Wood floors need the right floor cleaners. (stock.xchng)
Whenever I walk into a home, one of the first things I notice are the floors. And when I say “notice,” I mean what type of flooring the home has and how well is it maintained. Unfortunately, there isn’t one cleaning product or method that can work on all the different flooring that most homes have today.
After a winter of tracking in mud and snow on your shoes, or all the leftover food spills from the holidays, your carpet is ready for some TLC. Obviously, spot cleaning dirt and spills and regular vacuuming helps. But carpets also need some serious deep cleaning once or twice a year depending on your foot traffic.
If you want to try to clean it yourself, you can use one of those home carpet-cleaning machines or rent one from the hardware or grocery store. Unfortunately, these portable machines don’t create enough of a vacuum to extract all the water and cleaning solution from carpeting. That’s why professionals with truck-mounted cleaners do a better job than you can.
In addition to carpeting, many homes have wood and laminate floors that need regular maintenance. If you have hardwood floors that are dull, use a quality hardwood floor cleaning system such as Bruce Hardwood and Laminate floor cleaner (www.bruce.com) or the Bona Pro Series Hardwood Refresher (www.bona.com) to restore the shine.
If you need to refinish your hardwood floors, try Rust-Oleum’s Varathane Wood Floor Restoring System (www.rustoleum.com) that lets you refinish without stripping or sanding the old surface. You can also get professional hardwood cleaning products and advice on refinishing floors at Crandall Worthington, (800) 809-4171, www.crandallwc.com.
For laminate flooring such as Pergo, the flooring companies usually recommend sponge-mopping the floor with a mixture of 1 cup vinegar to 1 gallon warm water. However, do not use soap or detergent based cleaners, wax-based products or any type of polish on laminate floors as they leave a dull, filmy residue. If you don’t want to mix your own cleaning solution, you can use specific laminate floor cleaners like Bruce Hardwood and Laminate floor cleaner or Quick Shine Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner from Holloway House, www.hollowayhouse.net.
For vinyl or linoleum flooring in the kitchen, laundry room, basement or a bathroom that has lost its luster, a good deep-cleaning with Armstrong New Beginning (www.armstrong.com) vinyl floor stripper followed with a coat of Armstrong Shine Keeper or Holloway House Quick Shine to restore the gloss. For basic cleaning, you can use a product like Once ‘n Done No Rinse Floor Cleaner from Armstrong or Quick Shine Floor Cleaner from Holloway House.
For tile or stone floors, both Armstrong’s Once ’n Done and Quick Shine Floor Cleaner from Holloway House are good general cleaners. But never use strong floor strippers like Armstrong’s New Beginning on tile or stone as it can damage them. If you want products that are specifically developed for stone or tile, consider DuPont Stone & Tile Floor Cleaner, www2.dupont.com or Marbalex from Stone Care International, www.stonecare.com.
For those quick floor cleaning times, steam mops are perfect for all sealed floor surfaces. They get the job done using no chemicals at all.
No matter what types of flooring you have in your home, they are subject to plenty of wear and tear. You can extend the life of your floors by maintaining them with the proper products, some good old fashioned elbow grease or occasional professional help.
If you would like to suggest a question for this column, e-mail email@example.com. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations nationwide.