Kitchen floors are a potluck of dirt, grunge, and grime.
Keeping today's fabulous flooring materials - linoleum, vinyl, hardwood, laminate, stone, tile, terrazzo, and concrete - sparkling like new requires a special cleaning regimen.
Using the right cleaners for the job is critical in keeping these specialty surfaces shining safely. But which cleaning product is right for your kitchen floor?
Consult the list below for cleaning floors by surface type.
Keeping linoleum clean requires little more than regular damp-mopping (use very little water, which can make the surface brittle) or dry dust-mopping to rid the surface of grit and dust before it gets ground in.
Each week, deep-clean with a neutral-pH cleaner, such as a little dishwashing detergent dissolved in lukewarm water.
To keep floors shiny and lustrous, each year, apply a wax such as a carnauba wax to seal and protect the surface.
Areas that get heavy use should be stripped and rewaxed as needed. For heavy-wear areas, you may need to wax once a month.
A few cleaning don'ts: hot water, strong soaps, solvents, or anything abrasive.
Vinyl floors require only regular sweeping and damp-mopping with water for general cleaning.
But for those grimy jobs, a cleaner with a surfactant will provide more uniform cleaning and drying.For regular cleanings, a water-based, neutral cleaner, such as Spic and Span is sufficient.
In general, stay away from anything soapy, such as mop-and-shine products. They can leave a soapy, tacky residue that actually attracts dirt.
Instead, use ammonia and water, which also works well for a cork floor with a urethane finish.
Other vinyl don'ts: detergents, abrasive cleaners, paste wax, and highly abrasive scrubbing tools.
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.
Hardwood floors are a tough challenge in high-traffic kitchens. Still, whether yours are oak, maple, ash, or beech, cleaning them is as safe and straightforward as it gets.
For hardwood floors in the kitchen, wiping up spills promptly is key because standing water can damage a hardwood floor's finish.
The only other major consideration - and this goes for any room in the house with hardwood floors - is to try to keep the floor clear of dirt, sand, and grit, which can act like sandpaper and scratch a floor's finish.
Once-a-week cleaning with a broom, vacuum, or dust mop is all most floors require.
If your floors get a lot of use, and if they don't have a urethane finish, damp-mop once a week with a neutral-pH wood-cleaning product. Wring the mop almost dry before mopping.
Keep laminate floors luxurious by regularly vacuuming, dust-mopping, or wiping them with a damp (not wet) cloth.
When the dirt and grime get tough, as they so often do in the kitchen, those who don't mind a bit of scrubbing will find that a solution of vinegar and water works well for general cleaning.
To remove tough spots or stains, buff the blemish with acetone nail-polish remover, and then wipe it clean with a damp cloth.
No-nos include allowing water or a cleaning solution to stand on or below the surface of your floor and 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 that will scratch the surface of your floor.
You need to wipe down natural stone floors daily. Even with the modern sealers on the market today, stone floors are vulnerable to staining from water and oil-based liquids.
Daily wipe-downs may seem cumbersome, but if you're prepared for the job with a water-only mop hanging in a nearby closet, it takes just minutes for a shine that lasts the whole day.
Tile presents a tough cleaning dilemma: How do you get it really clean without marring the shiny surface? Start with a cleaning routine designed to keep grime from building up and prevent the need for big-gun cleaners.
Regularly vacuum and damp-mop, and clean up spills as they happen.For deeper general cleaning, use a neutral-pH cleaner without surfactants (which can leave a residue on tile floors), such as Armstrong Once 'N Done Cleaner Concentrate for tough grease-cutting action.
Make sure your cleaner has a built-in reinforcing sealer.
This polished natural stone also benefits from regular sweeping and damp-mopping, using water and mild detergent. Since this surface stains easily and the glossy finish tends to wear quickly, professional products tend to be the safest cleaning bet.
This may be the ideal kitchen flooring. All that you need to do is sweep, vacuum, or damp-mop regularly.