Last week we here at Think Crucial talked about how to care for your wood floors to make sure that they remain as gorgeous as the day you first got them. However, we also realize that not everyone has wood floors; there are plenty of other types of hard surface flooring as well. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered this week. Today, we’re going to discuss how to handle all those other types of floors, from concrete to linoleum and everything in between.
Vinyl Tile and Laminate
Vinyl laminate flooring is one of the most common types of hard surface flooring. It comes in almost any finish you can think of, it’s durable in even the most high traffic situations, and it’s relatively inexpensive compared to other types of flooring. Thankfully, cleaning it is even easier.
As with all hard surface floors, if you use your vacuum to sweep, make sure to disable the beater bar. Even with how durable laminate is, a beater bar will scuff and damage the floor easily. Once you’ve swept the floor, one of the best cleaners for laminate is vinegar. Mix one cup of vinegar with a gallon of hot water to cut dirt and grime and disinfect at the same time. If you need extra cleaning power, add a couple of drops of dishwashing soap to the mixture.
If you have some stubborn stains, WD-40 sprayed on the scuff marks will make them disappear. Just be sure to clean the area thoroughly with your cleaner to remove all parts of the lubrication. If you have organic food stains, a rough paste of baking soda and water will remove those easily. Just rub the paste gently into the area until the stain is gone. Clean the area thoroughly afterward.
Remember that when cleaning vinyl tiles, there are some specific don’ts. Don’t use mop-and-shine stuff that will leave a wax layer. This will dull your floor. While vinegar is okay, never use ammonia based cleaners. Ammonia will chemically react with the floor and cause it to crack and peel. And to preserve your floor’s shine, never use steel wool or other harsh scrubbers.
Linoleum may seem a lot like vinyl laminate, but it’s actually much more similar to wood flooring. That’s because linoleum is very susceptible to excessive moisture and alkaline cleaners. Cleaning this type of floor does take a little more work, however.
After you use your vacuum’s hard floor attachment to sweep the area, use a cleaner that’s designed specifically for linoleum. Alternately, you can use the vinegar and water cleaner with a few drops of dish soap. Use a nearly dry mop to clean the surface and work in small sections, taking care not to leave any standing water.
Here’s where linoleum gets a little tricky. You want to rinse mop the floor with clean hot water in order to remove any residue that’s left from the soap. Once you’ve rinsed the floor, use old towels or absorbent cloths to dry the floor, making sure not to leave any water that will damage the linoleum.
Stone flooring has gained popularity in the past few years because of its durability and ease of cleaning. These include natural stone, granite, and even marble flooring. However, while extremely durable, stone is also very porous, so improperly cleaning these floors can do more harm than good.
When your stone is installed, your contractor will have recommended a set of cleaning products. If you’re looking for something different, you want to keep some things in mind. First, you want a pH neutral cleaner. Anything too acidic or basic can mar your floor’s finish, dulling marble or causing damage to the stone. Secondly, you want a soft cleaning towel. Microfiber cloths or a microfiber mop is your best bet. They are extremely absorbent and great for cleaning large areas. Lastly, never use a scraper or harsh scrubber on your floor. A nylon bristle scrubber used gently should remove almost any caked on grime or dirt.
When you properly clean your floors, you don’t want to use a lot of water. Just wring the mop or towels thoroughly before cleaning. After you are done, let the floor air dry.
The good news about cleaning the concrete floor on your patio or in your garage or basement is that it’s so hard and durable, just about anything goes. The bad news is that concrete is porous, so getting up stains often takes some work. Start off with sweeping or vacuuming your floor to remove the larger bits of debris. After that, use a common detergent to wet mop or scrub the floor. Use a nylon bristle to scrub any stains. Don’t use a steel brush or wool, as that can scratch or erode the concrete.
If you find stains that just won’t go away, you can gradually up the cleaning detergents that you are using. For a driveway or a garage that has seen lots of oil spills or other leaks, you may end up needing to use much stronger cleaners. If you do resort to something like tri-sodium phosphate or similar, make sure you pay attention to safety warnings and keep your cleaning space adequately ventilated.
Once you’ve gotten your concrete clean, the best thing is to apply a sealant. This will ensure that any future stains won’t work their way into the pores and crevices in your concrete and make it much easier to clean in the future.
There are quite a few different styles of hard surface floors, and all of them require little tweaks in how they are cleaned. But with proper techniques, you can be sure that your floors will stay clean and last a lifetime.