Easy ways to keep your floors clean

To keep your floors in tip-top condition, you need to know which cleaning regimen is best suited to your particular floor materials and finishes. Just as important is the regularity with which you do the job. Check out these tips and find the perfect solution for your floors.

Easy ways to keep your floors clean

Defensive moves you should try

Prevent dirt from entering the house in the first place.

  • It is estimatedthat 80 percent of a home's dirt travels in on shoes. Place sturdy mats with non-slip backing just inside all exterior doors.
  • Each should be long enough to accommodate four steps — about one to 1.5 metres (three to five feet).
  • Also provide good exterior doormats for wiping off the heaviest street mud and dirt.

When to use a dust mop or broom

With either vinyl or smooth-wood surfaces, a dust mop or a broom is the usual tool for everyday cleaning up of grit before it is ground into the floor. If the air is very dry, you can hold the dust down by giving the mop head or broom a light spritz of water.

  • Dust mops are typically more efficient in gathering dust, pet fur and lint. But they are not appropriate for rough-finished floors or carpeting.
  • When choosing a dust mop, keep in mind the size of your room and the amount of clutter on the floor. Standard-sized dust mops are best for working around average spaces with an ordinary amount of furniture. Consider using a 45 centimetre wide (18 inch) commercial dust mop for oversized, sparsely furnished areas, available at janitorial supply stores.

How to find the perfect broom

  • Brooms come in several designs and materials and are better for certain tasks than dry mops. The most common type of household broom is the natural-fibre broom. Made of broom corn (sorghum), this straight-edged sweeper provides a pleasing stiffness to sweeping that traditionalists like. But you will also find more durable, softer polypropylene brooms for sweeping. They come in straight-edged designs as well as in angled designs.
  • Soft-bristled push brooms, as the name implies, are best for pushing dirt rather than brisk sweeping.
  • Deck or garage brooms should stay outside; their harder bristles can damage indoor floors.
  • Virtually all brooms must be used with a dustpan.
  • Look for pans with a slim, soft leading edge. Plastic edged pans can scratch floors and tend to chip with use.

Quickly wash your floors

Most non-wood floors can be kept clean by damp-mopping with clear water.

  • First sweep or vacuum the loose dirt. Then dip a string mop or sponge mop in clear water, squeezing it out so that the mop is merely damp.
  • Excess water can damage resilient floors, penetrating the seams of vinyl sheet flooring or tiles, causing the edges to lift and/or curl up. Too much water is even more troublesome where wood floors are concerned, for it can dissolve the protective coatings, alter the colour and even raise the grain to roughen the surface. So always wring out your mop until it's almost dry.
  • To thoroughly clean any floor, it's important to have two buckets — one for the washing solution and another for the rinse water. If you use two buckets, you should also work with two mops — one for cleaning, one for rinsing. It will save you time, because you won't have to stop to get the dirty water out with each pass of the mop.

Depending on the amount of traffic that your floors receive, you may need to dust mop, sweep or vacuum only once or twice a week, or as frequently as twice a day. Whatever the final tally, keep these tips in mind and help extend the life of your flooring.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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