6 tips to keep your floors clean and make them last longer

Want your floors to last? The key is to keep them clean. This is particularly true for wood floors, but it applies to other types as well.

6 tips to keep your floors clean and make them last longer

1. Vacuum and mop—a lot!

  • No matter what your floor is made of, frequent vacuuming or sweeping will prevent dirt from grinding in.
  • Wipe up any spills immediately, and clean the floor with a damp mop at least once a week.
  • Use plain water, and change the water when it gets cloudy.

2. Make your own floor cleaner

  • When floors get too dirty for damp-mopping with plain water, you can use a commercial cleaner designed for floors.
  • Or literally brew your own cleaner by seeping two teabags in one litre (one quart) of hot water.
  • Another option is to mix 125 millilitres (1/2 cup) of cider vinegar in four litres (one gallon) of warm water.
  • Whatever cleaner you choose, don't slop water all over the floor.
  • Instead, dip a soft cloth or sponge in the solution, wring it out, and wipe the floor. Buff with a soft, dry cloth.

3. Don't use caustic cleaners on marble

Acids (such as vinegar) will etch marble, and strong alkaline solutions (such as washing soda or trisodium phosphate) will break down the surface and leave it rough.

4. Clean stone floors with sawdust

It's low-tech and effective: Sprinkle damp sawdust over your stone floor, scrub with a stiff brush, and then sweep up the sawdust with a broom and dustpan. Follow up with a good vacuumming.

5. Keeping ceramic-tile floor clean

Ceramic tile usually needs nothing more than a quick pass with a damp mop to clean it. Indeed, cleaning ceramic tile would be a breeze if tile were all you had to clean. It's that pesky grout between the tiles that's the problem. One way to prolong the life of grout is to seal it. When damp-mopping isn't enough, mix one of these cleaning solutions:

  • One capful of rubbing alcohol in four litres (one gallon) of water.
  • Five grams (one teaspoon) of borax and 30 millilitres (two tablespoons) of ammonia in four litres (one gallon) of water.

6. Keep vinyl flooring vital

  • When it comes to vinyl flooring, the key to longevity is to use the mildest cleaning method possible. Sweep or vacuum frequently so that dirt doesn't get a chance to grind in.
  • Clean up spills right away. Use a warm, damp mop for dirt that you can't sweep or vacuum away.
  • If dirt still remains, try mixing 250 millilitres (one cup) of vinegar into four litres (one gallon) of water.
  • Dirt too stubborn for vinegar?
  • Then try 30 grams (two tablespoons) of borax in four litres (one gallon) of water. In either case, apply a small amount with your mop; then rinse thoroughly by mopping with plain water.
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