Quick and Easy Floor Cleaning Tips
Not all flooring is created equal.
Cleaning carpet or vinyl flooring is very different than cleaning hardwood floors.
All flooring requires weekly maintenance, and if you take a few extra steps to protect your floors, you will make them look cleaner and last longer.
- Weekly: Dust mop hardwood floors or clean even more frequently, if possible.
- As Needed: Use a damp mop on the surface (be sure to wring out your mop twice to avoid water damage to your floor)
- Monthly or As Needed: Use a special wood floor cleaner diluted in water with a twice wrung mop
- Every 5-10 Years or As Necessary: Refinish the floors using a sander, sealer, and buffer. You’ll probably want to pay a professional unless you have experience
- Special Notes: Varnished or shellacked floors (1950’s and older) can be waxed with a buffer. Newer, urethane-finished floors might only need a bit of furniture oil to bring back shine.
Laminated Floors (Pergo/ Synthetic Floors)
- Weekly: Dust mop or Vacuum with a soft, bare floor attachment
- As Needed: Use a damp mop (should be wrung twice as excess water will also damage laminate flooring)
- Monthly or As Needed: Use a special laminate floor cleaner
- As Necessary Over the Years: Most laminate flooring companies sell a refurbishing polish product to bring back the original shine and appearance of an older floor
- Special Notes: Don’t use ammonia, vinyl or linoleum polishes and waxes, Lysol-type cleaners, or anything containing bleach or abrasives. You can also get a little tool that looks like a crayon to fill in scratches.
- Weekly: Sweep or vacuum your ceramic tile .
- As Needed: Use a damp mop that can get into the grout, changing water as soon as it appears dirty.
- Monthly or As Needed: Use a general household cleaner (Lysol, etc.) diluted in water, paying special attention to grout
- As Necessary over the Years: If your tile and grout are sealed (the tile will have a shiny appearance and the grout will be much easier to clean), the sealant will eventually wear down. Thoroughly clean the tile and grout and apply a silicone sealer to the grout or a mixed sealer to the entire floor
- Special Notes: If you break or damage a tile, it can be replaced. You can either tackle the project yourself by cutting away grout and re-grouting, or you can hire a professional. If your grout is not sealed, you should seal it to reduce disintegration, discoloring, and possible mold in the grout.
Vinyl and Linoleum Floors:
- Weekly: Dust Mop, Sweep, or Vacuum with a soft, bare floor attachment
- As Needed: Use a damp mop that you wring the water from twice
- Monthly or As Needed: Use a gentle household or cleaner specially designed for vinyl or linoleum floors. Dilute as much as possible (more than the label says) and wring out your mop twice before applying water to your floors
- As Necessary over the Years: Linoleum requires polishes or waxes that will wear down over time. They will need to be stripped and reapplied. Vinyl flooring should not be waxed, but should be stripped and resealed when the sealant wears down.
- Special Notes: Never install linoleum or vinyl flooring over existing linoleum or vinyl flooring. Eventually, patterns will wear through the top floor. If you experience a blister in your sheet flooring (a raised area) or the edges start coming up, they can easily be repaired, even by a beginner do-it-yourselfer.
Carpeting and Rugs:
- Weekly: Vacuum thoroughly
- Every 6-18 months: Hire a professional steam cleaner to professionally vacuum and clean your carpets
- Special Notes: Stay away from carpet shampoos, carpet cleaning products, and carpet spot removers
General Floor Cleaning Tips
- Stains that are caught right away can usually be taken care of with absorbent cloths and water
- Wear shoes as little as possible with any type of flooring. Slippers will make your floors last longer
- Consider a carpet runner over high traffic areas, even over wall-to-wall carpet. If you a rug over carpet, be sure to purchase special pads that go between the carpets to prevent buckling and falls
- Never drag furniture over flooring to move it. If it can’t be completely picked up, SOFT sliders should be placed underneath hard floors and plastic sliders over carpet
- Protect your flooring when you’re doing crafts, painting, or using harsh chemicals
- When vacuuming, use attachments without beater bars for bare floors. Use properly adjusted beater bars for carpets
- Always keep an effective (not just pretty - it should be able to scrape and absorb dirt) door mat at the outside AND inside of every door
- During rainy or snowy weather, keep inexpensive, washable runners on floors just inside entrance doors