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  • Writer's pictureTamara Dale

A lesson in cleaning different kinds of flooring.

There are many differences in flooring. Whether you’re looking at vinyl, ceramic or porcelain tiles, epoxy or polished concrete, one thing they have in common is that they all need to be cleaned. Here we’ll discuss the different methods of cleaning each of the flooring options.

For vinyl flooring, one of the best things you can do is protect it with a doormat to sweep the dirt off your feet before it can come inside. This means less time sweeping, fewer problems with the finish of the vinyl, and less yellowing of the flooring.

Another key to keeping it in good shape is to keep it clean. A good idea is to get in the habit of sweeping nightly after cleaning the kitchen. Daily sweeping will get rid of dirt particles that will scratch the vinyl and begin to wear down the finish.

When it comes to preventing scratching and wear down, heavy items are a beast. They can dent vinyl flooring and damage it when moved. A good way to prevent this is to fit furniture and appliances with floor protectors, which you can find at hardware stores and home improvement centers.

Rolling casters, such as on the bottom of chairs, are also a good way to damage the vinyl. Instead, consider felt tips that won’t harm the tile.

For ceramic and porcelain tile floors, which are very durable, there are a few things that will keep them looking clean.

First, you need to clean loose debris by sweeping or vacuuming the floors regularly to keep them from getting dull. Ceramic tiles may be resistant to dirt, but sand and other particles can dull the surface. Second, choose the right mop and cleaner. Using a mild detergent with clean water and a rag or chamois-type mop. You also need to change the cleaning solution often.

Also, be on the look out for stains. If you find one, try to figure out what caused it and research the best way to clean it. In addition to stains, you must deal with soap residue that will cause your floor to be cloudy or hazy. Also, you need to dry the tiles after cleaning or water spots will form.

For stone tile floors, it depends on the kind of stone. It could be slate, granite or marble, but each has its own needs when it comes to cleaning.

For slate tiles, you need a detergent with no acidic properties like lemon or vinegar, if it’s a coated slate tile, you also need to dry it right away, similar to ceramic or porcelain tiles.

Marble tile is beautiful, but also high maintenance. You need to stay clear of cleaners with acidic ingredients because they will etch the surface of the tile. Also stay away from anything that will scratch the tile, like brushes with hard bristles or scouring powders.

Granite tile, like slate and marble needs to be cleaned with an acid free cleaner. A harsh cleaner risks leaving streaks or discolorations on the floor. Also, you may need to buff the floor to keep it shiny and clean.

Tile grout also needs to be cleaned regularly because it is very porous and absorbs grease and other stains. The best way to clean it is with simple baking soda and water. Rub it on the stain and let sit over-night, then brush with a stiff nylon brush. But be careful not to scratch the tiles themselves. A silicone-based sealer can also be applied to repel stains but is best done within 2 weeks of the grout being installed.

Epoxy flooring is a bit easier to clean. Simply sweep away the dirt and debris, then mop with warm water and a good mop. For heavier cleaning, sweep and clean any spills or grit or grime, the use a hard foam mop and warm/hot water. Afterwards you can use a clear ammonia/water mix for a second mopping. Using a degreaser/water solution is also recommended to prevent film build-up. For some stains, like rust, you can lightly scrub with a kitchen scrubbing sponge or soft brush.

For harsher spills, like oil or chemicals, wipe up the mess. Don’t let it sit on the floor too long. Epoxy floors are easily maintained and keep for years.

Polished concrete is another easy to clean option. Simply use a microfiber pad to sweep the area and use clean water and mops. Don’t let spills sit on the floor as they could be absorbed into the concrete. If you choose to use a cleaner, use one that is PH-balanced. Don’t use cleaners with Ammonia, citrus cleaners, bleaches, pine-based cleaners and vinegar.

As you can see, epoxy and polished concrete flooring are the best options when it comes to ease of cleaning. With proper maintenance and care, you can extend the life of you floor for decades to come.

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