There is perhaps no more important cleaning item in the house than floors. As a cleaning company, we hear many requests about how to handle a certain part of the house, but floor care is our most frequent request.
With that in mind, many people have no idea how to clean their floors the best way.
The simple answer is that different floor types require different styles of cleaning to eliminate the most dirt and grime while doing the least amount of long-term damage to the surface. One thing to keep in mind is that the key to floor health is not just in how well you clean, but in how well you treat your flooring in between cleanings.
Here is a brief guide to handling different types of floors.
How To Clean Hardwood Floors
The most important thing to do before applying any wet cleaning agent to a floor is to remove as much dirt and debris as possible. Feel free to use a duster, a high quality broom, and/or a vacuum to pick up the little pieces that were left behind.
Go over this a second time, and make sure that you’re either not wearing shoes or you’re wearing shoe coverings. Obviously, you don’t want to track dirt.
Next, you want to use a mop with just a little bit of cleaning solution. You can add a few drops of some type of scented oil if you’d like (lemon works pretty well on floors.) Two important things:
Mop along the grain of the wood
Do NOT use to much water on the floor so as not to leave any standing water
An easy way to ensure you’re not using too much liquid is to use a swiffer mop instead of a regular one. We use them a lot at Companion Maids, and we’ve found them to be a universally good tool to get the job done, especially in a bind.
Hardwood Floors with a stain
The following advice is from an article featured in “Better Homes and Gardens”
Consider your floor’s finish before trying to remove a mark. If the stain is on the surface, your floor probably has a hard finish, such as urethane. If the stain has penetrated through to the wood, the floor probably has a soft oiled finish — common in older homes whose floors have not been refinished and resealed. Wipe surface stains from a hard finish with a soft, clean cloth. Never use sandpaper, steel wool, or harsh chemicals on such a surface because they can permanently damage the finish.
The following remedies are for hardwood floors with soft oiled finishes. If needed, end each treatment by staining the wood, then waxing and buffing the spot to match the rest of the floor.
Dark spots and pet stains: Rub the spot with No. 000 steel wool and floor wax. If the area is still dark, apply bleach or vinegar and allow it to soak into the wood for about an hour. Rinse with a damp cloth.
Heel marks: Use fine steel wool to rub in floor wax.
Oil-base stains: Rub the area with a soft cloth and dishwashing detergent to break down the grease. Rinse with clear water. If one or more applications don’t work, repeat the procedure. Keep children and pets out of the room until you’re done. Let the spot dry, then smooth the raised grain with fine sandpaper.
Water marks or white stains: Rub the spot with No. 000 steel wool and floor wax. If the stain goes deeper, lightly sand the floor and clean with fine steel wool and odorless mineral spirits.
How To Clean Tile Floors
As said above, the first thing to do is make sure you have swept and vacuumed the surface area so as not to track dirt with your mop or cleaning rag. You should do this regularly to keep the floor in good shape.
Again, the name of the game is to use a mop with very little water. You don’t want any water to seep into the cracks, especially if your tile is stone or you have a lot of grout in between the tiles. We recommend using a swiffer.
However, the key to a “clean” versus “truly clean” tile floor is how you handle the grout. Because grout is porous, it absorbs grease and other stains and gets dirtier over time, making it harder to clean. As a result, the best way to treat grout is to make a mixture of baking soda and water, mix it into a paste, and rub it into the grout, focusing on areas that are dirtier.
Now let that paste sit there overnight. The next morning, scrub the paste off with a dry, stiff brush material like nylon. Do not use metal as it will scrape away and damage the grout. Repeat as necessary.
How To Clean Linoleum Floors
Linoleum or vinyl flooring is much more simple to care for, from a cleaning perspective. Caring for the floor relies more on your daily routine and movements than how you clean it. Don’t use heavy furniture, or slide chairs across the surface, as this can leave a dent or scratch the floors. It is also important to wax the floors occasionally to retain it’s beautiful shine.
As always, before cleaning the floor, make sure you remove dirt and debris with a broom or dust mop. Only use a small vacuum (like a dirt devil) so as not to damage the surface with heavy machinery.
Cleaning the floor with a mop is pretty easy, just be sure that your cleaning solution is not too potent. A low strength detergent will do you just fine here.
As always, be sure to not use too much water.
We hope that this advice on different types of flooring can help you keep your floors clean and healthy. Companion Maids prides ourselves on providing high quality cleaning services in the Chicago area, and one of the main things we focus on his having a clean floor.