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Tuesday, October 6, 2020

How to keep your floors sparkling clean


It’s the final chore on your long cleaning list: you’ve dusted, tidied, vacuumed and polished, and all that remains is to make the floor sparkle.

If only it were that simple!

Not all floors need the same treatment, and if you get it wrong, you could be doing more harm than good. From laminate to carpet, here's everything you need to know to keep your floors gleaming.

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How do I keep my floors clean for longer?

We all know how quickly dirt, dust and grime builds up. Prevention is better than cure. Use doormats at entrances, take your shoes off and ask guests to do likewise, and groom pets regularly and always outdoors. Immediately wipe up any spills, especially on porous surfaces like marble. Other than that? Sadly, you've simply got to keep cleaning!

What is the best way to clean floors?

Carefully consider the surface you are cleaning, before you do any damage. Once you know what material you are dealing with, you can follow our handy guide below:

Laminate

Vacuum, dust or wipe with a lightly dampened mop – never use soap-based detergents, as they can leave a dull film on the floor, and avoid over-wetting. Don’t use wax polish, either: it will make the floor too slippery.

To remove marks and stains, use a dilute solution of water and vinegar. Never be tempted to use abrasive cleaners, such as nylon scouring pads or steel wool, as they can scratch laminate.

Stubborn marks, such as shoe polish, can be removed with nail polish remover containing acetone, or other mild solvents. Trusty old WD-40 is also effective.

To protect the floor, put felt pads underneath furniture legs and drip trays under plant pots.

GHI TIP: Vacuum or sweep all types of hard floors regularly to prevent the surface being scratched by grit, and remove shoes at the front door.

Pattanaphong Khuankaew / EyeEmGetty Images

Ceramic and quarry tiles

Hurrah, these need minimal maintenance! Sweep and wash with a mild detergent solution, before rinsing with clean water. Never use wax polish – the tiles will become slippery.

You could also try a steam cleaner. "Steam cleaners are a quick and effective option for cleaning sealed floors and tiles, and they only need water to get the job done," says Katie Mortram, Head of Appliance Testing at the GHI.z

Terracotta tiles

For the first year after installation, terracotta tiles mature. Most floorsuppliers stock a special cleaner, sealant and polish, so use recommended products from yours.

Vinyl

Sweep with a soft brush or vacuum, then wipe with a damp mop, using a mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly after wiping. To remove scuff marks, use a cloth dipped in neat washing-up liquid or white spirit, then rinse off.

Witthaya PrasongsinGetty Images

Wood

Sealed floors need only to be swept and damp-mopped. Don't use too much water or the wood could swell and split.

Unsealed and waxed floors should be swept regularly and occasionally repolished. Use wax sparingly, as any excess will leave a tacky residue and attract dirt, and buff well. Should worn patches appear on the surface, apply a non-slip floor polish.

On a waxed floor, polish and dirt builds up over time. The only way to clean it is to remove the wax and start again. Use a cloth moistened with white spirit. Let it soak in, and as the wax and dirt begin to dissolve, wipe it away with crumpled newspaper. Scrub obstinate parts by hand, or with abrasive pads on a floor polisher. Once all of the polish has been removed, damp-mop with clean water. Leave it to dry completely before applying new polish, one small section at a time.

For protecting your wooden or parquet flooring, we recommend Dr Beckmann Hardwood & Parquet Floor Cleaner. It nourished our boards and brought slightly faded ones back to life.

GHI TIP: Never varnish a waxed floor – it won't dry!

Cork

Wipe factory-sealed cork tiles with a damp mop, using a washing-up liquid solution. For an extra layer of protection, especially in high-traffic areas like the bathroom and kitchen, apply an acrylic or polyurethane sealant.

Never over-wet cork floors, and take care not to damage its seal or protective coatings by dragging appliances or furniture across them.

GHI TIP: Scuff marks on your skirting boards? Squirt them with WD-40 and wipe them away with a soft cloth.

​Linoleum

Sweep or vacuum to remove grit and dust. Clean with a mop or cloth dampened with a floor cleaner or detergent solution. Use water sparingly. Rinse after washing.

Stubborn marks can be removed by rubbing lightly with a dampened fine nylon pad.

Stone

Stone is susceptible to staining, so it should always be protected with a resin sealant. To clean sealed stone, vacuum it thoroughly, before mopping with a mild detergent solution.

To remove grease or oil, use a proprietary spot-treatment stain remover for stone.

Carpet

If you own a carpet cleaning machine, this is the best way to clean your floor. If not, you can still do a good job without one.

Start by spot-treating any stains. We like the Dr Beckmann Carpet Stain Remover for removing stains. Simply use it according to the manufacturer's instructions, but remember that it's always best to target stains quickly. ‘The longer stains are left to dry into fabric, the harder they will be to remove,’ says Verity Mann, Head of Testing at the GHI.

Next, you'll want to tackle the carpet with your vacuum. Once you've been over it once, use your vacuum accessories to clean hard-to-reach areas. Use the crevice tool to vacuum the edges of your carpet and under radiators - this will help to prevent black lines forming around the skirting board. If your carpet is particularly thick, use the turbo brush (or power brush) to collect stubborn dirt and pet hairs.

GHI TIP: Remove any annoying indents and impression marks left by furniture by rubbing an ice cube over the affected area

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