Floors used to be so easy to take care of get a mop in a bucket and go to town but now we have so many different types of flooring and we have to be quite particular in terms of how we take care of our floors so that they last for a long time and they look great because let’s be honest when you damage a floor it is an expensive and an annoying repair so in this article we are going to cover how to clean three key hard floor surfaces hardwood, laminate and luxury vinyl flooring.
Floors 101: If your floors look like wood they’re likely either hardwood engineered hardwood which for this particular article we’re going to treat is the same laminate or luxury vinyl flooring so quickly hardwood or engineered hardwood has an actual wood surface to it and a wood base there are some technical differences we’re not going to get into it so we have to treat it like wood laminate is a variety of different layers all laminated together with kind of a photo of something that looks like wood on top so it’s got its own specific needs and then luxury vinyl flooring is comprised of pvc or polyvinyl chloride and it can be made to look like just about any finish the key benefit to that is it is waterproof but it’s also vinyl so it’s soft and it can scratch all three of these floors have pros and cons and they have to be cleaned in slightly different ways.
Do’s & Dont’s: Next up some general do’s and don’ts for all of these floors and these are going to come out of my mouth in no particular order so i’m sorry if it’s not a cohesive list of all the do’s and all the don’ts first you always want to sweep or vacuum before you mop and you don’t want to use the beater bar on your vacuum when you’re cleaning a hard floor surface beater bars are that roller brush on your vacuum that is designed to kind of pull things out of your carpet and get them super clean it can scratch or damage hard floor surfaces so always use that soft bristle brush on your vacuum when you’re cleaning your hard floors or sweep them only when that’s done can you mop if you don’t do that you’re going to scratch your floors you do want to make sure that you’re using protection on the bottom of your furniture felt pads or you know you know what they look like because if you don’t do that your floors can scratch and these floors are particularly difficult to repair the whole gamut you might have to remove the plank you might have to refinish it and it’s always going to be an eyesore do mop in the direction of the grain if you mop in the opposite direction of the way that the grain runs or the floor is laid you’re going to see streaks don’t use a steam mop steam is just no bueno for this type of flooring I know all the steam mop companies are going to tell you that theirs are safe but if you talk to the flooring installers and the flooring manufacturers they’re going to tell you they’re not safe so in this case i’m going to side with the manufacturers and not the people who are trying to sell you the cleaning tools you do want to make sure you’re using the appropriate type of mop when you’re cleaning this floor if you use a string mop or a yacht mop you’re going to leave too much moisture behind and that is not good for this type of flooring so you want to use a flat head mop and as minimal moisture as possible to clean the floors in fact you can even follow up with a final mop with just a dry pad to remove any excess moisture do make sure that when there are any spills or stains they are cleaned up immediately that goes for anything from water up to paint nail polish cat puke or juice it all has to go despite how durable your flooring might be even your luxury vinyl tile which or flooring which you know is waterproof you can still deal with stains so anytime there’s a stain or moisture or liquid on a surface just blot it up and clean it as soon as you can don’t use any old product to mop your floor in fact hardwood and engineered hardwood laminate and luxury vinyl tile all have different requirements in terms of how they need to be cleaned so make sure that you know the type of flooring you have you do your research and you use the appropriate product so that your floors can last a good long time and look beautiful.
Luxury Vinyl: In terms of mopping the floor the things that you want to keep in mind you don’t want to use any detergent that has a high ph to it so that would be you know anything that’s corrosive plus bleach or ammonia based products you would not want to use on the floor the other thing I will say to stay away from is anything that leaves kind of a hazy glaze on a floor so a wood oil soap not appropriate for luxury vinyl tile even something that is supposed to leave a shine those are great for tile those are not great for this type of flooring so we have a very basic recipe that works really well and in fact most of the time I find it doesn’t even need a rinse I have a little rhyme and i’m going to share it with you and it applies to all the floors and that is less is more when mopping the floor and the reason that’s important is because the more soapy stuff you use the stickier things are going to feel underfoot so you actually want your floor cleaner to be very well diluted so that you don’t feel that stickiness and it rinses and dries clean. To mix this up you’re going to use two cups of warm water a quarter cup of white vinegar an eighth of a cup of rubbing alcohol an eighth of a teaspoon of dish soap it’s just a few little drops and five to ten drops of your favorite essential oil if you feel up for it i’m recommending to use this recipe in a spray bottle and spraying it on the floor right before you mop it up but if you are more of a bucket kind of guy or gal you can up this recipe and put it in a bucket and work that way.
Hardwood Floors: The first thing to know about hardwood floor is you can have finished hardwood and unfinished hardwood now the quickest way to find out if your floors are unfinished is to take a drop of water and just put it on the floor if it beads you know that your floor is finished if the water soaks in the floors are unfinished and what that tells you is that you can’t use moisture on your unfinished floors so in the event that that is you you are just sweeping your floors you are not using moisture or liquid to clean them and if something spills you got to blot it up immediately so with that being said we have a very straightforward diy recipe that you can use now in this recipe it’s essentially the same as the luxury vinyl tile cleaner but we’ve backed out the rubbing alcohol and the reason that is is because the particular type of varnish that hardwood or engineered hardwood has doesn’t love rubbing alcohol whereas rubbing alcohol is great on the other two types of finishes because it helps water dry quickly.
Laminate: If hardwood and luxury vinyl and laminate were all out for dinner laminate would be the one that made all kinds of modifications to its order it’s finicky all right and here’s what laminate is it’s just a pile of different layers all stuck together with a photo of something on top and it behaves like hardwood in that it doesn’t like moisture but then the top layer gets really streaky if you clean it with the wrong thing and if you use the wrong product it can expand and contract and do that weird behavior that wood does so you’ve got to be really picky with the way that you clean your laminate that said it’s pretty durable so that’s why people love it and it’s also way less expensive than hardwood okay so the way that you want to clean it is like this you want to avoid any type of soapy detergent whatsoever so in the diy recipe that we have put together you’ll see there’s vinegar you’ll see there’s rubbing alcohol you’ll see there’s water but there is no soap so here it is for our diy recipe use two cups of warm water a half a cup of white vinegar a half a cup of rubbing alcohol and of course five to ten drops of your favorite essential oils if you’re feeling adventurous if you’re looking for a great mop to clean your floors with why don’t you check out the maker’s mop yeah i’m biased it’s a taco shaped mop but it just won the good housekeeping cleaning awards so you can check out makersclean.com to learn more you know all this talk about flooring has gotten me to think what type of flooring I would have in my home if my budget was unlimited and if I was just building a dream home well I think I would have like penny tile in the front entryway that said something cute like welcome and then I think the rest of the house might just be cement polished cement looks really modern it’s super easy to clean and you know you can heat the underneath but i’d love to know in the comments down below would you go super luxurious and get like beautiful marble everywhere would you go hardwood would you go luxury vinyl would you do tile what would you do carpet I didn’t even mention carpet let me know what you would do in the comments down below, thanks so much for reading and we’ll see you next time.