Tips for cleaning wooden flooring and more

June 30, 2015

It's the foundation of your home and essentially ties the room together. Keep these tips in mind when it comes to cleaning your wooden floor, along with other materials.

Tips for cleaning wooden flooring and more
  • Avoid swelling and warping wood floors by ensuring that very little moisture is left behind by a wet mop. Beware of extremely hot water, as well, as it may cause the wood to crack and split.
  • Tackle serious stains and streaks on sealed wood floors by adding a shot of ammonia to the mopping water.
  • Sweep up sand and small stones immediately to avoid damage.
  • Remove scratches in a wood floor with a little shoe polish and very fine steel wool.
  • Mop sealed wood floors with black tea to add a matte sheen and an attractive colour.
  • Avoid waxing floors too often. The trick is to occasionally add 60 millilitres (four tablespoons) of furniture polish and 250 millilitres (one cup) of white vinegar to your mop water.
  • Scrub oiled wood floors with a warm soda solution made from 45 millilitres (three tablespoons) of baking soda per litre (quart) of warm water, and then mop the floors with tap water. Repeat until the solution is mopped up and floors are clear. You should occasionally re-coat with a thin layer of linseed oil.
  • Carefully scrape off ground-in dirt with a knife in the direction of the wood grain. Then lightly rub the area with a dab of turpentine, wash and polish with a soft cloth.

Other floors

Remember the following tips when it's time to clean floors made with substances other than wood.

  • Sweep and damp-mop laminated floors; too much moisture will make the material swell.
  • Damp-mop and rub dry sealed cork flooring. Apply wax sparingly twice a year and occasionally polish until shiny. You don't have to dry cork flooring that is vinyl-coated.
  • Clean slate and stone flooring with water and household cleanser. But be careful — too much cleanser can attack colour! After mopping and drying, apply some lemon oil to ensure the floor shines like new. Remove any excess oil with a dry rag. You can best protect a stone floor by applying a cement sealer and wax.
  • Wash polished limestone flooring with a low-pH all-purpose cleanser, otherwise the floor will become dull. In addition, look for a cleanser with as few detergents as possible (10 to 20 per cent) and no more than four percent phosphate, since both are highly non-degradable.
  • Do not use vinegar for cleaning or washing natural stone floors such as marble, travertine and others. They can dissolve when exposed to acidic cleaners.
  • Clean linoleum floors with the water from boiled potatoes.
  • Remove scuff marks and dirt from baseboards covered with polyurethane or oil-based (gloss or semigloss) paint with a sponge and a grease-cutting, all-purpose dish soap, then clean with a cloth dampened with tap water. You can also use a household spray cleaner, but remember to spray the cleaner on a clean cloth — not the baseboard — to prevent streaking and avoid getting it on the floor.
  • If you encounter really tough stains, test an inconspicuous corner with scouring powder and an all-purpose, plastic scrubbing pad. If the test does not show any damage, apply the method to the entire baseboard.
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