Despite the organize-and-declutter craze, cleaning seems to remain a tiresome chore for most of us. The floor is usually at the top of the long cleaning to-do list, which means you are likely to come to it with your resources limited to the point where you need to either finish it quickly or leave it as it is. This article is intended to help you get a sparkling clean floor in no time without too much sweating.
The right equipment is a key to success when it comes to pretty much any cleaning. From regular mops and a cutting-edge hardwood floor cleaning machine to even steam cleaners, every utensil and device has its own purpose and perfect setting. Since flooring materials differ, let’s take a closer look at each common option to understand what kind of treatment it needs.
The easiest way to clean a hardwood floor depends on whether it’s waxed. (You can check it by simply rubbing a finger across the surface; if it leaves a smudge, there is some wax polish on the floor).
Microfiber mops dampened sparingly in soapy water work best for pre-vacuumed sealed hardwood floors.
If you are willing to invest for an extra gain in speed, consider getting a cleaning machine designed specifically for hard surfaces. These clever devices combine a scrubbing surface, often rotating, with a cleaning formula that is fed in an automatic manner for perfect concentration control and can save you a lot of time and effort.
With waxed surfaces, you need to avoid water because it might damage the polish. Instead, limit your cleaning measures to regular sweeping, dusting, and/or vacuuming. Occasionally, however, you might want to re-apply the polish as wax naturally gathers dirt and grit. If the day has come, moisten a cloth in white spirit and let it soak in. Then use newspaper or a floor polisher with abrasive pads to remove the remnants of the old polish. Let the floor dry completely and apply fresh wax.
While built differently under the hood, laminate resembles unwaxed hardwood floors in many ways. Water is its biggest enemy as it causes planks to swell, so start by dry mopping the floor or use your vacuum cleaner. If you choose the latter option, remember to raise the beater bar by switching to tile mode. Otherwise, the laminate might get scratched.
If stains remain, dampen a mop in just a bit of water and spot-clean the problem areas.
Carpets can be a pain to clean. One possible way to make it more enjoyable is by getting a carpet cleaning machine, which is also quite a bit of an investment. Alternatively, you can rely on the time-tested vacuum cleaner.
Before you start vacuuming your carpets, however, it’s best to treat any visible stains. Use a carpet-friendly stain remover if you missed the chance to remove a spill when it was fresh, always following the instructions to avoid damage.
When it comes to vacuuming, a crevice tool is essential. This applies to all flooring types, but carpets especially, because any dust sitting in tight corners tends to get dispersed all around the place if you come into contact with it accidentally, dulling the beautiful floor. Use a powered vacuum brush, if any, to clean thick carpets or for hair removal. Some models have dedicated detangling pet hair brushes, too. These can be a godsend if you happily own a ball of fur.
Cork floors are similar to unwaxed hardwood in that they can get damaged if you use too much water. A damp mop with some washing liquid solution on it is the perfect tool for wiping your cork floor. It’s also common practice to spike a cleaning solution with vinegar. Its acidity helps destroy thicker build-ups of dirt while also disinfecting the floor. Microfiber is the recommended mop material because it’s hygienic, lightweight, and easy to wreathe.
In high-traffic areas, however, it’s best to use an extra layer of sealant, such as acrylic or polyurethane-based, preventively.
Just like with hardwood and cork, linoleum cleaning step one should be to remove debris by sweeping or vacuuming. Use the traditional damp microfiber mop soaked in a detergent solution for regular cleaning and a fine nylon pad for extra stubborn stains. If the floor still feels sticky, give it an extra rub with a dry microfiber cloth.
Although it looks very much like linoleum, vinyl is generally a tougher material. The routine cleaning procedure we’ve described for linoleum does apply to vinyl flooring, though. However, its super resilience also means it can withstand less frequent deep cleaning sessions with a steam cleaner. This technique removes stubborn strains, also killing unwelcome bacteria.
Ceramic tiles only need basic maintenance with a cloth wetted in a mild detergent solution. If there’s a lot of exposed grout in your tiles, be careful not to over-wet it, though, or it might get runny.
Since tiles normally occur in high-traffic areas where hygiene is crucial, such as bathrooms and kitchen, consider getting a steam cleaner for periodic deep cleaning. It will be a good idea to apply steam to the grout seams, too, as they tend to attract bacteria.
Stone is packed with minerals that might react with anything other than a mild, pH-neutral detergent. After vacuuming or sweeping the floor, use a damp microfiber mop soaked in hot water with a bit of washing liquid added. If a stain seems stuck, use a stone stain remover or a steam cleaner.
The best way to save time cleaning the floor is by using the techniques and materials that fit your flooring type best. By doing so, you will also avoid accidental damage.
While a vacuum cleaner, a microfiber mop, a cloth, and a bucket plus some neutral detergent make a good starter kit, smart solutions such as floor cleaning machines and steam cleaners can make the job a lot less of a chore.