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

Updated: Mar. 04, 2024

Most homes contain a variety of flooring types. Knowing how to best clean each surface can be a lot to keep track of, so use this guide to clean all of the flooring types in your home.

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how to clean tile floors
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How To Clean Floors of All Types

The first step to cleaning floors is preventing stains in the first place. Keep your floors clean by removing shoes at the door, using door mats and lightly cleaning regularly. These habits will make it easier when it’s time to deep clean your floors. Here are our tips for cleaning some of the most common types of residential flooring.

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Cleaning Carpet Flooring
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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. 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.
  • 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.
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Cleaning Hardwood Flooring
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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 floor 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.
  • 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. Check out these expert tips to disinfect your hardwood floors.
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Cleaning Tile Flooring
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Cleaning Tile Flooring

  • Clean tile floors 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
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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 vinyl 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 rubbing alcohol.
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Cleaning Concrete Flooring
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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.
If you’re planning to renovate your house, then check out these tips on how to remove tile from concrete floor.

Or, also check out the best garage floor tile options for your specific needs.

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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.