Cleaning the floors throughout your home can feel like an impossibly long, thankless task – especially in ‘high traffic’ areas such as hallways, entrances, and landings. No matter how strict you are about taking shoes off at the front door, and no matter how sturdy and hardwearing your floors are, they are bound to get dirty faster than you’d like them to.

However, keeping them clean doesn’t need to be a huge chore. As long as you have the right cleaning products and tools on hand, you can get them done in a jiffy.


Firstly, preventing dirty floors

There are a few tips that apply to every floor type and can help you to stop some dirt and grime getting any further than your front door in the first place.

  • Door mats – ensure you have good quality door mats at both your back and front door, inside and outside if possible. If possible, brush off or beat the dirt out of these a couple of times a week
  • Shoes off’ policy – make sure you enforce a shoe off policy in your house. Take extra care to make sure your children follow this
  • Shoe storage – Add some shoe storage by the front or back door (whichever is used more often). This will help to enforce the shoes off rule, as well as keeping your entrances clean and tidy
  • Don’t wait to clean up spills – this applies to both hardwood floor and carpets. Once you notice a spill or stain, don’t wait to clean it up! Tackling it sooner will save you the headache of trying to remove any unsightly staining later

How to clean the floors in your home

We’ve broken down how to clean each floor type within your house, and the products or tools needed to do so. Remember if you are unsure about using certain products, always ‘spot-test’ them in an inconspicuous area and leave for a while to check for signs of discolouration. Otherwise, follow our handy guide to each floor type: -


Carpets & rugs

Carpet cleaning and rug cleaning can differ, but the main principles are the same. For shaggy rugs and other textured rugs, you’ll need to seek more specific advice.

Cleaning products

There are thousands of carpet cleaning products on the market, but these are products you should always have on hand to keep your carpets in good nick: -

  1. A good vacuum cleaner
  2. A carpet brush (especially handy for pet owners or those with long hair)
  3. Dish soap
  4. Shaving foam (strange one, but it can work wonders to lift stains![i])
  5. Carpet foam
  6. Steam carpet cleaner

General Cleaning

  1. Hoover at least twice a week or as needed. Make sure your hoover has the right settings for your carpet; some may have different settings for different carpet piles or depths.
  2. If your hoover does not have a good brush attachment, brush your carpet in the direction of the pile. This is good for gathering hair and dust that has settled in the carpet. These brushes can be super handy for hard to reach areas[ii]
  3. Deep clean your carpet at least once every 12 months[iii]. You can do this manually, but many people choose to hire or invest in a steam carpet cleaner to get the job done.

Stains

Stain cleaning can depend on what caused the stain, but here are some guidelines for the most common and most stubborn stains. It’s important to remember not to rub or scrub at stains, this can only make them worse. Make sure you ‘dab’ instead.

  • Ink – Ink stains are extremely stubborn, and removal can require repeat treatments. To treat, use isopropyl alcohol and a white cloth. Dab at the ink stain gently, and remove with a liquid friendly vacuum cleaner
  • Red wine – To remove red wine stains, you can either use a paste of water and bicarbonate of soda, or a mixture of white vinegar and dish soap. Apply generously and blot/dab the stain until it lifts
  • Chewing gum – The easiest way to remove chewing gum from carpets and rugs is to freeze it. Place a few pieces of ice in a bag and hold over the gum. Once cold enough, you should be able to snap pieces off & lift away from the carpet
  • Wax – Removing wax from carpets is also temperature reliant. Fold a damp, white towel in half and place over the wax. Place your iron on high over the towel for 10 seconds; this should draw the wax from the carpet and onto the towel

Tiled Flooring

There are many different types of tile floors which may need different cleaning products/methods. Some can be more porous than others, so it’s important to do some extra research to fully understand the needs of your tiles.

Cleaning products

  1. A flat mop
  2. A broom
  3. Cleaning clothes/rags
  4. Microfibre cloths
  5. Dish soap
  6. Bleach
  7. A quality tile & grout cleaner

Ceramic

Ceramic tiles are perfect for high traffic areas, but can become damaged if grit and dirt is not regularly removed. So, how do you maintain ceramic tiles?

  1. Sweep/brush as needed. You may need to do this more frequently in kitchens and dining rooms where crumbs are foodstuffs are likely to fall on the floor. Make sure to use a soft broom[iv] as opposed to a hard bristle broom which is more suitable for gardens
  2. Hoover with a brush attachment
  3. Mop your floor using your chosen product/s at least twice a week, or when needed
  4. Finish up by mopping once more with plain, hot water and leaving your tiles to air dry or use a soft towel to prevent water spots[v]

Porcelain

  1. As with ceramic tiles, sweep or vacuum up any dirt and dust
  2. Avoid using chemicals when mopping the floor. Due to the nature of how porcelain tiles are made, regular use of corrosive chemicals can damage them over time[vi]
  3. Mop with warm water, and only use a mild, diluted detergent every few weeks. Make sure the detergent is completely removed once done
  4. Dry carefully – porcelain tiles are more likely to retain moisture, so it’s important that they are not allowed to become overly wet for prolonged period of time[vii]
  5. Never use steel wools or abrasive materials to clean your tiles
  6. Clean up spills as soon as they occur

Cleaning tile grout

Your grout is just as important as your tiles, and grout can pick up dirt very easily. Thankfully, it’s also easy to clean if you keep on top of it.

  1. Step 1 – Create a mixture of water & bicarbonate of soda. This should be a paste-like consistency. Apply to your tile grout.
  2. Step 2 – Spray vinegar over the areas with the bicarb mixture
  3. Step 3 – Use a toothbrush to scrub away any dirt and grime
  4. Step 4 – Rinse well

Wooden floors

Wooden floors can need a little more love and affection than tiled floors. You may choose to wax, oil and polish your wooden floors to maintain them – but it’s important to clean them on a regular basis regardless.

Cleaning products

  • Soft bristled broom
  • A flat mop
  • Dish soap or floor cleaner

Method

When cleaning wooden floors, remember that water is the enemy of wood. If left to puddle, it can cause the wood to expand and warp[viii]. To avoid this, follow these steps: -

  1. Sweep or hoover your floors well to remove dirt and dust. Do this daily in areas with higher traffic
  2. Mix 4 drops of dish soap or floor cleaner into a bucket of water. Dampen (but don’t soak) your mop)
  3. Mop small sections, allowing one section to dry before moving onto the next

Remember to check any cleaning products you’re unsure of in a small, inconspicuous area (e.g under furniture or under a rug).


References

Ateş, S., n.d. What Is a Carpet Brush? (Intended Purpose, Advantages, Disadvantages, and Recommended Products). [Online]
Available at: https://goodcarpetguide.com/what-is-a-carpet-brush-intended-purpose-advantages-disadvantages-and-recommended-products/
[Accessed November 2020].

Home Depot, n.d. How to Clean Tile Floors. [Online]
Available at: https://www.homedepot.com/c/ah/how-to-clean-tile-floors/9ba683603be9fa5395fab901e3d118fc
[Accessed November 2020].

Lewitin, J., 2020. How to Clean Porcelain Floor Tiles. [Online]
Available at: https://www.thespruce.com/clean-porcelain-floor-tile-1314843
[Accessed November 2020].

Martin, B., 2020. 10 Carpet-Cleaning Secrets From the Pros. [Online]
Available at: https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/interior-projects/how-to/g1414/10-carpet-cleaning-secrets-from-the-pros/
[Accessed November 2020].

Molly Maid, n.d. HOW TO CLEAN CERAMIC TILE. [Online]
Available at: https://www.mollymaid.com/cleaning-tips/bathrooms/how-to-clean-ceramic-tile
[Accessed November 2020].

Pinkham, E., n.d. How to clean hardwood floors the right way. [Online]
Available at: https://www.today.com/home/how-clean-hardwood-floors-101-t71716
[Accessed November 2020].

Prima Porcelain, n.d. 5 Things You Should Know About Cleaning Porcelain Tiles. [Online]
Available at: https://www.primaporcelain.co.uk/news/post/5-things-you-should-know-about-cleaning-porcelain-tiles#:~:text=For%20everyday
[Accessed November 2020].

Rug Doctor, 2019. HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU DEEP CLEAN CARPET AND AREA RUGS?. [Online]
Available at: https://www.rugdoctor.com/how-often-should-you-deep-clean-carpet-and-area-rugs
[Accessed November 2020].


Sources

[i] https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/interior-projects/how-to/g1414/10-carpet-cleaning-secrets-from-the-pros/

[ii] https://goodcarpetguide.com/what-is-a-carpet-brush-intended-purpose-advantages-disadvantages-and-recommended-products/

[iii] https://www.rugdoctor.com/how-often-should-you-deep-clean-carpet-and-area-rugs

[iv] https://www.homedepot.com/c/ah/how-to-clean-tile-floors/9ba683603be9fa5395fab901e3d118fc

[v] https://www.mollymaid.com/cleaning-tips/bathrooms/how-to-clean-ceramic-tile

[vi] https://www.primaporcelain.co.uk/news/post/5-things-you-should-know-about-cleaning-porcelain-tiles#:~:text=For%20everyday

[vii] https://www.thespruce.com/clean-porcelain-floor-tile-1314843

[viii] https://www.today.com/home/how-clean-hardwood-floors-101-t71716