Making sure your floors are clean can reduce allergens and dirt in your home, contributing to your overall health. However, less is more when cleaning floors. You do not need to be on your hands and knees with abrasive cleaners while you scrub corner-to-corner. In fact, exerting too much effort when cleaning floors might be doing more harm than good; provided you are cleaning your floors weekly or bi-weekly. Letting dirt settle is never a good idea and can result in a lot of headaches down the road. Here are a few of our tips for cleaning any type of floor.
What Floor Cleaning Equipment Do I Need?
To get the job done right, you will need a handful of supplies that you can pick up at almost any local or online retailer. Depending on your type of floor, the supplies you need may vary.
- Rubber gloves and slip-resistant shoes (normally worn in the food industry)
- Microfiber mop or Swiffer sweeper
- Mop and bucket (self-wringing or twist mop and bucket combo)
- A Sponge Mop
- Soft rags or microfiber towel
- Essential Oils (Choose any scent you desire)
- Non-Chlorine Bleach
- Mild, Biodegradable Cleaner
Save a little extra money by sharing the cost of mops and buckets with a neighbor that you know and trust. For safety, keep all of your other supplies locked away in a location that animals or children won’t be able to access.
Use The Right Method For Each Floor Type
With all of your floor cleaning tools at the ready, you can tackle each type of floor in your home. Different flooring requires a different approach. Doing things wrong can ruin the finish, warp the material, or result in mold growth. Along the way, use the biodegradable cleaner unless otherwise noted, and use the non-chlorine bleach only for sanitizing cleaning supplies – never use any kind of bleach on any of the below flooring.
1. Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is long-lasting and durable. There are no waxes or varnishes to maintain or reapply. To keep laminate looking good, simply make a pass with a Swiffer pad or broom to grab any hairs and loose dust, then follow that up with a mop and cleaning solution (1/4th cup and about 1 gallon of water per bucket). When dunking the mop in your cleaning solution, make sure to wring out as much water as possible. Using too much water will leave streaks, make cleanup more difficult, and could cause warping if moisture moves between the boards.
2. Polyurethane Finished Hardwood Flooring
Just like laminate flooring, you want to dust first, then mix in less than a 1/4th cup of cleaner with water into your bucket, wring out your mop then gently go over the floors. Occasionally rinse the mop to avoid spreading dirt.
3. Wax Finished Hardwood Flooring
Avoid moisture at all costs. Water and cleaning solutions can strip away any protective wax coat and stain wood. To clean this type of flooring, use a Swiffer sweeper, microfiber towel, or vacuum with the beater brush set to its highest position and gently dust the floor.
4. Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl flooring stands up well to most cleaning methods. Some people recommend using a steam cleaner to knock out bacteria, but all you really need is a wet mop and some patience. Using the same mixture of 1/4th cup of cleaning solution and water in a bucket, work your wet mop around in a small section, then wring out the mop in a separate bucket. With your dry mop, soak up the excess moisture then wring out and rinse the mop. Do this for the rest of the floor.
5. Linoleum Flooring
Linoleum flooring seems tough, but you do need to take some care because this material can be porous. If water or cleaner soak too far into the material the flooring can warp. Using less than 1/4 cup of cleaner and water in your bucket, wring out your mop then go over the floor in a small section. Follow that up rinsing the floor with clean water and a damp mop. Use towels to soak up excess moisture. Much like wood, linoleum should not be allowed to remain damp for long.
6. Stone Flooring
Unfinished stone is a porous material that contains many different minerals that can interact poorly with cleaners. For unfinished stone flooring, avoid using cleaners of any kind. Instead, use hot water and a mop to wipe away dirt. If the stone is sealed, use 1/4th cup of cleaner and water in your bucket and mop as you normally would. Be careful if you choose not to use our listed cleaner, as acidic cleaners will quickly damage both finished and unfinished stone flooring.
7. Ceramic Flooring
Ceramic tiles are glazed and stand up well to dirt and spills, but the grout is a different story. Using the same mixture of 1/4th cup of cleaner and water, use a slightly moist mop and clean the ceramic tiles. For grout, if stains aren’t allowed to settle, a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water in equal parts and a toothbrush works well to remove discoloration.
8. Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo is more environmentally friendly than traditional wood but is considerably more expensive. Using the same method as waxed hardwood flooring, wipe down the floor with a wet mop (no cleaner), then immediately soak up any excess moisture. Use extra care when sweeping with a Swiffer sweeper or microfiber towel as debris such as dirt or road salts can scratch the floors.
9. Rubber Flooring
Rubber flooring requires regular cleaning because dirt and debris can easily cause the surface to deform or loose its luster. But you don’t want to go overboard on cleaning will simply erode the surface. When mopping, use very little cleaner or stick with warm water. Use a liberal amount of water to get dirt out of the rubber surface but make sure to completely dry the area before moving on; especially in basements where mold growth can result in bigger problems.
Tips For Smarter Floor Cleaning
- Figure-8 Success – Work the mop in the shape of the number “8” to gather dirt and debris into the inner strands of the mop. Moving the mop in a straight line simply pushes the dirt around.
- Two Bucket Method – Use two buckets when mopping to prevent the spread of dirt. One bucket should have warm water with any cleaner, and a second bucket with clean water only. Rinse out your mop in the clean water before dunking it back into the cleaning solution. This is also a great technique when washing your car!
- Sponge Mops – Sponge mops work best when used in a straight line. Work in a criss-cross pattern to more effectively loosen dirt. Follow up with a dry mop and “Figure-8 Success” to soak up dirt.
- Trouble Spots – After cleaning the entire area, go back and use a soft rag to apply light pressure with your hands on areas that are still dirty.
- Children and Pets – Even after you clean kitchen floors, it is best to keep dogs and children out of the area to keep floors clean and also to avoid contaminating food or exposing skin to residual chemicals.
- Keep it Clean – When finished, rinse buckets and soak mop heads in a non-chlorine bleach solution, wash in the washing machine, or dispose and use a new head.
Wear and Tear Is Unavoidable
Any time you clean your floors you are stripping away microscopic layers of material that eventually will result in a tarnished finish. This is unavoidable, but can be minimized by taking care to regularly clean floors and by using the right method for each type.