BuildDirect recommends cleaning travertine tile with a mild, phosphate-free and biodegradable liquid dish washing soap, water that is neither acidic nor alkaline, and a mild abrasive in an overlapping sweeping motion. The company warns against using acid or chemical cleaners and suggests multiple removal methods for specific stains.
Homeowners can remove oil-based stains by soaking a wet cloth in ammonia and gently rubbing away the stain so that the cloth absorbs the material, leaving the travertine clean. BuildDirect suggests that homeowners with organic stains, such as those left by coffee, tea or tobacco, use a 12 percent hydrogen peroxide solution mixed with a few drops of ammonia to clean the area surrounding the stain. Some difficult oil or organic stains require the use of a poultice to achieve the best results; a poultice is a thick paste containing cleaning chemicals that must be applied to travertine stone and left to sit for 24 or 48 hours.
Owners of light-colored travertine tile with embedded ink stains must use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to sweep away the stain, while dark-colored travertine is best cleaned with acetone or a lacquer thinner. Using a grade 0000 steel wool can remove water stains, particularly when caused by the accumulation of calcium-heavy hard water.