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tips for cleaning floors

Kitchen floors are a potluck of dirt, grunge, and grime.

Cleaning floors of different materials - linoleum, vinyl, hardwood, laminate, stone, terrazzo, and concrete - requires a special cleaning regimen.

Using the right cleaners for the job is critical in keeping these speciality surfaces shining safely. Don't know the secret floor cleaning code? No problem.

These recommendations for cleaning floors can help, password not required.

1. cleaning tips for shiny linoleum floors.

Keeping linoleum clean requires little more than regular damp-mopping or dry dust-mopping to get rid of surface grit and dust before it's ground in.

Each week, deep-clean linoleum floors with a neutral-pH cleaner, such as a little dishwashing detergent dissolved in lukewarm water.

To keep linoleum floors shiny and lustrous, apply a wax finish each year to seal and protect the surface. Areas of your linoleum floor that get heavy use should be stripped and rewaxed as needed.

A few cleaning don'ts for linoleum floors:

  • Hot water
  • Strong soaps

2. cleaning vinyl floors.

One of vinyl's most vexing cleaning challenges is keeping daily dirt out of surface crevices.

Since these tiny particles can quickly become ground in, vacuum your floor regularly rather than sweeping it with a broom. The reason? 

A vacuum pulls the dirt away from the floor, while a broom drags dirt across the floor, increasing the risk that smaller particles will be left behind.

For regular cleanings, a water-based, neutral cleaner is sufficient. For those really grimy jobs, a cleaner with a surfactant will provide more uniform cleaning and drying.

In general, stay away from anything soapy, such as mop-and-shine products. They can leave a soapy, tacky residue that actually attracts dirt.

Other vinyl don'ts:

  • Detergents
  • Abrasive cleaners
  • Paste wax
  • Highly abrasive scrubbing tools.

3. cleaning hardwood floors.

Whether your hardwood floors are oak, maple, ash or beech, cleaning them is about as safe and simple as it gets.

Once-a-week cleaning with a broom, vacuum, or dust mop is all most wood floors require. If your floors get lots of use, and if they don't have a urethane finish, damp-mop once a week with a neutral-pH wood cleaning product.

Standing water or other liquids can damage the wood floor's finish, which is why promptly wiping up spills is key to keeping them looking good.

A few don'ts for cleaning wood floors:

  • Don't allow liquid to sit on the surface for more than a few minutes.
  • Don't use soap-based detergents or `mop-and-shine' products (they'll leave a dull film on the surface).
  • Don't use wax of any kind.
  • Don't use abrasive cleaners.
  • Don't use steel wool or scouring pads - they'll scratch the surface of wood floors.

4. cleaning laminate floors.

Keep laminate floors luxurious by regularly vacuuming or dust-mopping with a damp (not wet) cloth to remove dust and dirt.

When the dirt and grime get tough, a solution of vinegar and water works well for general cleaning. To remove tough spots and stains, buff the blemish with acetone nail-polish remover, and then wipe it clean with a damp cloth.

Laminate floor cleaning no nos:

  • Allowing water or a cleaning solution to stand on or below the surface of your floor.
  • Using soap-based detergents or mop-and-shine products (they'll leave a dull film on your floor).
  • Wax.
  • Polish.
  • Abrasive cleaners.
  • Steel wool or scouring pads, as they will damage the surface of your floor.

5. cleaning tips for stone floors.

Even with the modern sealers on the market today, stone floors are vulnerable to staining from water and oil-based liquids, and should be wiped clean daily. Daily wipe-downs may seem cumbersome, but it you're prepared for the job with a water-only mop hanging in a nearby closet, it takes just minutes for a clean shine that lasts the whole day.

6. how to clean tile floors.

Start with a cleaning routine designed to keep grime from building up and prevent the need for heavy-duty cleaners. Regularly vacuum and damp-mop tile floors, and clean up spills as they happen. For deep cleaning, use a neutral-pH cleaner without surfactants (which can leave a residue on tile floors), for tough grease-cutting action.

7. cleaning tips for terrazzo floors.

This polished natural stone looks its best with regular sweeping and damp-mopping with water and mild detergent. Since terrazzo floors stain easily and the polished finish tends to wear quickly, professional products tend to be the safest cleaning bet.

8. cleaning concrete floors.

This may be the ideal kitchen flooring. All you need to do is sweep, vacuum, or damp-mop regularly.

Visit the Clean Organized Home Store for the floor cleaning products and tools you need to keep your floors looking their best.

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About the Author

Tara Aronson

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.