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How Do You Clean Travertine on a Pool Deck?

Did you just install a new travertine pool deck? Or maybe you resurfaced the old one and laid out new travertine pavers. Whatever the case, I am sure your pool deck looks stunning. Proper and regular cleaning will keep it looking beautiful for years. So, how do you clean travertine on a pool deck?

Regular sweeping & cleaning, use of appropriate cleaning chemicals to remove stains, algae & molds and resealing of the travertine on your pool deck, as often as necessary, is all you need to maintain its looks and increase its durability.

A travertine pool deck is a large area of your yard exposed to the elements. Dust, debris and dry leaves keep falling on it all the time. The deck can have algae, mold & mildew growth as it is often wet from the pool water or rain. And of course there is always the aftermath of the fun weekend pool party!

How to clean travertine pool deck

TIP#1 : Sweep while the Deck is Dry

A travertine paver is porous, more porous than other natural stones like limestone, marble and granite. The travertine paver on your pool deck is also likely to have a textured finish. Tumbled or honed finish are quite popular.

An easy way to clean your travertine pool deck is to sweep it with a broom while it is still dry. This way you give the dust less chance to get wet and embed itself in the porous, textured travertine paver. 

Sweeping the deck will also remove any sharp objects that can scratch the paver or hurt bare feet.

TIP#2 : Sweep in Sections

It is easier to sweep the deck in sections. Instead of sweeping the entire deck, sweep around 40-50 square feet and collect the dust before moving on. This way you do not drag all the dust, all over the pool deck.

TIP#3 : Sweep before the Party

The best time to sweep your pool deck is before the weekend pool party. The deck is still dry. Sweeping it will not just make it more presentable, it will also make it safer.

Party or no party, make it a habit to sweep your pool deck every week.

Use a broom or a soft brush. Make sure that you get the dust out of any cracks in the tile, paver or grout. After sweeping, you can wash the deck with water to clean any remaining dirt. Just use the garden hose.

Sweeping is a good start, but to be honest it is just a start. You will have situations where you will need stronger medicine. Your travertine pool deck will, sooner or later, get stains, mold & mildew.

Stains, mold, mildew, etc. are hard to remove without some sort of cleaning chemicals. Travertine pavers are porous, so stains, mold, mildew, etc. penetrate deep. However, you have to be extremely conscious that the chemical that you use will not tarnish or corrode travertine.

Can You Use Bleach on Outdoor Travertine?

No, you should never use bleach to clean a travertine pool deck. This is why.

Bleach is basically liquid chlorine, that you use to sanitize your pool, but with half the concentration of sodium hypochlorite. Bleach mixed with water results in hypochlorous acid, which is the active ingredient.

Travertine is rich in calcite. Calcite is calcium carbonate. Any acid, including hypochlorous acid will attack calcium carbonate and break it down. The process is slow but it is there.

Can You Use Vinegar on Travertine?

No, you should never use vinegar to clean a travertine pool deck. This is why.

Vinegar is about 4-6% acetic acid in water. So the reason for not using vinegar on travertine, is exactly the same as the reason for not using bleach. Acetic acid will react with the calcite in travertine, the same way bleach reacts with the calcite in travertine.

When you place a drop of weak acid, such as vinegar, on calcite, it will bubble. This happens because a reaction causes a little bit of the calcite to break down, releasing carbon dioxide gas, making the bubbles.


TIP#4 : Never Use Bleach or Vinegar on Travertine

You should not use bleach, vinegar or a citric cleaner to clean a travertine pool deck as acids, even mild acids, will corrode the calcite in travertine.

Can You Use Baking Soda on Travertine?

Quite often, people tell you that it is alright to use baking soda to clean stains on travertine tiles and pavers. 

The recommendation is to use a 50:50 mix of baking soda & water and apply the paste on the stained area. Leave it for 15-30 minutes. Wipe off the paste with a sponge or rag.

This may work on the stain but it is not good for travertine. Baking soda is in fact Sodium Bicarbonate. Baking soda is an alkali and has a pH of 8.4 or more. 

Alkalis, just like acids, are no friends of the calcite in travertine.

Avoid using baking soda to clean the stains from your travertine pool deck. There is a better alternative.

Can You Use Ammonia on Travertine?

Just like bleach, ammonia is a common household cleaning chemical. The household ammonia is in fact Ammonium Hydroxide, which is an alkali. 

Ammonia has a pH of 11. So ammonia is a lot more alkaline than baking soda. Do not use ammonia to clean your travertine pool deck. You will cause irreparable damage.

TIP#5 : Do not Use Baking Soda or Ammonia on Travertine

Both baking soda and ammonia are alkaline and are harmful to the longevity of travertine.

What Cleaners Are Safe for Travertine?

Travertine is a sedimentary rock characterized by high porosity and high calcite content. Both, acids & alkalis, will corrode travertine. 

So you must always use pH neutral cleaners on Travertine.

Black Diamond’s Stone Wash is formulated specifically to clean porous natural stone surfaces such as limestone & travertine. Stone Wash is pH neutral and biodegradable. Stone Wash lifts dirt effortlessly from natural stone without damaging the surface or diminishing natural stone color.

Can I use Oxiclean on Travertine?

Yes, you can use Oxiclean to remove stains and kill off mold & mildew on travertine pavers. 

Oxiclean is pH neutral and based on hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide works best on travertine. 

To get rid of stubborn stains it is best to use Miracle Sealants Poultice Plus. It is an easy to use, fine, non-acidic absorbent powder. The bleach free formula works, when mixed with distilled water, to draw stains out from travertine pavers & tiles.

TIP#6 : Use Miracle Sealant’s Poultice Plus to remove Stains

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Mix Poultice Plus with “distilled water” to form a peanut butter like paste. Apply the paste directly to the stain approximately 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick. Overlap the stain by approximately 1/4″- 1/2″. 

Cover the paste with plastic wrap and tape the plastic with “non marking” tape to create an airtight seal. Allow the paste to dry completely, approximately 24 – 48 hours. 

Remove the plastic wrap and scrape the dried paste from the substrate with a plastic putty knife or spatula. Rinse off all residue with clean “distilled water”.

Can You Power Wash Outdoor Travertine?

You can use power wash to clean your outdoor travertine pool deck. 

Just keep the following in mind:

  • Use the lowest setting on your power washer. High pressure can abrade and chip the travertine paver or tile
  • Do not keep the nozzle too close to travertine when pressure washing
  • Power Wash only when required. Once a year may be enough, possibly before the pool season. Anyway avoid power washing more than twice a year
  • Test the status of the sealant on the travertine paver. You may need to reseal, especially after a deep clean and power wash

How Often Should Travertine Be Sealed?

Impregnating Stone Sealers penetrate into the pores of the travertine paver, solidify and block them. The natural texture & appearance remains unchanged. Water, stains or harmful chemicals can not enter the pores.

A good impregnating sealer such as Miracle Sealants 511QT6 511 Impregnator Sealer will last 1-3 years on a travertine pool deck. The actual life depends on travertine texture, foot traffic and even the strength of the power wash.

You can check if the sealer is still effective or not, by sprinkling a few drops of water on the travertine surface. If the water beads up, then the sealer is still effective. But if the water gets absorbed then it is time to reseal.

TIP#7 : Make sure Travertine is Effectively Sealed, all the Time

You can find out more by reading my earlier post Do Travertine Pavers Need to Be Sealed? (Is It Helpful?).

Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and helpful.

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