Beyond the Broom and Mop: How to Clean Any Type of Floor

Dust and Dirt Begone

With so many different cleaning products on the market, you may be confused about the best way to care for your hard floors. Different floor cleaning products are needed for cleaning different kinds of floors, such as wood, laminate, vinyl and tile. For most floors, you will only need a good broom and mop as your basic floor cleaning equipment. You can also buy automated mops or floor cleaning machines. Use the following floor cleaning tips for the flooring in your home.

Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Place small rugs or mats in high-traffic areas like entryways and hallways to collect dust, dirt and grit, which can scratch hardwood floors. Avoid mats with rubber backing, and choose breathable fabrics that will allow free air flow. Make sure you sweep your floor regularly to remove built-up dust and dirt. When cleaning a hardwood floor, be sure to use a product specifically designed for it. If your wood floor has a urethane finish, choose a cleaning product that is compatible with the finish and won't leave a residue. Never use a sopping wet mop on a wood floor – it will contract and expand when exposed to changes in the moisture level.

Cleaning Laminate Floors

For cleaning laminate floor, you can use general floor care products – be sure to read the instructions on the bottle. You can also create your own vinegar cleaning solution by adding a quarter cup of white vinegar to four cups of water. Spray the floor and use a damp terry mop or Swiffer mop. As with hardwood flooring, avoid creating puddles of standing water and make sure to wipe away the cleaning solution immediately to prevent water from seeping in to the base floor underneath, which could cause permanent damage.

Cleaning Vinyl Floors

Vinyl floors are simple to care for, and can be wet- or damp-mopped with plain water or a diluted ammonia-based formula. You can use your own vinegar preparation or a commercially based cleaner as well. Ivory dish soap is excellent for cleaning vinyl floor; it won't leave a sticky residue behind.

Cleaning Tile Floors

Methods used for cleaning tile floor will vary based on the tile material. For cleaning ceramic tile floor, use a damp mop with clean water or rubbing alcohol (diluted in a ratio of half a cup per gallon of water). Dilute general household cleaners like Lysol, and use full-strength products only for spot cleaning of stubborn stains. Care should be taken when cleaning marble floor, since marble is a soft and porous stone. Acids easily damage it, and it is prone to water stains. The best method for cleaning marble floor is to use a soft mop with a specially formulated pH-neutral marble cleaning solution.

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