Proper care of your floor prevents damage, extends its life and keeps it looking new for years. How do you properly care for your flooring?
If you enjoy going barefoot or even if you don't, kick your shoes off at the door. Why remove your shoes? If you have a rough board that needs smoothing you grab a sheet of sandpaper for the job. Guess what's on the bottom of your shoes? Sand and dirt grind away at the surface of your floor causing an early death.
A closer look at the bottoms of those shoes and you'll find oil, dirt and heaven only knows how many tidbits of left over dog deposits. Small wonder why your floors stubbornly refuse to come clean. Do wear slippers or socks inside. The oil from the bottom of your feet also dirties the surface.
Always vacuum or dust hard floor surfaces before mopping.
Use only warm water on marble floors. The mild acid in vinegar damages marble surfaces. Again, wring out all excess moisture from a towel and damp mop. Immediately follow with a dry towel. Always dry marble floors, they spot easily.
Ceramic Tile and Slate
Clean tile and slate with warm water only. Prevention becomes essential with these floor surfaces. Regularly apply a sealant found in tile stores to slate, tile and especially the grout. Clean spills immediately.
Cleaning stains out of grout can test your patience. The porous nature of grout means liquid cleaners seep right through. First thoroughly spray a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water directly on the spot. Let that set 15 minutes and repeat. Do not use this mixture on colored grout. Peroxide is bleach, safe but nonetheless bleach. It removes the color from colored grout.
If the stain refuses to budge, soak a heavy-duty paper towel with straight peroxide laying the towel on top of the stain. Cover the towel with plastic wrap to prevent the peroxide from drying out quickly. The towel holds the peroxide on the surface giving it time to dissolve the stain. If that doesn't work, mix a paste of straight peroxide and baking soda. Allow the bubbling to subside. Apply to the stain and let it set. Re-spray with peroxide as it dries out.
Shaving cream sprayed on stains also does a good job removing them. If your grout is colored test an inconspicuous spot first. Tile stores now carry a cleaner stick that resembles chalk. It is safe to use on colored grout and works wonders. After you remove the stains from the grout, seal them.
Mary Findley spent 12 years professionally cleaning homes and answers your questions as moderator of our DoItYourself.com Cleaning Forum.