Flooring should last for years. Homeowners investing in new flooring do not want to replace floors too frequently, and keeping floors looking like new takes effort and maintenance.
Sweep and Clean
Begin by thoroughly sweeping or vacuuming the floor. Clean along all surfaces of the floor, including under furniture where dust and dirt tends to accumulate. Use the hard-floor setting on a vacuum to avoid having the brush rolls scratch or damage the flooring. Laminate can scratch easily and hardwood flooring is not impervious to dings and scratches. Quite often a dry mop or a static-charged mopping cloth effectively picks up debris left behind on many flooring surfaces.
Although many commercial cleaners can clean flooring, homemade mopping solutions are sometimes just as effective. Keep in mind that wood, laminate and vinyl should not be soaked in water. A little liquid can go a long way on these surfaces. Water and other liquids can seep between laminate and wood boards, potentially contributing to swelling and damage over time. Also, resist the urge to use too much soap. Soap can leave behind a residue that dulls the finish of the floor.
Vinegar-based solutions can work well on a wide variety of flooring types and help cut through any sticky residue left behind from cooking, cleaning and the activities of daily life. Many wood-flooring cleaners and polishes are oil-based to condition the wood in the process. Whenever making one’s own solution, test a small amount in an inconspicuous spot to make sure it will not damage the flooring.
Another way to prolong the life of flooring is to protect it from wear and tear. Removing shoes before walking indoors can help. Avoid high heels and athletic cleats, which can create divots in hardwood and some other types of flooring. Place indoor and outdoor mats at the entrances of the home to catch any dirt that would be ground into the flooring. Furniture protectors will help prevent scratches from furniture feet while moving pieces around a room.
Remember to wipe up spills when they occur to prevent the formation of stains. These steps can keep floors in top form and prevent premature aging or damage. Floors that are in especially bad shape may need professional restoration or replacement.