The weather’s warming up, the plants are starting to wake up, and you’ve taken a look at your home and realized that it’s time to make your floors sparkle! Along with clearing out closets and brushing away the cobwebs in the corners of your rooms, cleaning your floors should be part of your spring cleaning regime. Floors, even with regular cleaning, can show a buildup of grime and discolouration over the course of a season. Here’s how to restore your floors by paying attention to the type of flooring and the method that will work best to clean safely and effectively.
Cleaning Hardwood Flooring
When cleaning hardwood floors, harsh chemicals or floor cleaners can strip the finish and discolour the wood. The best way to clean hardwood is with a diluted solution of vinegar in water. The vinegar’s acid eats through dirt and grime and leaves hardwood finishes intact. If your floors don’t need a deep clean, simply, warm water will collect dust and take away mild stains away without much effort at all. Use vinegar only once in awhile – because it is an acid, it can dull your floors over time with too much use.
Be careful how much water you’re putting on your wood floors – water can soak into the boards and swell them. This can ruin your floor. Try the damp-mop method, which is to clean your floors with a barely wet mop. This will protect without leaving your floors vulnerable to too much water.
Cleaning Ceramic Flooring
Ceramic floors are durable and attractive, but like hardwood, harsh floor cleaners can dull or ruin their finishes. Suggested for ceramic is warm water and a sponge mop. Because ceramic floors often have grout, soap-based cleaners can collect in the grout lines and eventually cause build up.
If your floors are really dirty, use a low pH-based cleaner to remove stains and dirt without harming the floors. Always use the gentlest methods first with ceramic tile, and work your way up. Damp-mop your floors and remember that too much water can soak into ceramic and leave tiles wet for long periods of time. Damp-mopping will dry floors more quickly.
Cleaning Laminate and Linoleum Flooring
Laminate floors are fairly easy to take care of, but harsh chemicals can discolour and cause damage. Wash laminate flooring and linoleum flooring with a mild dish detergent or all-purpose cleaner. Minor spills and dust can be washed away with simple warm water.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean your floors. For greener methods, skip the store-bought cleaners and use vinegar or eco-friendly dish detergent where applicable. It’s not usually necessary to buy expensive or specialize products to clean your floors. Keeping your floors clean and sparkling can be done easily and at little cost.
By Elizabeth Hawksworth