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How to Clean Floors: Wood, Tile, Carpet and Everything Else

Most homes contain a variety of flooring types?carpet, hardwood, tile, vinyl and concrete. Knowing how to best clean each type of surface can be a lot to keep track of, so use this guide for quick tips to best clean all of the flooring types in your home.

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Cleaning Carpet FlooringFamily Handyman

Cleaning Carpet Flooring

  • To reduce buildup in your carpet, vacuum weekly or more often in high-traffic areas. Investing in a good vacuum for your type of carpet and lifestyle can make a big difference, choose the right vacuum with this buying guide. Remember to empty the canister or change the bag regularly for maximum suction power.
  • Get a deep clean once a year by hiring a professional carpet cleaning company. Or DIY by renting a steam cleaner from your local grocery store or home center. Use these tips to determine which method is right for you.
  • Address stains as soon as possible. Try using only water first, by repeatedly dampening and blotting the carpet with a clean terrycloth towel?often this alone will remove a stain if addressed quickly and won't leave a chemical residue. For more stubborn stains, try these stain-specific methods.

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Cleaning Hardwood Flooring

Cleaning Hardwood Flooring

  • For everyday cleaning, vacuum or sweep dry dust and dirt first, followed by a wet mop or microfiber cloth using a natural, plant-based cleaner. Harsh chemicals can wear away at your hardwood's finish over time, and should only be used if absolutely necessary.
  • For a natural hardwood cleaner you can make at home, mix 1/2 cup vinegar with 1 gallon of water. Or try these natural methods.
  • If your wood flooring is beginning to gap between boards, maintain your hardwood's durability by plugging these holes with wood filler, sanding and refinishing the spot. This will not only repair your flooring, but eliminate tiny dirt collectors.

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Cleaning Tile FlooringFamily Handyman

Cleaning Tile Flooring

  • Weekly, vacuum or sweep dry dirt first, followed by a wet mop or microfiber cloth using a tile- and grout-friendly cleaner.
  • Use a clean mop and make sure the cleaner is diluted correctly so it doesn't leave residue on your tile. If necessary, make a second pass with water only.
  • For stained grout, use a toothbrush or scrub brush to clean with a grout-specific cleaner or a combination of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. If that doesn't do the trick, try a grout colorant to whiten grimy grout.

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Cleaning Vinyl Flooring

Cleaning Vinyl Flooring

  • For everyday cleaning, vacuum or sweep dry dust and dirt first, followed by a wet mop or microfiber cloth using a vinyl-specific cleaner. Chemical cleaners not made for vinyl can eat away at your flooring's durable coating over time and even discolor or stain.
  • Shoe scuff marks can be easily erased by an item that's probably already in your garage. Rub a dry, clean tennis ball over the scuff mark to remove instantly.
  • For tougher stains, try using this inexpensive household staple, rubbing alcohol.

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Cleaning Concrete FlooringFamily Handyman

Cleaning Concrete Flooring

  • Most often found in the garage, concrete flooring can be maintained by an occasional dry sweep, followed by a pressure washer or water and a hard-bristle broom to remove surface dirt.
  • To remove paint stains on your concrete floor, use a paint stripper, much like you would use on wood. For oil-based stains, use an absorbent solvent like Pour-N-Restore?apply, let dry and sweep.
  • It's easiest to keep a smooth surface clean, fix a pitted garage floor by resurfacing your cement.

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General Flooring Cleaning Tips

General Flooring Cleaning Tips

  • Use a doormat to catch 85 percent of dirt that walks into the home. A coarse doormat outdoors, and an absorbent doormat indoors is the perfect combination, and will reduce indoor cleaning greatly.
  • Avoid multi-surface cleaners. Use cleaners specifically made for each flooring type and make sure to rinse out your mop or change to a clean cloth as you transition from one flooring type to another.
  • Try microfiber cleaning cloths instead of a traditional cotton mop or rag. They are inexpensive, easy to use and proven to clean better, check out the science behind this material.