Tips for Cleaning Different Types of Hard-Surface Floors

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Home Improvement
Dirt and grime are constantly brought into our homes on our shoes, making it necessary to clean our floors frequently. However, cleaning different types of hard-surface floors requires different methods. It is important to know what kind of floor you have before beginning the cleaning process to avoid damaging the surface. This article provides useful tips and guidelines for cleaning a variety of hard-surface floors, including asphalt tile and wood floors.

A Powerful Solution for Tough Dirt and Grime
If you are dealing with extra-tough dirt and grime on floors made of asphalt, glazed or unglazed ceramic tile, concrete, flagstone, or slate, try this solution:

  • Mix 1⁄4 cup of low-sudsing, all-purpose cleaner, 1 cup of ammonia, and 1⁄2 gallon of cool or cold water. Be sure to wear rubber gloves and work in a well-ventilated area when using this powerful solution.
  • Apply the solution to the floor with a sponge mop, using pressure for heavily soiled areas. Rinse with cool, clear water for spotless results.
  • Dry the floor with a soft cloth.

Cleaning and maintaining asphalt tile floors requires regular damp-mopping to prevent dirt buildup, as well as using a cleaning solution that can withstand damp-mopping. Excess water should be avoided, as it can seep into the seams and damage the adhesive. Heel marks can be removed by using fine-grade steel wool dipped in liquid floor wax. Brick floors, on the other hand, require sealing and waxing to keep them in good condition. A commercial sealer is needed for brick floors, and solvent-based wax should be used to avoid buildup. Wax buildup can be removed using a wax-stripping product, but acids, strong soaps, and abrasives should not be used to clean brick floors. For a quick and inexpensive solution, a homemade solution containing low-sudsing, all-purpose cleaner, clear ammonia, and water can be used to clean and strip the floor.

The article discusses how to maintain and clean ceramic tile and concrete floors. Glazed ceramic tile is resistant to stains, but unglazed tile is porous and needs to be sealed to prevent stains. Never use abrasive cleaners on glazed tiles and avoid using acids, strong soaps, or abrasives on unglazed ceramic tiles. To clean ceramic tile floors, use an all-purpose cleaner and dry with a soft cloth. Apply car wax to sparkle tile walls and countertops. Strip wax buildup on unglazed tile floors once a year. Concrete floors are also porous and require sealing to prevent stains. Sweep loose dirt and wash with an all-purpose cleaning solution or homemade solution. Use kitty litter to absorb oil and grease stains on garage floors. Sweep dirt and dust, spread kitty litter and rinse with a garden hose. Tough dirt can be removed with a stiff broom or jet of water.

Once you have removed loose surface dirt from your garage floor, use the Heavy-Duty Floor Cleaner outlined in the previous section. This cleaner is just as effective as commercial heavy-duty cleaners but is much more affordable. Using a sponge mop, apply the cleaner to the concrete floor and apply pressure to heavily soiled areas. Rinse with cool water to achieve a spotless finish and then allow the floor to dry.

Next, we’ll move on to flagstone and slate, two other porous surfaces. Flagstone and slate are both natural-stone flooring materials that have rough, porous surfaces and are set into grout. These floors must be sealed with a commercial sealer and not with lacquer or varnish. The best way to seal a flagstone or slate floor is to use a commercial sealer for terrazzo and slate. Once this has dried, apply two thin coats of an acrylic floor finish using a long-handle wax applicator fitted with a lamb’s wool pad. Alternatively, paste wax can be applied using a floor-polishing machine. To do this, spread a small amount of paste wax directly onto the brushes of the polisher and then slowly operate it back and forth to apply a thin coat of wax. Once dry, buff the floor.

A self-polishing liquid will build up on your floor over time, and you’ll occasionally need to strip the wax buildup and rewax. After applying the stripper according to the manufacturer’s directions, rinse the floor thoroughly with clear water and then apply wax. Damp-mop flagstone or slate floors using clear water, an all-purpose cleaning solution, or water to which fabric softener has been added. Wring the mop until it no longer drips and then apply it to the floor in slow, even strokes. If the freshly mopped floor dries with a luster-dulling film, you can mop it again with water containing a cup of white vinegar to make the floor glisten.

Linoleum, thankfully, is easy to maintain as long as it has been waxed. Once it has been waxed, the only regular maintenance required is vacuuming and an occasional swipe with a damp mop.

Here are some tips for cleaning different types of floors:

– To bring up the shine on linoleum floors, add a cup of vinegar to the mop water. You can delay rewaxing until it’s necessary. To remove heel marks, use fine-grade steel wool dipped in liquid floor wax, and wipe with a damp cloth. Avoid using solvent-base products, scouring, flooding with water, or using very hot water, as they can damage linoleum floors. The best way to clean a linoleum floor is to mop it with an all-purpose cleaner, rinse, and apply two thin coats of self-polishing liquid.

– Marble floors can be very beautiful if cared for correctly. Nonpolished marble is porous and stains easily, so it must be sealed with a commercial sealer. Don’t use varnish or lacquer, as they peel off quickly. Polished marble is less porous but can still be stained, so a commercial marble sealer is recommended. To clean marble floors, damp-mop them with clear water, an all-purpose cleaning solution in warm water, or a mixture of 1 cup fabric softener and 1/2 gallon water. Self-polishing liquid wax is a fast, shiny finish for marble. Occasionally strip the wax buildup and rewax. Use either a water-base self-polishing wax or a paste wax, but test the paste wax in a corner to see if it will discolor the flooring.

– Quarry tile floors require up to three coats of sealer and further protection by wax. They are very porous and readily soak up stains. Seal them with a commercial sealer for terrazzo and slate, then apply two thin coats of an acrylic floor finish. Use a wax applicator fitted with a lamb’s wool pad or apply paste wax with a floor-polishing machine. To keep them looking new, damp-mop them occasionally after vacuuming. If the mopped floor dries with a luster-dulling film, restore the shine by mopping it again with water containing a cup of white vinegar. To strip the wax, use a commercial wax-stripping product with a floor-scrubbing machine that has a brush attachment.

Remember to take care when cleaning different types of floors to avoid damage and keep them looking beautiful.


  • For stubborn spots, use a nonabrasive powder and a synthetic scouring pad. Rinse the floor thoroughly with clear water.
  • Never use scouring pads, strong soaps, or hot water on a vinyl floor. These can damage the surface.
  • Overall, it’s important to carefully clean and maintain different types of flooring to ensure their longevity and appearance. By following these tips, you can keep your floors looking great for years to come.

    To clean a vinyl floor, avoid using water as it may seep into the seams and loosen the adhesives holding the flooring down. Instead, use an all-purpose cleaner dissolved in water for an old or non-no-wax vinyl floor. After cleaning, rinse the tile with clear water and apply two thin coats of a self-polishing floor finish. Wood floors add a touch of class to your home, but require regular care. The product used to seal a wood floor determines how it can be cared for. Only polyurethane requires no further treatment. Solvent-based cleaners and polishes should be used for varnished, shellacked, or lacquered floors, but should be avoided for floors treated with polyurethane. A one-step cleaner/polish is the fastest way to clean these floors, while a liquid wood-floor cleaner with a dry wax applicator is the best for long-lasting shine. It’s important to meet the distinct cleaning needs of each surface for long-lasting floors that shine.


    1. What is the best way to clean hardwood floors?

    The best way to clean hardwood floors is to use a microfiber mop or a soft-bristled broom to sweep away dust and debris. For deeper cleaning, use a damp mop with a hardwood floor cleaner that is specifically formulated for your type of hardwood floors. Avoid using harsh chemicals or excessive water that can damage the wood. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test the cleaner in a small, inconspicuous area before using it on the entire floor.

    2. How often should I clean my floors?

    It is recommended to clean your floors at least once a week, or more frequently if you have pets or children who track in dirt and debris. However, the frequency of cleaning may depend on the type of flooring and the amount of foot traffic it receives. For example, high-traffic areas may require more frequent cleaning to maintain their appearance and durability.

    3. Can I use vinegar to clean my floors?

    Yes, you can use vinegar to clean floors, but it is important to dilute it properly and avoid using it on certain types of flooring. For example, vinegar can damage hardwood floors over time, so it is best to use a cleaner that is specifically formulated for hardwood. If you want to use vinegar, mix it with a gallon of warm water and use it to mop tile, linoleum, or vinyl floors.

    4. How do I remove stains from my floors?

    The best way to remove stains from floors depends on the type of flooring and the type of stain. For example, a grease stain on a hardwood floor may require a different cleaning method than a red wine stain on a carpet. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions or a professional cleaner for specific advice on how to remove stains from your floors.

    5. How can I prevent scratches on my floors?

    To prevent scratches on floors, avoid wearing shoes indoors and place felt pads under furniture legs. If you have pets, keep their nails trimmed and train them to avoid scratching floors. Use a soft-bristled broom or a microfiber mop to sweep away debris, and avoid using abrasive cleaners or tools that can scratch the surface of the flooring.

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