We’re back with our “How to Clean Your Floors” series, and this time we have Part II.
In our previous article, we talked about 5 tools or devices to help you get started. As a quick recap, here are our 5 must-have tools:
- A good vacuum cleaner is the starting point for every good cleaning. It will let you absorb dust in areas where a broom or towel won’t reach, and it will also absorb microscopic dust particles.
- Next, we need to have an upholstery and carpet cleaner. With this, you will be able to clean your furniture, carpet floors, rugs, and even your pet’s bedding!
- Third, we need a good mop before cleaning. This will ensure your floors will remain spotless.
- Fourth, a brush drill attachment is the heavy-duty tool ideal for scrubbing floors, corners, and fixtures. This is not a device on its own, but rather an attachment for your drill.
- Last but not least, a steamer will make your job easier by using steam to soften up grease and remove dust and dirt from nooks and crannies.
Now, in Part II, we will be talking about cleaning agents: anything either liquid or powder to make your floors look clean, sanitized and shiny!
As we discussed previously, there are many types of floors, and they all take different measures in order to be cleaned. For example, organic materials are prone to staining or cracking, and require both regular cleaning and occasional cleaning with different products.
Without further ado, let’s read about your must-haves for cleaning your floors!
All-Purpose Floor Cleaner
First and foremost, you need a product that is versatile and able to take care of most, if not all, of your floors.
When looking through different options, the safest route is to choose plant or mineral-based cleaning products. Green cleaning brands are often formulated to be neutral and harmless to most cleaning surfaces.
This is very important because some materials are sensitive to cleaning products that are too acidic or alkaline.
The type of product will depend on how dirty your floor is. Degreasers are the most abrasive and heavy-duty cleaners, and if you haven’t cleaned your room in a while. Keep in mind they will need to be more alkaline (or acid) to do the job. If the cleanser is too alkaline, there’s a chance that it leaves an oil or soap film, keeping the floor looking “cloudy” and dirty.
This is why it’s best to try a product for the first time in a smaller presentation, and then you can try it out a few times before investing in a larger presentation of that product.
If you clean your floors regularly, you can use a mild cleaner with a neutral pH. This will be gentler on both your floors and your hands, and it’s ideal for regular cleaning.
Hardwood Floor Cleaner
This one is ideal for hardwood floors. Hardwood floors are particular because they come from an organic source. This means that they need certain conditions of humidity and temperature in order to stay “balanced”.
For example, if you live in Dallas, you might have noticed that low humidity during extended periods of time makes your hardwood floors look, for lack of a better term, dehydrated. This means you might notice the floor cracking more often, or just looking dull and lacking that healthy shine.
On the other hand, excessive moisture can cause floors to feel oily and attract bacteria and mold.
Therefore, you need a hardwood floor cleaner that restores floors back to the ideal moisture levels, disinfects surfaces and gives it a nice, protective finish. Because organic-based materials are so particular, this means that other specialized products won’t work, such as vinyl or tile floor cleaners.
When looking for one, pay attention to the ingredients. Decyl glucoside, citric acid, and hydrogen peroxide are common ingredients for hardwood cleaners, and they are not that dangerous to use or be around.
However, keep in mind that because these are specialized products, they might use complex chemicals that you will have to use inevitably.
Concentrated formulas are great because you can water them down if you need them or use them straight for deep cleaning.
Other features that you might consider are products that are cruelty-free and vegan. Using these ingredients will most likely mean they are safe to you as well, and that they’ve thought carefully about the ingredients they’re using for their formulas.
And if you don’t have any, mild soap and warm water can get you out of a hurry! Just try not to overdo this solution, as it might cause the hardwood protective coat to weaken progressively.
Use an Enzymatic Cleaner to Clean Your Floors
This product is ideal for carpet floors as well as rugs and other upholstery and fabrics. You can also use it for hardwood, tile, laminate, and vinyl.
Enzymatic cleaners are the perfect solution for pet “accidents”. The way they work is by using non-pathogenic bacteria and enzymes to break down the complex molecules from organic waste. This results in simpler molecules that bacteria can eat and remove waste from your floors.
An enzyme cleaner is a must-have for homes with pets or with carpet floors or rugs. Besides their natural deodorizing power, they are often created in a way that doubles up as an odor remover, too.
However, keep in mind that they are not disinfectants or sanitizers, so you need to obtain these properties from a different product.
Enzyme cleaners are more or less similar in terms of ingredients and purpose, so it’s not hard to find a good fit for you.
Also, keep in mind that enzyme cleaners, or any other chemical product (even water) can be applied to all surfaces. This is true especially for furniture items. Make sure you check the care label beforehand. Make sure you read our Couch Deep Cleaning Guide to understand the products and techniques you can use depending on the care label.
How to Clean Your Natural Stone Floors
This one is a must-have if you have natural stone flooring, such as travertine, granite, marble or limestone. The reason is that, similar to hardwood, these floors are very sensitive.
Many all-purpose floor cleaners include acidic ingredients, such as vinegar or citric acid. But for natural stone surfaces, you need to be more careful. Acidic cleaners or liquids can cause permanent stains on certain types of stone.
This is why you see that a rule of thumb for granite and marble countertops is not letting lemon juice, tomato sauce or vinegar come into contact with them. Even though some of these items are great for cleaning, they do not get along with natural stone surfaces.
Therefore, it’s best to stick with specialized products with neutral pH. If you don’t have one, stick to sweeping and vacuuming or using only slightly soapy water, and mopping a second time with fresh water to remove soap residues.
DIY Floor Cleaner
Last but not least, you can create your own personalized product, especially if you have several types of flooring in your home.
This should be safe enough to be used in different areas, yet effective enough to clean and sanitize surfaces. As we mentioned, there are certain items that should be cleaned only with specialized products (such as hardwood, granite and marble).
To create your very own DIY Floor cleaner, you need to consider the different types of floor materials first. Here are a few recipes for the most common ones:
DIY Floor Cleaner for Hardwood Floors
As we mentioned earlier, hardwood floors are sensitive. Therefore, this recipe is quite simple and safe. You just need to create a mix of ¼ cup white vinegar and 1-gallon warm water.
Be careful when calculating the vinegar/water ratio because the vinegar is already acid enough. Just make sure you don’t exceed the vinegar ratio and your floor’s finish will remain in good condition.
Use a dampened cloth or a mop and wring it before applying. Besides, open your windows to ensure the solution will evaporate quickly.
But what about the fragrance? if you read Part I and Part II of our essential oils cleaning guide, then you already know by now how effective they are for adding bring a fresh, calming fragrance.
Pro tip: If you are having guests soon and you’re short on time, clean your entryways’ floors and add a few extra drops of essential oil to give them a fresh, clean first impression as soon as they walk in.
Some essential oils are not recommended if you have dogs or cats. If you have pets, do some research about your preferred oil before applying.
Ceramic Tile Floor Cleaner
Ceramic tiles are one of the most common types of flooring. Fortunately, they’re very resistant to most chemical agents and cleaning techniques (sweeping, mopping, scrubbing, vacuuming). As we mentioned in Part I of our series, make sure you vacuum first to remove loose debris.
Next, apply your cleaning solution, which consists of: ¼ cup white vinegar, ¼ cup baking soda, 1 tbps. Mild dish soap, and 2 gallons hot water. Heat and dish soap will soften up grease and dirt, while vinegar and baking soda will kill bacteria and deodorize.
Apply with a mop or cloth and then mop again, but this time using fresh water and let dry afterward.
Vinyl Floor Cleaner
Vinyl is another popular floor type, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. If this is your case, you will benefit from a stronger, concentrated cleaning solution. Mix together ½ cup rubbing alcohol, ½ cup vinegar, ½ tsp. dish detergent and 2 gallons of water.
Vinegar and alcohol are acidic components capable of killing the most common household bacteria, according to research. Mop your floors and rinse with fresh water.
The essential oil trick still applies here so feel free to use your preferred scent.
Last but not least, we have carpet floors. These are especially problematic because the fibers absorb pretty much everything: sweat, saliva, food crumbs, dandruff, pet hair and dander, and every dust particle and microbe you can think off falls naturally to the floor. Besides, it seems to absorb spills and stains in the blink of an eye!
After vacuuming, prepare a cleaning solution to deep clean your carpet floors with the following ingredients. Mix one cup of warm water, 1/8 tsp mild dish soap, and 1 tbsp white vinegar. Mix and apply using a spray bottle.
Some cleaning guides recommend adding baking soda, but the issue here is that not all vacuum cleaners are prepared to “handle” baking soda. They can mess up your vacuum’s internal circuits and filters over time.
Related: What’s in Your Cleaning Cupboard? 5 Household Chemical Products and How To Handle Them
This is it for part II of our Cleaning Your Floor series! We hope you enjoyed these tips and know you will make a more informed decision when trying your must-have floor cleaning products.
Remember to check our booking page if you need to book a professional cleaning & maid service in Dallas. And stay tuned for Part III, where we will give you cleaning techniques to clean your floors smarter and not harder.
Until next time!