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Which Types of Cleaners are Best for Hard-Surface Flooring?

Cleaning your floors? We can help. Here are the types of cleaners to use on tile, hardwood, and others.

Learn which floor cleaners to use on tile, hardwoods, and more

Hard surface floors look beautiful in most homes but keeping them beautiful can be a pain. Flooring like tile, hardwood, stone, and others showcase every piece of dirt you drag in, every scuff, and every crumb. They may be great for preventing devastating spills and stains, but they certainly carry problems of their own.

The good news is that cleaning your hard surface floor is far from impossible. It’s not even that big of a burden. The key is knowing exactly how to clean such floors and understanding what type of cleaners work best for them and why.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at why hard surface floors are unique and what cleaners work best with them.

Know Your Hard Surface Floor

“Hard Surface Floor” is a catch-all term for a floor type that includes tile, hardwood, laminate, and more. There are even variations of each floor type.

Before you start, know what kind of floor you’re working with. For instance, vinyl floors can withstand just about anything, but similar-looking linoleum floors are more vulnerable. A simple online photo comparison of your floors can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

You Can’t Go Wrong With a Microfiber Mop

Regardless of what kind of floor you’re working with, few experts will argue against using a microfiber mop.

“The best way to clean hardwood floors is to use a microfiber dust mop to remove dust, dirt, and whatever other particles were brought into your home,” Melissa Witulski, the business operations manager for Merry Maids, has said about cleaning floors.

Microfiber mops pose no real risk of scratching your floor, are effective, and are fairly affordable to boot (especially if you get one with a washable pad). There’s no real reason not to own one if you regularly clean any hard surface floor.

Don’t Use Water on Your Hard Surface Floor

There are certain hard surface floors that are water-resistant, but cleaning company Kaviac believes traditional mopping is a bad idea.

“Cleaning large, hard-surface floors with a mop is a bad idea...Mopping doesn't really clean at all. Studies show that mops leave behind a significant amount of dirt, soils, and contaminants, possibly leading to cross-contamination," notes Kaviac in an article about how to best clean larger hard surface floors. 

There are so many better water alternatives out there that there’s no real reason to risk using water. If for any reason you do have to use water, make sure that the mop is only damp and not dripping wet.

Get the Right Vacuum For Your Hard Surface Floors

Vacuums are an essential part of any hard surface floor cleaning schedule. However, it’s important that you buy the right vacuum.

If you have a lot of hard surface floors to clean, you can always invest in vacuums designed for such surfaces. Some of the high-end vacuums on the markets tout specific features for flooring or that can easily switch between hard flooring and carpet. If you are on a budget, just make sure that the vacuum you buy isn’t going to scrape your floor. Any vacuum with pieces that hang low or wheels that are not hard surface friendly shouldn’t be a consideration.

Don’t Use the Vinegar Method on Hardwood Floors

You may have heard that using vinegar (or a vinegar/water combination) can be very good for cleaning hard surface floors. It can be, but some argue that you should avoid using vinegar on hardwood floors.

“Don’t use vinegar and water to clean hardwood floors,” advises cleaning company Bona. “Using vinegar and water as a homemade hardwood floor cleaning solution can have a negative effect on your hardwood floor.” 

It’s true that vinegar solutions can work on some floors, but again, there are so many safe, multi-surface cleaners out there that there’s little reason to risk it unless you’re positive that it’s the best option available.

Find the Right Hard Surface Floor Cleaner For Your Floors

Rather than rely on homemade methods, it's best to invest in a good hard-surface floor cleaner. If you're worried about chemicals, there are plenty of environmentally friendly alternatives.

However, it's important to be diligent when choosing the right cleaner for you. There are various excellent cleaners out there, but some only work best on certain types of floors, some are best for restoration, some are designed for deep cleans, and some are specifically made to be as safe as possible for children and pets.

Be sure to check which cleaner best suits your needs in order to ensure you're maximizing your cleaning efforts and not doing damage to your floors.

Ultimately, the most important part of cleaning a hard surface floor is to remain vigilant. Sweep daily, vacuum/mop weekly, and do a deep clean every few months or so. This will help ensure your hard surface floors maintain their brilliance over time.

Resources— Real Simple, Kaivac, Bona

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