In today’s guest post by Karla Jennings, learn some tricks and techniques for keeping any kind of flooring looking like new.
A clean floor is one of life’s little pleasures. Sadly, the condition of cleanliness may not last very long in a house full of pets and kids. Those few quiet moments after mopping – when the sunlight is still gleaming off the damp spots – can be among the best of a day.
A delicate balance of care and maintenance is required to keep any floor looking like new. Many will find the labor to be worth its weight in peace of mind. You should start with the following steps to keep any floor looking great:
- Floor-mats should be placed on both sides of each outdoor entrance, and elsewhere throughout the home.
- Place slip pads on the legs of all movable furniture.
- All floors should be swept or vacuumed daily to remove any abrasive particles which might scratch or dull the finish.
- All spills should be cleaned thoroughly and immediately.
- Wash floors at least once a week according to the best recommended practices for your floor-type.
I have three types of flooring in my house, so I wanted to do some research into the optimal maintenance techniques for each. Here are is what I found:
The best method for cleaning any kind of floor is dependent on the type of surface finish used during installation. Polyurethane finishes are most common for wood floors. These can be safely cleaned with a damp (not wet) mop and a small amount of vinegar or glass cleaner. If your floors are treated with oil based finish, no moisture at all should be used when cleaning. Some surfaces may require specialized cleaning formulas which are only available through the manufacturers. When in doubt, talk to an experienced professional about what is best for your hardwoods.
Hardwoods can be the most difficult floors to properly care for. This is because there is so much misinformation floating around about how it should be done. Products such as oil soaps and acrylic dressings are heavily marketed for use on hardwood floors despite the fact that they cause damage to most kinds of finish. In fact, I was surprised to learn that hardwood professionals recommend against full-blown wet mopping in most cases.
Ceramic floor tiles come in all shapes, sizes, and finishes. Some are grouted, some are not. Some are glazed, polished, textured, or left completely open to the elements. The wide variety of options for tile flooring should make it difficult to suggest a default cleaning method for all kinds of floor tile. However, it would seem that oxygen bleach powder comes highly recommended for cleaning and maintaining most tile surfaces. This solution offers the deep cleaning power of bleach without the toxicity or corrosive properties. Oxygen bleach can also be used as an effective, eco-friendly cleaning option for many other household fabrics and surfaces.
Linoleum and Vinyl
These are among the cheapest and easiest types of flooring to maintain. They are durable, versatile, and built to take a beating. Vinegar and water can be used to sanitize most surfaces in the home, including these. Tougher stains and spills may require the use of stronger detergents. Some of my research has suggested that specialized products should be used to clean these types of floors, but my experience tells me otherwise. As long as you are sure to thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after cleaning, it should not be necessary to give vinyl or linoleum floors the same royal treatment you give to your hardwoods.
I couldn’t help noticing that vinegar and water is the most widely suggested cleaning solution for every type of floor in my home. This is an attractive option because it is also the cheapest, simplest, and most eco-friendly. It is always fun to do a bunch of research on a topic only to find out that my grandmother was right all along. With a little research of your own, you can find out what is right for your floors, and what will keep them looking good as new.