Confused about which cleaning method is best for you floor? Some cleaning solutions can work wonders on one kind of floor and wreak havoc on another. We thought we’d make it that little bit easier. So whatever your floor type, check out our top tips on how to keep them ship-shape.
Carpets and Tiles
Regular vacuuming is essential for carpets, as it prevents loose dirt and grit from working into the carpet pile where it will damage the fibres. Upright vacuum cleaners are best, especially those with revolving brushes to dislodge embedded dirt. Use the suction head for loop-pile carpets, as beater brushes and heads can cause the carpet to bobble. Manufacturers recommend an annual steam clean. Clean according to wear. Whether you do it yourself or call in the professionals, high-traffic areas should be cleaned once every two years.
Remove wine or grease stains from carpet by lightly sprinkling area with baking soda. Dab it up and add a little more if necessary. Leave on until the wine is absorbed, then vacuum up any residue left.
All good quality natural floorcoverings should have a substantial latex back to prevent dust and debris falling through and ensure easy maintenance by vacuuming. A cylinder-type vacuum cleaner without brushes is the best choice for natural floorings to avoid damaging the fibres.
Most high quality natural floorings are sold with a stain inhibitor that protects them from dirt and prolongs there life, so ask your supplier for details of cleaning products for natural fibres. These should be used on stains immediately – not once the stain has been absorbed. Mop up with a clean cloth or kitchen paper. Don’t use carpet mousse or shampoo as these can cause natural floorings to shrink.
Consider hiring a professional cleaning company if you want to give your flooring a thorough clean, but make sure they use a dry-cleaning system as opposed to a wet on. Ask your retailer to recommend a firm
Sweep wooden floors regularly, or use a vacuum cleaner with a brush setting. Mop once a week or so with a well-wrung mop, using soapy cleaner specifically for use on wood. Don’t saturate the floor or allow water to stand on it as this can cause damage. Wet-clean waxed boards sparingly and wax polish them to improve the patina. Dirty wax build-up should be removed with white spirit and the boards re-waxed. Treat engineered boards with oil or lacquer reviver, applied with a soft cloth.
Remove scuff marks from wooden floors by rubbing them gently with a pencil eraser.
Bring out the natural colour of your wood flooring by wiping the surface with lemon oil and a dry cloth. However, this only applies to natural and waxed flooring, not varnished floors.
Laminate should be swept or vacuumed regularly. Using a damp cloth is fine, but never soak the floor with water – they’re designed to be water resistant. Most spills on laminate can be removed with household cleaners but, if the stain is lipstick, ink or permanent marker, try acetone. Never use scouring pads to remove stains on laminate flooring, and remove any liquid stains from the floor as soon as possible.
How to clean tiles and stone flooring
Stone will often have been treated before it left the factory. If not, it will stain easily so it’s important to seal it with a proprietary sealant or, for terracotta and slate, use linseed oil. Once sealed, clean it with a mix of mild detergent and water. However, it will need re-sealing at regular intervals to keep it looking its best.
Immediately wipe away any acidic spills.
Reconstituted stone needs to be sealed with a stain inhibitor then impregnated with a top coat of water-based sealant. It’ll need re-sealing every two years. Ask your manufacturer or suppler for specific care advice and suitable products.
Ceramic tiles can be cleaned with a mild detergent and water solution and do not require sealing. Damp-mop your ceramic tile with a standard, all-purpose cleaner. Dry the floor with a soft cloth to avoid streaks.
Never use harsh abrasive cleaners that might scratch the glaze.
Flagstone, limestone, slate
Damp-mop flagstone or slate floors using either clear water, an all-purpose cleaning solution in warm water, or water to which fabric softener has been added. Wring the mop until it doesn’t drip, and apply it to the floor in slow, even strokes. Ask the manufacturer for recommend the appropriate cleaning product.
Wipe up spills on unglazed floors immediately or they might cause a stain.
Remove stubborn marks with white spirit, but always do a spot test first.
Vinyls, linoleums and rubber are hard wearing and easy to care for. The amount of cleaning and maintenance depends both on your lifestyle and the colour of the floor. Vacuum or brush regularly to remove dust and grit that might lead to your floor being scratched, and follow with a weekly wipe with the cleaning agent recommended by your supplier.
Remove scuff marks by gently rubbing with a scouring pad – the sort you would use to clean non-stick cookware.
Clean the floor with mild detergent and water. Don’t use abrasive cleaners, which may leave a dull film on your floor. Be careful with spray polishes and other silicone-based products as they can make your floor very slippery, as can white spirit.