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How do I clean the hard water marks in my Travertine shower?

Q: My 6 month old shower has a travertine shower pan and a combination of ceramic and travertine tile on the walls. There are hard water marks all over the tile and on the fixtures and I need to get them off. I have already tried some of the recommended cleaners (Aqua Mix Concentrated Stone and Tile Cleaner, Mira Matte Cleaner and TileLab Grout & Tile Cleaner) but they are doing a poor job of getting the hard water to disappear. I am coming to the conclusion that nothing but Lime Away might get the job done but know that acidic cleaners are harmful to he stone. We are installing a water softener but in the meantime need to get the hard water off without damaging the travertine. What would you recommend to get the tile looking like new again? Thanks for any information you can provide!

A: Hard water stains are the result of calcium and other minerals in your water building up and depositing on the surface of the stone over time. Over time the deposits can build to the point where everyday cleaners will not be able to remove them on their own. Harsh acids will damage the travertine and it will need to be restored. This may be your only option if the deposits are too difficult to remove with a neutral cleaner. However, you may want to try taking a very sharp razor blade and scraping the deposits. Then, using a quality stone cleaner, try to clean the area again. Stone cleaner is available at Stone Care Central.

My best advise would be to call in a pro to have it done properly. Once restored, a proper daily maintenance routine will help prevent the build up from reoccurring. Take a look at our Stone Care Guide for the proper care and maintenance of natural stones.

Fred Hueston, Chief Technical Director, Stone and Tile PROS
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