Maintaining the beauty of the floors in your home is a worthwhile investment to preserve the value of your home. If you give them a light sweep or vacuum on a regular basis, followed by the occasional deep clean, you’ll find that keeping them pristine and spotless isn’t much of a chore at all.
Before you begin, you’ll want to prepare some of the essential tools of the trade:
- Rubber gloves
- Knee pads
- A pail
- An old, used toothbrush
- A scouring pad
- A floor scraping tool
- Paper towels
It goes without saying, of course, that a broom, a vacuum, a mop and a bucket are must-haves to give your floors a thorough clean. However, the tools listed above are necessary for when you’ve got to get down and dirty to remove stubborn stains and caked-on dirt.
Once you’ve gotten geared up, give your floor a preliminary look over and make a mental note of problem spots. You might want to tackle those before covering the floor with soap.
Depending on the material your floors is made of, you’ll want to modify your approach:
Hardwood floors usually come sealed with a compound like polyurethane, or waxed. No matter what the finish is, you’ll want to sweep or vacuum them a few times a week to prevent dirt from building up or scratching the surface. If you vacuum, make sure to remove the beater bar, which can damage the hardwood.
If your hardwood floor is sealed, use a damp mop (not too wet!) and a mixture of mild soap and water to remove any surface dirt. A hardwood floor that’s wax-sealed will usually resist most liquids, allowing you to simply dry them off. Then, just sweep up or vacuum the dirt, and give the floor a new coat of wax to seal in that beautiful wood grain.
Natural Stone or Tile
Vinegar is a huge no-no for cleaning natural stone, because the vinegar can react with the stone and leave nasty discoloration. Instead give them a light sweep and finish with a pH-neutral cleaning solution, which can be found at hardware stores.
Tiles can be cleaned using just about any method. A little bit of soap and warm water will be your best bet in making them gleam. Using a steam cleaner is also a viable option for cleaning both tile and natural stone.
Laminate is one of the most durable floor surfaces, but they can warp when waterlogged, so don’t tip that pail of suds over. Otherwise, you can clean laminate floors with some soap and warm water.
Although laminate may look a lot like hardwood, don’t wax it. Unlike hardwood, laminate will resist the wax, and it will form an unattractive filmy substance over the floor’s surface. Yuck.
Known as the most durable type of floor surface, vinyl will withstand just about anything you throw at it. One of the best cleaning solutions for vinyl is a mixture of vinegar, ordinary dish detergent, and warm water. Go to town on that floor, and if stains or dirt are proving too hard to handle, break out the steam cleaner and show that floor who’s boss.
Whatever your floor and however you choose to tackle its cleaning, the key thing is to do it regularly. You don’t have to sponge and mop it every day, but you should sweep up regularly after meals or if your home sees a lot of foot traffic. Do it right, and you’ll have a floor that lasts a lifetime, ensuring years of enjoyment for you and your family.