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A clean environment is the one thing that gets all other work done. Neat freaks like us just cannot concentrate on anything until every speck in the room is scrubbed to obliteration. A tough task, but a good deep clean is worth all the hard work in the end. This is why nothing soothes my heart more than sparkling clean floors.
With the amount of variety present in the flooring department, a general all-purpose cleaner is not going to cut it. Each material has its own merits, in terms of its durability and aesthetic. To make sure your flooring remains impeccable, we have compiled a guide to clean different types of floors. Get your cleaning suits on, gloves ready, a bucket on standby, and destroy that grime once and for all.
How to Clean any Type of Floor
1. Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors
Ceramics are made from natural derivatives which are fired in a kiln at high temperatures, a process that creates durability and resiliency like none other. Even if ceramics have an added glazed barrier to protect them, a good scrub now and then can extend their life way beyond the original.
A golden rule to maintaining ceramic floors is to make sure that dirt and spills do not have the chance to make it their home. Allowing these stains to dry up will make them harder to remove in the longer run.
For general cleaning, mix up a solution of vinegar and water. This solution does the job while also eliminating odors. This is a great alternative to store-bought solutions. And is a boon for those with children or pets around.
For a deep clean, mix up hydrogen peroxide with water as the choice of weapon. Pick up the toothbrush and get in between the lines. This will remove any stubborn dirt accumulated in grout lines. If this sounds like too much work, you can always seal the grout, a process that should be done twice annually.
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2. Cleaning Laminate Floors
Laminate floors are usually made from wood or wood derivatives, which means that you should avoid cleaning them with water. You should also avoid regular as well as oil-based soaps. A steam cleaner or a wet mop will also degrade the quality of your floors making them susceptible to pest attacks.
Regular vacuuming and sweeping with a soft attachment usually do the trick for routine cleaning. However, avoid hard floor beaters as they can create permanent scratches on the floor.
For stains that just don’t seem to disappear, like oils or paints, you can use a bit of nail polish remover. Since acetone evaporates quickly, no cleanup methods are required after.
An additional tip, if a piece of chewing gum gets stuck on the floor, rub an ice cube on the offender to remove it.
3. Cleaning Hardwood Floors
Wood is making it big in the furniture industry lately, and with good reason. Wooden floors are homely and appeal to our cozy farmhouse senses. However, they have their own set of requirements that need to adhere to.
For wooden floors that are covered with a heavy-duty, hard-wearing sealant, a simple over-the-counter cleaner will do. These floors are both stain and water-resistant, which makes them infinitely easier to maintain over a long time. Precaution is always recommended, and therefore wring out your mop so that it is not sopping wet when it comes in contact with the floor.
Unfinished flooring is not covered with any additional layer, and a dead giveaway is that they are matte rather than the gloss that comes with a sealant. Treating these floors with water is not advisable, as moisture can weaken the fiber logs present, causing water spots or mold and mildew to appear.
Rather, invest in floor wax to lift away the dirt and hide the scratches. A bit of wax ribbed in gently with a soft steel ball does the trick. Avoid using a lot of wax, as it can discolor the wood.
4. Cleaning Vinyl Floors
Vinyl is a great option for those who want a durable and cheap alternative to those present in the flooring department. A great way to not worry about dust reaching your floor is to use doormats. Doormats are much easier to clean and can be easily replaced at a much lower cost than installing new flooring every time the old one gives out.
To clean the dirt that has still managed to sneak in its way to the work, the shampoo works as an effective vinyl cleaner. Squirt a bit of shampoo with a gallon of warm water, and then go about the usual fanfare. Mop, rinse clean, and dry.
For older vinyl that does not have a wax covering, look out for detergents that are made specifically made for no-wax floors. Always remember to rinse it with cool water afterward, no matter what the instructions say. If you leave soap on for too long, the oil present in the soap hardens to create a more formidable enemy, soap scum.
Water is not always the best friend for your vinyl. If not dried properly, it can seep between the cracks, edges, and corners into the bonds that hold your floor together. Once there, it can loosen the glue bonds, making your tiles curl up and come away from the floor itself.
Related: How to Clean Vinyl Flooring?
5. Clean Linoleum Floors
This floor made its entry into the markets in the late 80s but has been a fan favorite since then. With good reason too, linoleum is hypoallergenic, environment-friendly, and durable. Present in a variety of colors, textures, and shapes, it makes for one versatile flooring that can be used in every part of the house. With proper care and maintenance, linoleum can last way beyond its years, lasting for decades on end.
For general everyday cleaning, use a dry microfibre cloth to remove dust that accumulates with constant footfalls. Once a week, use a vacuum cleaner or soft-bristled mop to pick the hard-to-spot stains that escape the general sweep.
Once or twice a year, a deeper clean may be required to exterminate the dirt that has found its way deep inside. This procedure will restore the natural shine in your house. First, sprinkle baking soda liberally on the floor and let it sit for a while. Till the baking soda works its magic, make a solution with one-gallon warm water, one cup of vinegar, and a few drops of dish soap.
Mop the floor with this mixture, making sure to cover every nook and cranny and spot out the grime hiding away. Give special care and attention to areas with high traffic, as they are more susceptible to yellowing over time. Once the entire floor has been cleared, mop once more with plain water to remove any residue left behind. Lastly, use old towels to dry the floors so that they don’t become a spill disaster zone overnight.
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6. Cleaning Bamboo Floors
Bamboo flooring is known to need very little care in terms of cleaning and maintenance. They are a few precautions you must heed before going on a cleaning spree. Vacuum cleaners are a big no-no as they can destroy the integrity of the floor. A wood cleaner with a soft cloth is the way to go. Stroke in the direction of the grain, to avoid any directional streaks.
A soft-bristled brush can also be used every once in a while to remove the debris stuck between the tiles. For a more thorough clean, add a cup of vinegar to your water bucket and substitute it for your soap.
7. Cleaning Cork Floors
A reliable flooring for all seasons, cork is environment-friendly and a wine lover’s dream. Warm in winter and cool in summers, this flooring is your ally for combating seasonal ailments that most materials suffer from. That being said, cork floors have a whole different regimen on cleaning and scrubbing than others.
When it comes to cork floors, a soft-bristled brush is always preferable over the other hardened ones. The cleaning solution should be a mixture of water and a chemically neutral cleaner. Too acidic or basic can deteriorate the material, and weaken it over continuous use.
Follow the principle of ‘less is more’, and do not saturate your boards with water. This will cause the joints to swell and an unpleasant musty scent to settle in.
Humidity is another factor to be considered while installing cork floors. Extreme moisture in the air can make the floor susceptible to mold and mildew, which if allowed to take root brings along several diseases with it. A natural alternative to make sure that the fungus stays at bay, vinegar will help you to fight off the scummy greens.
Mix some vinegar (about one-fourth of a cup) into a gallon of water and mop down the floors with it every week. Twice every year, pull out the big guns and use Murphy’s oil soap.
Stay away from the off-the-counter brands, as they can slowly eat away at your flooring. Cork is a porous material and quickly soaks up all the chemicals present in the cleaner, eating it inside out.
8. Cleaning Natural Stone Floors
Natural stone, granite, and marble are the theme pieces of any house. Though strong and hard, they are quite often victims of permanent stains, scratches, and blemishes. Although each stone is unique and comes with a personal list of instructions on how to care for them attached.
Some instructions apply all of them, and a list of things you are not supposed to do. This includes using lemons, vinegar, or other acidic cleaners on them, as they will permanently mar the surface. Another thing to keep in mind is to avoid using abrasive cleaners, for they can scratch the surface if used vigorously.
A neutral PH cleaner paired with a microfiber cloth also does wonder to restore the shine of these floors.
For daily routine cleaning, vacuum the floor with a rotating brush or simply sweep the floors with a broom. For a special treat to your floors, consider adding an extra layer of protection on top of the stones. By using matte or glossy sealants, you can prolong the life of the stone and make it infinitely easier to clean up any spills that occur.
9. Cleaning Porcelain Tile Floors
A porcelain tile will retain its shine and glory for years if maintained with proper care. A popular choice amongst families, porcelain is resistant to a majority of vices that come with other floor options. It is water-resistant, stain-resistant, and sturdy. It can, however, lose its shine over the years, but that can be rectified easily by following a proper cleaning method.
Twice a week, use store-bought cleaners mixed with water and scrub away the dirt with a soft-bristled brush. Soak only two to three tiles at once for 15-20 mins, as leaving the solution on for longer periods can discolor porcelain. End with a hot water rinse that dissolves the remaining soap scum that might have missed your eye.
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to cleaning porcelain is to avoid using bleach-based cleaners. If your tiles are unglazed, you will be better off without dye-based cleaners as well. Steel wool is again a major problem, as pieces of steel can get stuck in the grout, imparting rust stains to the plaster.
From natural alternatives to things you can grab in a store, there is no end to cleaning techniques that can help retain the like-new shine of your floors. With this list, you emerge smarter on the how-tos of most flooring options available. You can even invest in long-term options to cut down on your daily chores.
Let us now finally bid adieu to that stain that just won’t leave.