The key to keeping your floors clean, shiny, and looking like new is proper floor maintenance. Whether it’s hardwood, stone or tile floors, they all need active care and attention.
You don’t change the floor in your house too often, and over the years, it might start to look a bit dull. Winter will inevitably bring its snow and ice, fall – its mud and dust, spring and summer – water or worse, seawater and sand. The thing is, our house floors bear witness to every place we visit because we always come home with some of that on us. They are the silent listeners of all our home-comings.
No wonder that the flooring might get a bit bland and weary at some point, which is why it needs our constant attention.
What is floor maintenance?
Floor maintenance is the constant process of cleaning, maintaining and protecting your flooring in a sustained manner. It follows a specific routine and program that does not necessarily need the touch of a professional or any commercial floor cleaning services.
With a little bit of planning and willingness on your part, you can keep your flooring in good shape, and these are 7 Floor Maintenance Routine Essentials to help you with that.
Some of them are common sense, but it is always better to be reminded of what you should do, even though you already know it.
The 7-Step Routine
1. Vacuum, sweeping and dusting before applying any cleaning solution
Vacuuming and dusting are essential. If you vacuum on solid wood floors, use a suitable adapter to avoid scratching the finish of the wood. It can also happen to your stone glazed tiles.
You might not realize this at first sight, but in time, your floors might look somewhat “wounded” from too much careless vacuuming, and you won’t even know what’s the cause of it.
Vacuuming once a week should prevent any crumbs and dirt to scratch your floors or get impregnated in the very texture of the wood. If you’re not a big fan of vacuuming (we know the struggle), maybe you should consider investing in a vacuum robot to do it for you consistently.
After you’ve vacuumed, dust mopping is the next step. It is essential to dust mop before you damp mop. (yes, there are a lot of “mops” in there). Try to avoid any oil-based dust mops and treatments. They usually leave marks on the floor, no matter how good they are. A dry dust mop or a microfiber cloth will do the job just fine.
2. Damp Mopping
Damp mopping and cleaning solutions are one of the most crucial floor maintenance essentials.
First, you need a clean mop head and clean water. Do not excessively wet the floor, for you will run the risk of living soil and cleaner residue on it. In the case of hardwood, don’t soak the floors. The wood fibers could absorb the water and warp or swell in time, which isn’t good for your flooring.
The main objective of damp mopping is to clean all the soil and the tiny dirt particles that can spoil the finish by causing it to turn yellow or brown over time.
3. Mind the cleaning products
The cleaning product will significantly impact how your floor looks over the years, so choose wisely. There are countless cleaning solutions out there, and they usually depend on the surface finish. It doesn’t matter too much if it’s oak, or walnut, or any other type of hardwood; what matters is the type of finish your hardwood floors have.
As a general rule, avoid oil-based, wax-rich ammoniated products, as they can harm the wood floor finish. As for natural stone tiles, you should also follow the same rule-of-thumb and steer clear of oil-based cleaners. A mild detergent mixed with water will do the trick. You could also be a bit inventive and try some homemade floor cleaner of fresh lemon or vinegar added to the water. It will help remove the soap and alkaline stains from your natural stone floors.
4. Mopping with vinegar. Yes or no?
Since vinegar is an acid, make sure you dilute it well to keep a neutral pH balance in your cleaning solution. Washing floors with vinegar can also deteriorate the finish of your hardwood floor, so don’t do it too often.
It’s true; a homemade floor cleaner with vinegar is cheap and safe for the environment. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant. As a mopping solution, it won’t leave any chemical residue on your floors. However, don’t clean your hardwood floors or stone tiles with vinegar all the time. Try to alternate with other neutral cleaning solutions. Use vinegar from time to time to make sure your floors are clean of the chemical solutions.
The thing is, most pH neutral cleaning solutions won’t remove all the soil and dirt residues from the floor. So you need a combination of acidic and neutral products to do the trick, maybe alternate between them.
5. Entry mats and floor protectors are essential
Entry mats can extend the lifespan of your hardwood floors. They’re good for catching most of the heavy debris and dirt when entering the house. Consider cleaning and changing them periodically.
You could actually play with entry mats and include them in your home, not only at the main entrance but also at points of access from a high-traffic area like the hallway or kitchen to the bedroom or living room.
Floor protectors are also suitable for protecting your hardwood floor from the long-term impact of heavy furniture.
6. Consider rearranging your furniture occasionally
It is always a good idea to reorganize your living spaces from time to time, get that rejuvenating feeling that “it’s a new house”! It also helps your floors, as you share the heavy load more evenly over time.
For more tips and inspiration, see our guide to designing an eclectic living room.
7. Try to clean any little spill instantly, as it happens
Prevention is always better than cure, and it is an integral part of the floor maintenance routine. So, whenever you happen to splatter or spill anything on the floor, try to clean it as quickly as possible.
Do not let the floor stained, thinking you will mop it out over the weekend “anyways”. Dirt particles and soil will deteriorate the surfaces in the long term.
How Important is Floor Maintenance
Floor maintenance is not only about making floors look good, it is also about your safety and comfort. Disinfecting and sanitizing is for your own health. Caring and preventing any unfortunate spills is for your floors’ long lifespan.
Also, consider reorganizing your rooms, move the heavy furniture around periodically so that you evenly spread the load across the whole floor. It can also be fun.
To spark your creativity while also planning for your floor maintenance routine, check out this Vogue’s guide to 2021 Interior Design Trends.
Whether it’s hardwood flooring, or stone tiles or carpet, keep your floors clean, and also healthy, for you don’t change them too often, do you?