Here are some of our best tips and tricks to help make the floor cleaning process easy for you, enabling you to not only clean your floor properly, regardless of the material you are cleaning, but also protect you floor and make sure it stays in great condition for as long as possible. Some types of flooring, if properly maintained and cared for, really will last a lifetime
Cleaning your floor needn’t be a difficult job, in fact it can even be fun if you put on some music while you do it. You can even burn a ton of calories doing it too, so your floor can look beautiful while you get your 30 minutes of cardio in for the day – win win!
The only downside is in knowing how to clean the particular floor type you have. Carpets are easy because all carpets just need a regular vacuuming to stay looking good, but floor tiles, wooden floor and concrete floors can be really tricky because they are made from materials that may need special care and attention. So here we look at different types of popular floor materials and how to keep them clean and well-maintained.
Granite is a beautiful, natural material for floors and other areas of your home but it is both tough and hard-wearing but also in some ways fragile. So when cleaning your granite floor, ensure you use the right tools and the right cleaner. Granite floor tiles can be susceptible to scratches and dents if they are not looked after properly. After sweeping your granite floor tiles, apply a specialist granite cleaner and take care to remove all the cleaning residue properly. Only ever use soft cloths on granite floor tiles – never use a rough cloth or brush. Consider applying a sealant regularly to help keep the floor protected and watch out for spills of any kind and wipe them up as soon as you notice them; that way you will avoid any damage to your beautiful floor.
Porcelain tiling looks fantastic installed in all areas of the home – kitchens, bathrooms, hallways and even outside for a seamless inside-outside look. Homeowners choose porcelain tiles because they are cost effective, attractive, come in a range of colours, textures and finished, and create a clean, contemporary look in the home. There are so many realistic effects and styles available that the design possibilities are endless. From large format gloss finish tiles to colourful mosaics, natural stone effect tiles and even designer tiles such as the fabulous ranges from Versace Home and Philippe Starck.
However, regardless of the style or colour of porcelain tiles you choose, they do still require regular cleaning and maintenance in order to keep them looking as beautiful as they did when first installed. This isn’t necessarily a laborious or lengthy process (in fact, that’s one of the many advantages of porcelain tiles that they are easy to maintain), but they do still need some maintenance depending on the type of tile and where they are installed.
Most manufacturers will recommend that tiles are cleaned at least once a week, ideally twice a week, with a daily sweep or vacuum guaranteeing a high level of protection for the floor. Cleaning the tiles regularly ensures dirt doesn’t build up and any liquid or food that his spilled doesn’t have a chance to stain the surface. It is recommended that any spillages are dealt with as they happen so they don’t become more difficult to remove. When porcelain tiles become neglected, a more thorough maintenance and cleaning plan may be required.
As a priority, you should sweep the entire area thoroughly, paying particular attention to gaps or edges where dirt is more likely to accumulate. If it is easier, you can vacuum the surface, just be careful to check the vacuum doesn’t scratch the tiles. Once the area has been thoroughly swept, you can then mop the whole surface using a solution specifically designed for porcelain tiles, which you can pick up at most tile suppliers, hardware stores and large supermarkets. Read the label carefully and consider testing a small section of the floor if you are unsure. You may also want to scrub the formula into the grout and gaps for an extra thorough clean – if you are really fastidious then an old toothbrush is perfect for the job. Once you have scrubbed, rinse away the dirt with a damp cloth or clean water and a mop. For tricky areas with stains, repeat the cleaning process as necessary.
It may be that you have polished porcelain tiles that might require a slightly different approach. If you have your tiles installed professionally, ask the professional who installed them for maintenance and cleaning directions. If you installed them yourself, ask the tile manufacturer for advice. This way, you will know you are following the right steps and using the right products.
However you plan to clean your porcelain tiles, it is important to ensure the room you are cleaning is well ventilated to ensure you don’t end up breathing in any chemical fumes from the cleaning solution. It is also important that the surface is thoroughly dry and rinsed before use to ensure pets and children don’t get any cleaning residue on their skin and also from the point of view of physical safety as wet floors are also a slipping hazard.
Wood can be really easily damaged if it is not maintained properly. Whether you have an original wooden floor or a newly installed solid wood or engineered wood floor, it is essential you maintain the floor to try and protect it from damage. As a general rule of the house, high heels and wooden floors do not gel well but even flat shoes can carry small pieces of grit into the house from the street and these will scuff, mark and dent the floor if you let people walk around in their shoes. So all shoes off in the hallway is the best habit to get into if you want to protect your floor.
Before you clean your wooden floor, consider if it is sealed or unsealed. If you are unsure (for instance, if you have just moved into the house), take the advice of an expert who will be able to advise you on the right care. Unsealed will mean a layer of wax has been applied, sealed will mean a hard-wearing varnish has been applied. There are also some less common types such as hard-wax oiled or just oiled finishes. If the wooden floor is sealed you can, as a general rule, mop it with more moisture than if the surface is just waxed.
Mix hardwood floor cleaner in a bucket with warm water and ensure the mop is wrung out thoroughly. Even if the floor is sealed you don’t want to have to deal with tons of excess water. Mop the floor thoroughly and then dry it with a dry mop or a clean cloth or towel. Between cleans, sweep the floor to remove debris. When dealing with an unsealed floor, simply take care to use as little water as possible.
Terracotta Floor Tiles
Terracotta is a popular floor surface choice for rooms that get a lot of use such as hallways. The only issue with terracotta is it attracts a lot of debris. Sweeping it regularly is a great idea and will help you have a much more manageable job when it comes to cleaning it in full. To give your terracotta floor a deep clean: sweep it, mop it using a terracotta cleaner giving it a good scrub with the mop to get out any inbuilt dirt. You may also want to scrub the floor where there are any particularly tough stains. Make sure the floor is rinsed properly and allow it to air dry completely before walking on it.
Laminate is supremely easy to take care of, which is why it is such a popular choice amongst homeowners. The only thing that will stop your laminate looking good when you clean it, is if it has been installed badly. If the laminate has been installed badly, it will be susceptible to water absorption which is bad news for the laminate and the sub-floor underneath. If you want to invest in laminate, make sure you get a professional to lay it so it looks great and isn’t susceptible to damage.
To clean your laminate, sweep regularly and use a well wrung out mop with a general floor cleaner and warm water to remove the dirt and residues stuck to the surface. Dry the floor completely with a dry mop to make sure that no water can build up in any corners – water build up may cause the floor to warp or swell or the laminated top surface to peel off the underlying layers.
Concrete floors are still a popular choice for homeowners, often serving as the choice of floor surface for garages and outhouses. It may be that you have chosen to keep a concrete floor surface, or you have one in between retiling a floor. Either way, you must keep the floor clean because it is notorious for harbouring dust, debris and dirt because it is so porous. Moist debris inparticular can turn mouldy and let off undesirable spores into the air. Nonetheless, concrete floors are very cheap, resilient and durable so it is no surprise a lot of people choose to keep them in their home.
Although you can sweep the floor, we recommend using a vacuum to ensure any debris is actually removed from the surface and not moved around. The reason this is important with concrete floors, is because it is so porous so debris can easily slip inside tiny gaps in the floor. Once you have hoovered the floor, fill a tub with some warm water and some specific cleaner for concrete surfaces. Be careful to use concrete cleaners only, because other cleaners may stain the floor, or absorb into it making it unsafe. Once you have prepared your cleaning product, mop the floor gradually changing the water for clean water to rinse. Make sure any excess water is taken up. Use a dry mop to suck up any remaining water, then allow the surface to air dry.
If your concrete floor is treated, you may also want to consider buffing it and retreating it at regular intervals. You can hire specialists to do this, or you can complete it yourself, just seek advice on what to use and how to complete the job properly.
Whichever floor you choose to invest in, take care to: