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Start Caring About Your Flooring

Sep 7, 2007
Taking the proper care of your floors will keep them looking their best and will help them last longer.

Carpet Care

* Vacuum at least once a week!

When dirt and dust are left in a carpet, they become gritty, sharp particles that grind down the pile of the carpet.

Using a vacuum with a beater bar or rotating brush will loosen the dirt making it easier for the vacuum to remove soil. Vacuums with top-loading bags are preferred over bottom-loading bags.

* Change the disposable bag or empty the vacuum often.

Carpet with thick loop pile construction (Berber) may be sensitive to brushing, rubbing, or scraping of the pile surface which may cause fuzzing and pile distortion. It is recommended that vacuums with suction action only be used on these styles.

Carpet sweepers and electric brooms are useful for picking up crumbs and surface soil, but it is important to know that they will not deep clean.

* Use preventative maintenance

It is important to use runners at each entry to the home. This will greatly reduce the accumulation of dirt on your flooring.

Clean Spots and Spills Immediately! For best results, give prompt attention to spots and spills.

* Use a spoon or dull knife to remove solid materials.

* Blot up liquid spills with a white towel.

* Never rub, scrub, or use a brush. This may cause damage to carpet fibers.

* Use a cleaning agent and procedure appropriate for the type of stain being removed.

* Apply all cleaning agents to the cloth rather than directly to the stained area to avoid saturating the carpet when spot cleaning.

* Clean the fibers, not the backing.

* Do not rush. Deep stains might require repeat cleanings because they can "wick" back up after initial cleaning.

* Work from the outside to the center of large stains. This prevents spreading.

Your carpet should be professionally cleaned at least every 12 to 18 months depending on traffic in your home.

Hardwood Care

Take good care of your hardwood floors and they will last a lifetime.

* Water and hardwood floors do not mix! Use only the manufacturers recommended cleaning products on your hardwood floor.

* Small stones, mud and gritty dirt tracked in from outside can scratch the finish of your wood floor. To help combat this, use long bristle welcome mats placed at all outside entrances for people to wipe their feet on before entering onto the floors. Also, vacuum using a soft bristle brush attachment.

* Narrow wheels, sharp wooden legs or metal furniture legs can scratch and dent hardwood floors. Any furniture that rests directly on top of a hardwood floor should have felt protectors, or furniture coasters under all legs.

* There are many over the counter oil-based soaps and wax based cleaning products that may damage or dull the finish of your wood floor. Only use the manufacturers recommended cleaning products on your hardwood flooring.

* If your hardwood floor has a polyurethane finish never use a paste wax on the floors surface. A paste wax may form a sticky film on your floor and allow tracked in dirt to stick to your wood finish. Wax will not adhere to a polyurethane finish and may make re-application of polyurethane difficult.

* When accidents occur and liquid is spilled on your hardwood floor, use a slightly damp white cloth, or paper towel to immediately clean up and dry the affected area. For more difficult spots, follow the manufacturers recommended cleaning procedures.

Laminate Care

Although Laminate floors are tough, you should follow these directions to keep them in good shape.

* Remove loose dirt by using a non-beater bar vacuum or a dust mop.

* With a damp mop or cloth, clean your laminate flooring once a week with a vinegar solution (1/4 cup of white vinegar to 2 gallons of clean tap water) or a nonabrasive household cleaner, such as ammonia and water solution. Do not saturate the flooring.

* Do not use abrasive cleaners, steel wool, soap-based detergents, waxes, polishes, or scouring powder as they may scratch or dull the flooring surface.

* Wipe up spills immediately. Avoid allowing liquids to stand on your flooring.

* A more frequent dust mopping or vacuuming schedule may be required in high traffic or sandy areas.

* For tough spots, such as candle wax or chewing gum, harden the spot with ice and then gently scrape the spot with a plastic scraper. Even a credit card will do. Be careful not to scratch the flooring surface. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.

* Do not use any type of buffing machine.

* Use protective mats at the entry and exits to help collect the dirt and moisture that could damage the laminate floor.

* Use floor protectors or glides under furniture legs.

* Frequent vacuuming using a non-beater bar will pick up dirt and grime.

Glazed Ceramic Tile Care

Glazed ceramic tile requires less floor care than most other flooring types. However, there are things you need to do to maintain the beauty of your ceramic tile floor.

* Wash the floor regularly to remove any dirt or grit. Use a water-based all purpose cleaner. Stay away from cleaners containing acid or bleach. Acidic cleaners, even a light solution of vinegar and water, will etch and eventually damage tile and grout.

* Sweep, dust mop or vacuum your glazed tile regularly.

* Ammonia based cleaners may discolor some types of colored grout. Acidic cleaners will also cause cementitious grout to deteriorate and strip the pigmentation from colored grout.

* After washing with a water-based cleaner you should thoroughly rinse the floor with clean, warm water.

* The glazed ceramic finish should never be waxed.

* Liquids spills may be wiped up with an all-purpose cleaner. This will also help the grout joints from becoming discolored from spilled liquids.

* Non-epoxy grout joints should be treated with a water-based grout sealer to simplify maintenance and prevent discoloration from spilled liquids.

Vinyl Care

* Vacuum regularly to remove grit and sand. Wash your floor occasionally with the recommended floor cleaner.

* Wipe up spills immediately. If necessary, clean with the recommended cleaner. You can also clean with lukewarm water and clear ammonia.

* If your floor becomes dull looking you may need to add the recommended floor polish to restore the original gloss level. First, try cleaning with lukewarm water and clear ammonia to see if there is a film on your floor causing the dullness.

* Never use abrasive cleaners, soaps, paste waxes, or solvents on your vinyl floor.

* Place non-staining, walk-off mats or carpet runners at every outside entry to your room. This will help keep sand and grit from being tracked on to your floor.

Area Rug Care

Regular vacuuming will help rugs retain their beauty and will extend the life of the rug.

Clean spills immediately with the following method: blot with a clean cloth, spot clean with a solution of clear dish washing detergent (non-bleach) and water, rinse with water, and blot dry.

When necessary, have your area rug professionally cleaned periodically using the hot water extraction method.

Window Covering Care

MiniBlinds: Vacuum with a soft brush attachment or dust with a feather duster or lambs-wool duster or tool for blinds.

Vertical Blinds: Vacuum carefully with the brush attachment used for draperies, or clean with a lambs-wool duster. If fabric-covered, spot-clean only; do not use soap and water.

Wood Blinds: Dust with vacuum or lambs-wool duster. For occasional deep cleaning, use a wood cleaner such as oil soap. Do not use soap and water on wood blinds.

Wood Shutters: Dust natural wood shutters. If painted, wash in place. Cover the floor and sill with plastic or a drop cloth. Use a brush dipped in detergent and water. Rinse and dry with a cotton cloth.
About the Author
Shane Hester has been helping website owners increase online profits through exclusive webdesign and marketing services at WebFirstCreations.
See his companies latest creation: FloorsToGo Flooring Center or contact him directly at WebFirstCreations.com.
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