Cleaning Floors: Selecting the right method
Cleaning floors may seem like common sense but it really takes some thought. Different floors require a specific cleaning method to prolong the useable life of the flooring material…not to mention avoiding costly replacements. Knowing what method and materials to use is the first step towards maintaining an attractive and functional floor covering.
No cookie cutter approach
While the goal of a clean floor is the same, there is no one method that is ideal for all floor coverings. The one thing they all have in common is they require regular cleaning. While a standard broom and mop approach may work fine for tile or linoleum, a wet mop on a hardwood floor can result in potentially destructive results. How frequent the floor should be cleaned will depend upon a number of factors.
● How heavy is the foot traffic across the floor?
● Are there children or pets in the house?
● Do people remove their shoes/boots upon entering the home?
Most manufacturers of flooring materials have recommended guidelines for frequency of cleaning and cleaning methods. Here are some general guidelines for common floor types:
Linoleum or Tile
Of all the flooring types, linoleum and tile may be the simplest and most straightforward to maintain. The traditional method of first sweeping and then mopping will work very well. Avoid using harsh chemical solutions, mild chemical abrasives (scouring powder), or mechanical abrasives (scouring pads, steel wool, etc.) as these may erode and destroy the protective coating the manufacturer applied to protect the tile or linoleum underneath. General purpose micro-fiber cleaning pads (both with and without cleaning solution) are ideal for cleaning both of these kinds of floor coverings.
Maintaining a clean carpet involves vacuuming and periodic carpet shampooing. Areas that receive high foot traffic will require more frequent vacuuming than those areas around the edges of a room that has minimal to no foot traffic. How frequently the carpeting should be shampooed will vary depending upon manufacturer’s recommendation, type of carpeting (shag pile versus indoor/outdoor pile), and the visual appearance of the carpeting. Just compare the high traffic areas to the low traffic areas and you will be able to tell if a shampoo is in order. In heavy foot traffic areas, runners or area rugs can help reduce wear and tear as well as stains.
Hardwood floors can add a certain beauty and elegance to a home that the other flooring materials just can’t. While many people consider them low maintenance, they still require routine cleaning to maintain their appearance. Water and dirt are the enemies of hardwood floors. Dirt can act as an abrasive that scores and scratches the coating (particularly urethane), and water can seep into the seams of the board. This can cause the wood to expand and then contract upon drying out. Ultimately, this will cause the boards to split and splinter.
As hardwood floors can be made from many types of wood, always closely follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and maintenance.
Cleaning floors is a simple enough task. By using the appropriate materials and methods the appearance of the flooring system can be preserved, avoiding the expense and hassle of prematurely replacing it.
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