine and other porous stone tiles. If you have a stain that’s not coming out with the cleaning methods we’ve already covered, you may want to try hydrogen peroxide. However, be careful because in some cases it can cause discoloration. It’s recommended that you do a spot check in an inconspicuous place first.

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Do’s and Don’ts for Cleaning Travertine

Since cleaning a travertine shower is different than cleaning other types of showers, it’s critical to follow these do’s and don’ts to prevent damage while still effectively cleaning the tiles.

  • Do wipe down the shower and give it a very quick clean on a daily basis. This will be a huge help in the fight against soap scum and mold, and it will prevent more difficult cleaning later.
  • Do give the travertine tile a thorough cleaning once a week, or more frequently if needed.
  • Do use cleaning products that are made specifically for travertine and porous stone.
  • Do clean up any spills immediately. Don’t allow them to sit on the tile as it can become harder to clean. Products that contain dyes can easily stain the tiles.
  • Do keep soap and other products on a tray in the shower rather than on the tile itself.
  • Do seal your travertine tiles. This helps to prevent water absorption and protect the tiles from soap, shampoo, and oils from your body.
  • Do seal the grout as well.
  • Don’t use any type of acidic cleaner or soap scum remover, including vinegar. It will damage the tiles.
  • Don’t use DIY cleaning products unless you can be sure that they’re safe for travertine.
  • Don’t use abrasive brushes or cleaning products that may damage the travertine.

Related: The Best Natural Shower Cleaner: Non-Toxic Soap Scum Remover

Frequently Asked Questions

What is travertine?

Travertine is a type of limestone that’s been formed into tiles or slabs. It has a unique look with multiple colors and vein patterns throughout the stone.

What cleaner is the best for travertine?

We recommend Better Life Granite and Stone Cleaner. It’s made specifically for travertine and other types of stone, and it’s also safe, eco-friendly, and chemical-free.

Is travertine hard to maintain?

Travertine is porous, so it does require regular maintenance to keep it looking its best. However, the process is actually pretty quick and easy. Just take a swipe at the shower with an E-Cloth after every use.

Can you use vinegar on travertine?

No. Vinegar can be damaging to travertine tiles. It’s best not to use it on the stone.

Can you use banking soda on travertine?

Baking soda is generally not recommended for use on travertine. This is a generalization because the pH of baking soda can vary.

Can you clean travertine with hydrogen peroxide?

Yes. Hydrogen peroxide is safe for travertine and other porous stone tiles. However, it’s important to only use the product on stubborn stains because it can cause discoloration if used excessively or incorrectly. Be sure to test it in a small area before using it throughout the shower.

Can you steam clean a travertine shower?

Yes. Steaming will help break down grime and dirt, but you should always test a small area first as it can cause discoloration if used incorrectly.

What causes discoloration of travertine tiles?

Discoloration of travertine tiles can be caused by dyes in soap, shampoo, and other products. If something spills on the travertine, it should be cleaned up quickly. Discoloration can also be caused by the tiles being cleaned too aggressively or with cleaning products that are too harsh.

Cleaning a Travertine Shower: Final Thoughts

Cleaning a travertine shower with care will allow you to have a beautiful shower for years to come. The best way to clean a travertine shower is to wipe it down each day after use, and then thoroughly clean it once per week. If you follow these do’s and don’ts, it’ll be easier to keep your shower looking great, remove mold from a travertine shower, and prevent soap scum build-up all without damaging these delicate stone tiles.