Perfectly Polished: Floor Care and Maintenance

When you awake in the morning and swing your feet over the edge of your bed, what is the first thing you feel?  Wood, ceramic tile or natural stone?  

Hopefully you aren’t feeling dirt, grime, or caked on spills.  Dirty floors can cause the beauty of your home’s floor designs to instantly diminish–not to mention that prolonged dirt and grime can actually damage the floor.

Your home’s floors not only say a lot about how your home is cared for, but it can also increase your home value by 6% or more.

Floor care for your home is imperative to protecting your investment for years to come… Not to mention the glorious and intimate feeling of walking around barefoot.

Today, Design Management Group is going to give you the simple down and dirty secrets of basic floor cleaning and upkeep.

Pre Cleaning Any Floor:

Start first by sweeping, dry dust-mopping, or vacuuming your floor.  We highly advise vacuuming, as it is probably the most thorough option.  However, always make sure that your vacuum does not have any worn or exposed brittle parts (such as the beat bar), as some types of floor are very easily scratched.

Make sure to first test your cleaning method on your floor in a corner or closet.   The best laid plans can be derailed without doing a little bit of research.  Certain cleaners will damage certain floors.  Though this blog entry is meant to help you avoid this, we cannot stress enough the importance of acting preemptively to protect your beautiful floors from an accident.

Wood Floors:

It’s a little known fact that most homeowners already have the tools to clean their hardwood floors in their kitchen pantry.  By creating a quick solution of ½ cup vinegar to every 1 gallon of  warm clean water, you’re ready to go.  Vinegar is a powerful yet gentle antibacterial, stain remover, and odor lifter.

Now, just get your microfiber mop a little more than damp, and gently scrub your floors.  If you see any puddles at all, quickly sop up the excess liquid with a towel.  Excess water can quickly be absorbed by the wood, and that can lead to several types of undesirable damage and warping over time.

You can use a spray bottle of this solution for emergency or small clean-ups too.  This will keep your hardwood floor shiny, spotless, and in the best of shape.

For wood floors, you can pre-treat areas with a soft nylon brush and a simple paste of baking soda and warm water; gently scrub in a circular motion to lift the grime or caked on dirt.

Natural Stone (Granites, Limestones, Marbles, Sandstones, and Slates) Floors: 

Stone is usually a porous material, and therefore must be cleaned very carefully.  Always test your cleaning method in a corner or closet, before using a solution on your stone.  Try to veer away from hard scrubbing of your stone floors, as they may easily crumble or scratch.  NEVER use acidic or high alkaline cleaners on stone; it’s safer to use a neutral PH cleaner.

Stone should be cleaned with a light damp-mopping technique.  It is safe to mix ½ cup of pure soap (like Liquid Ivory) with every 1 gallon of  warm clean water for your cleaning solution.  Damp mop your surface lightly, then rinse with clean water and dry immediately with a soft cloth.

You can use the same grout-cleaning technique as listed in the Tile Floor section above, but be sure to test it in an inconspicuous area first, and always be gentle in your scrubbing.

If you’re looking for more information about deep cleaning your stone floors, the Marble Institute has a great free guide for both consumers and contractors, here.

Tile (Ceramic, Vinyl, Linoleum, and other non-porous, non-stone surfaces) Floors:

Much like wood floors, most people have the materials to clean their tile floors right in their kitchen.  A common solution is a ½ cup mild detergent or pure soap (such as Liquid Ivory), to every 1 gallon of  warm clean water.

Unlike wood floors, you can (and probably should) load your mop up thoroughly.  Scrub your floors thoroughly, wringing out the dirty mop frequently.  You can allow the water to sit on top of the tile for several minutes–but do not let it dry.  After that time is up, sop up the excess water with a towel, and then do a second rinse with clean and clear water.  Soak up the excess with a towel again, and you’re finished.

To deep clean tile, you can mix a ½ cup of bleach with 1 gallon of  warm clean water.  Be sure to do a tile test before proceeding.

To clean the grout of your tile, make a paste of baking soda and water.  Apply to the grout and allow it to sit for up to thirty minutes.  If needed, re-wet with a spray bottle, and then scrub with a nylon brush (we advise using the soft nylon brush to start, to avoid any unintentional damage).  Rinse with clear water and soak up excess liquid with a towel.

I’m Walking On Sunshine

Floor care is almost as much of an art as actually designing the floors themselves.  Using these basic cleaning techniques, you can prolong the life of your floors for years to come.

However, if your floors are looking a little more weary than cheery, Design Management Group may have the solution for you.  Contact us today for your free floor renovation consultation.