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I have a travertine dining room table. What should I do to seal it and how should I clean it?

Q: I have a travertine dining room table. What should I do to seal it and how should I clean it?

A: Regarding sealing travertine, check first to see if you require sealing of your travertine by spilling some clean fresh water on it for 5 minutes. If it darkens the stone (indicating that it is absorbing), then let it dry and then DO seal it. After 24 hours, try the test again. If it darkens, let it dry, then seal again.

On the other hand, if after 5-10 minutes the stone does not get darker, and the water just beads up, there is no need to seal it (it is not absorbing anything anyway).

If you get white marks on your table, they are not stains and no sealer (regardless of how good it claims to be) can prevent them or cover them. They are chemical reactions between acids and calcium (which is what your travertine is made of. Essentially Travertine is hard water build-up in large enough quantities to quarry) and need to be refinished. They are lighter in color and indicate that some of the stone has been eaten away by the acid.

No sealer on the market will prevent the chemical reaction between acid (vinegar, wine, citric juices) and calcium (which makes up travertine). Your only prevention is to put on a wax, but then it is not food safe and is toxic. You are best leaving it natural and caring for it using a stone safe cleaner and a stone polish. Stone Care Central has excellent products.
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