Eeeek! Do Not Use That On Your Floors.
When it comes to flooring, there are a lot of options in the shopper’s market. Regarding likes and looks, everyone has their own preferences. Not all flooring is the same to maintain nor does it have the same cleaning needs.
I spent years thinking it was okay to use vinegar and water to clean my hardwood floors. My ex-mother-in-law also bought me a steam mop for our hardwood floors in my first home. Little did I know, I was not properly cleaning and maintaining my floors with these methods. It wasn’t until I became a professional cleaning technician, operating my own cleaning company, that I learned that I was doing it all wrong.
The largest consideration I take into account with flooring when I go into a home during their free consultation walkthrough is: what type is it? Some flooring such as wood or natural stone (marble, terrazzo, river rock, slate, etc.) can only handle a pH level that is neutral. With so many cleaners on the market, and gadgets to clean your floors, how do you know which one is right for your floor type?
When performing my client walk-through, I always take note of whether it’s bamboo, vinyl, linoleum, cork, hardwood, natural stone, etc. Also, if it is wood, what kind of finish is it or is it unfinished?
When it comes to cleaning hardwood flooring, you never want to use a steam mop. In so many cleaning forums, I see that the homeowner wants the cleaning service to use their steam mop on their beautiful hardwood floors. I was once that homeowner, too, but now I know better. The reason steam mops are not a good choice for hardwood floors is because when water soaks into wood, it can cause permanent damage. Essentially, the steam mop is cleaning your floors with water and heat that is over 120 degrees or higher. When water soaks into the wood grain it causes the wood to expand, discolour, and often warp.
When there are cracks or scratches on your hardwood floors it makes your floors more vulnerable to having that water penetrate in and cause these effects. Steam mops are meant for flooring such as ceramic tile or tiles that are not porous or unglazed. It’s controversial whether steam mops are okay for linoleum as the heat may over time ruin the adhesive. It may cause it to bubble or corners to peel from the heat.
In conclusion, steam mops are not for hardwood, laminate, porous or unglazed tiles or stone.
Vinegar and water used to be the old fashion way to wash hardwood flooring but it is actually not good for the wood, either. Vinegar pH levels are around 2-3, which is acidic. Over time, the acids from vinegar will break down the floorings sheen, or finish, and leave it looking dull. Vinegar also should never be used on natural stone or porous surfaces, due to its high acidic nature.
All hardwood floors should be washed with a cleaning product that has a neutral pH base. Your safest and most inexpensive bet is a mild neutral pH soap diluted in water. When you wash the floors, make sure any standing water is wiped up and not left sitting.
When It comes to special cares and products to use on your floors, you can always contact the flooring company. As flooring experts, they will have specific knowledge and cleaners for your flooring type.
When I am in a client's home doing floors, my first step is to dust mop the area using a microfiber head or sweep, depending on the floor’s type. Having the right tools is very important to nicely maintain clean floors. If a soft brush vacuum is available, I will use this on the hardwood floors, as it shouldn’t scratch unlike a beater bar on a vacuum. However, be mindful with vacuum wheels, as they can scratch, too.
When I mop my client's floors, I use the floor cleaner the flooring company recommends or a mild, neutral pH, plant-based cleanser, diluted with water. I gently spray a small amount and use my microfiber wet mop. On hardwood floors, I always make sure to mop with the grain. On bathroom tile floors, such as ceramic, I will use a steam mop, vinegar and water, or my mild, plant-based, diluted cleanser. Once finished, I typically do a walk-through to ensure that all the wetness has been mopped up, as you never want water standing, especially on wood, vinyl or natural stone.