Going Green: How to Clean a Travertine Tile Backsplash

What You'll Need
Spray bottle
Mild soap
Baking soda
Small bowl
Several old rags
Tile Polish (such as Granite Gold)

A travertine tile backsplash is a focal point of your kitchen, giving it a classic, professionally decorated feel with warm tones and shiny qualities. You will need to carefully clean it to be sure it the beauty of the surface last for years. For best results, consider green cleaning mthods as chemical cleaners can remove the remove the sealant and leave it susceptible to stains and scratches.

Step 1 - Removing the Dust

Before you begin, use a clean cloth to wipe down the travertine to remove all dust and any loose debris that has collected on it. Since there will most likely be a greasy film, this will help to wipe away some of the grease prior to washing it. After you have wiped it down well, get a new towel and get ready to clean.

Step 2 - Cleaning the Travertine

Fill the spray bottle with warm water and add a few squirts of mild soap, such as dish soap. Shake the bottle to mix it well. Thoroughly spray the tile, and let it sit for a minute to allow the soap to soften debris that may be stuck in the pores of the tile. Vigorously wipe with a clean cloth to lift off all of the debris and to make sure all the water is absorbed. Next, treat any stains that you may not have been able to remove with this step.

Step 3 - Removing Stains

In a small bowl, add equal amounts of baking soda and salt. Mix in enough water to make a paste. Using a sponge apply the mixture to any spots, gently rubbing in a circular motion. Allow the mixture to dry completely in order for it to lift out the stains. This will work on greasy stains, as well as any splatters.

Once it has dried, wipe away with a clean cloth or sponge. If it has not completely lifted, repeat this process. After the stains are removed, you will need to give it a shine.

Step 4 - Polishing and Protecting

Using an all natural tile polish, which is safe for travertine, spray it on and rub it in well. It will give your travertine a nice sheen and offer a layer of protection against stains. It will make it easier to wipe clean if something splashes on it and will keep watermarks from forming. 

Step 5 - Daily Maintenance

Daily maintenance will make all the difference in keeping your travertine tile looking brand new. Keep your spray bottle and clean rags on hand to wipe down your tiles daily. It's easiest to remember to do if it is part of your cleaning routine when doing dishes each day. Follow the above cleaning method at least once a month to prevent buildup or stains seeping into your tile.