Cleaning Your Hardwood, Linoleum and Tile Floors

If you have at least one tile, linoleum or hardwood floor in your home, you, of course, want to take care of it and keep it looking great.  This will make it last longer as well because dirt and grime are abrasive and can wear the finish off. 

Note: If the manufacturer of your tile, linoleum or hardwood floor has issued specific care instructions, then you should follow those.

Hardwood Floors 

demand special care in order to keep them looking shiny and attractive. Since wood is a porous material, the rule of thumb is: the less water, the better. That means, hardwood floors should be mopped with a well-wrung out mop or soft rag.

First, clear the room of all small furniture and other items. Then, use a soft bristled broom to remove the larger dirt and debris; be sure to get inside corners, under counters, around toilet bowls, et cetera. (Even though many vacuum cleaners have a “bare” floor setting, never use this machine on hardwood floors as it can dent, scratch and gouge them.)

The next step, before you can mop a floor so clean you can eat off it, run a dust mop over your hardwood floor. This will remove any dust or lingering dirt.

If the floor is very big- larger than an average eight by ten foot room- or, if the floor is heavily soiled, you will need more than a single bucket of wash water. To start with, fill up a bucket with cool, never hot, tap water and mix in a mild cleaner that’s suitable for most hardwood floors like Murphy’s Oil Soap. Why not hot water? It can dissolve wax and It can also cause your floors to streak.

Note: The best type of mop to use is a cotton string one. They can be heavy and hard to manage, though. Libman makes a lightweight Wonder Mop that has absorbent strips instead of strings. This mop is easy to dunk, wring out and push across any floor.

Dunk the mop into the bucket and wring it out well. Then, start in a corner of the room right up to the baseboard. To mop a floor so clean you can eat off it, you need to clean the corners and move along the baseboard by using a straight back and forth motion. Then, move away from the baseboard and mop an area approximately three by three feet square. Move your mop back and forth making sure to overlap each stroke as you go. As the mop head becomes soiled, flip it over from time to time.

To remove dried spills and messes, you’ll have to work at them with the mop since you shouldn’t use scouring pads on hardwood. Simply push down on the mop as you push it across the soil. You can use an old soft rag in the same way too.

Work your way across the room dunking, rinsing and wringing your mop as you go. Make sure you end up backing out of the room through an interior doorway so you don’t get trapped inside. Allow the floor to air dry, and you’re done cleaning your hardwood floor.

Tile and Linoleum Floors 
To mop a tile or linoleum floor so clean you can eat off it, the process is pretty much the same as a hardwood floor, with a few exceptions. First, you can use a scouring pad to remove dried spills and messes. Second, you should use a floor cleaner such as Spic-n-Span or Lysol brand. Top Job is a heavy duty cleaner that can tackle the dirtiest of floors. However, since it contains ammonia, it can take off the wax, so keep that in mind. And, of course, don’t forget, you can also add a half cup of good ol’ fashioned vinegar to a full bucket of cool tap water too!

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