How Do I Remove “White Film” From My Travertine Tile Floor Shower

Question: The home we just moved into has a travertine shower. The tile on the floor of the shower has a white “film” over it. I assume it is etched. Do you have a product that will remove this? Or do I need a professional? Also, can it be sealed once it’s clean to prevent this happening again?

Answer: Thank you for contacting us regarding your stone. A couple of things could be happening to your stone- it could be a soap film build up or it could be etching. If you take your fingernail and scratch the surface and the film peels up, this could be soap film build up. You can even use a single edge razor blade, and at a 45-degree angle, very gently scrape the surface of the stone where the build- up is. If the film peels it is soap film; if it flakes, the surface is etched.

If the stone is etched you will need to contact a Stone Restoration Professional to restore the stone. DIY polishing powders and etch removers are meant for light etching such as water rings, glass rings, etc. Anything larger than this will require the use of a hand machine, polishing compounds and diamond pads to restore the surface.

For future reference, soap film can be prevented by using liquid soap instead of bar soap. It takes a lot of water at a high pressure to fully remove bar soap versus liquid soap and will always lead to a soap film build up.

Always be sure to use cleaning products that are specifically designed for natural stone. Products such a Lysol, Scrubbing Bubbles, Tilex, Vinegar, etc. are harsh and acidic and will etch stones such as travertine, marble and limestone (every time)!

Sealers do not prevent etching on stone- they only prevent staining. Sealers work by going into the stone to fill up pits and pores to prevent absorption. Etching is a chemical reaction to the surface of the stone which will always need restoration. There are no products that will prevent the stone from etching. Using the correct cleaning products in the shower will greatly reduce any chance of etching.


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