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Question DetailsAsked on 1/31/2014

I'm seeing some dark spots on on shower tile (travertine) and it looks like mold. Can this be cleaned?

Also, travertine floor needs to be cleaned.

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2 Answers


Don't bother testing - it does not matter if mold or staining, you want to cure it anyway. You need a thorough cleaning and sealing, and especially on travertine (one of the worst types of stone to put in wet or trafficked areas) you need a professional to do this cleaning.

There are tons of cleaners out there that will clean it real quick - unfortunately, because travertine is made of soluble lime and iron and manganese deposits - essentially hard water deposits - it dissolves and pits VERY readily with most tile cleaners. Travertine is just hard lime deposits deposited at hot water pools and geysers after tehe steaming water passes through and dissolves limestone and gypsum and dolomite and marble, like this one in Yellowstone-

Mother Nature's version of REALLY bad hard water deposits - pretty, but not what you would call a building material, and probably one of the last rock types an engineer would choose as a finish surface material for flooring or showers/baths/countertops - which of course makes it a favorite of interior designers and architects who care mostly about aesthetics and not practicality.

Therefore, cleaning it takes a soft tough and great care - and then REALLY good sealing afterwards, with at least 2 coats of special sealer for lime based stones (including travertine, limestone and marble) - to get it right takes a pro with experience in handling travertine and marble. Also requires deep cleaning and resealing every year or so on trafficked floors - probably every 3-4 years on showers. And be sure to get recommendation on cleaning technique you use - regular cleaners are dynamite on the stone and the sealers.

I would find a tile flooring company who specializes in exotic materials installation and repair, and make sure they have experience with travertine - hopefully look at a couple of public building locations they have cleaned and sealed, because an improper job comes out looking grayed out as the dirt has been smudged in, not removed.

Here is another response I gave on travertine care, with links to a couple of cleaning resources -

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


Dry it after each use to prevent mold growth. Open a window or turn on the exhaust fan to reduce humidity in the shower. Clean your shower weekly or more often with a pH-balanced cleaner.

Answered 2 years ago by moldremoval

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