Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sparkle, Sparkle little floor

Sure, you vacuum, you sweep, you mop... but when is the last time you really gave any thought to the correct way to clean your floors? You probably just rely on the same methods your Mom used and she did the same things her Mom did... Times have changed... Flooring has changed and maybe the method you’re used to using can be updated.

Many of our homes have carpet on the floors - We do (although I longingly dream of the days when the kids are older and we can rip up that carpeting in lieu of some beautifully polished hardwood.) To keep your carpet looking great, it's important to vacuum regularly (daily in the traffic lanes if you can). Be sure you are using a quality vacuum cleaner and replace that bag when it's only half full (more than half and you'll lose suction.) Freshen up those floors occasionally by sprinkling a little baking soda onto the rug, sweeping it in with the broom and letting it sit for half an hour or so - then just vacuum it up and 'voila, fresh clean carpeting. If you and your guests wear shoes in the house or you have pets, your carpeting needs to be steam cleaned at least twice a year. It's okay to have a "do it yourself" job once a year, but the other cleaning should be done by the professionals. If you don't allow shoes on the rugs and are pet-free, then a once a year cleaning is all you need. Try to refrain from wearing your shoes on your carpeting - you'd be amazed at all the dirt that is tracked in on the bottoms of those tootsies! Re-arrange the furniture occasionally, that way the "traffic lanes" will change and a wear pattern won't be created in your carpeting.

Want to have a perfectly clean rug without all the work? Check out the Roomba (it’s a little robot friend that comes out and vacuums for you every day!).

Vinyl Flooring:
Vinyl flooring is a popular choice in many kitchens and bathrooms as it's easy to care for and economically priced. Care is easy - mop that floor with a gentle cleanser - (I like Mrs. Meyrs Clean Day All Purpose Cleaners) using your favorite mop. There are so many mops to choose from... roller mops, wringer mops, squeeze mops... whatever you prefer is fine - I'm really loving the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Mop - it's a regular mop with a layer of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on it so it's a breeze to scrub away scuff marks and grime! Be sure to mop often and to rinse the mop well and let it dry when you're done to prevent the build-up of bacteria. Don't use rugs on your vinyl floors that have rubber backs. The chemical in the rubber that keeps it from getting brittle can stain the floor leaving an ugly yellow stain where the rug was that is almost impossible to remove.

My favorite formula for cleaning my kitchen floor:  2 gallons hot water, 1 tablespoon dishwashing soap, 1/2 cup white vinegar & 1/2 cup baking soda - mix together & mop away.  This formula is cheap & works great!

Hardwood and Laminate:
If you're lucky enough to have hardwood or laminate floors, your daily care is minimal. Dust mop daily with a microfiber or swiffer dustmop (you may need to use your dustbuster to vacuum up any sand or gritty materials that you've swept up.) Use protectors under the legs of furniture to protect the floor from being scratched or dented. You can damp-mop hardwoods as long as you remember the key word "damp" - too much water will damage your wood floors and then you'll be calling in a professional to fix the damage.

When the floors are sparkling and fresh, it just makes your whole house feel cleaner - so make a date with that mop or vacuum and spiff up those floors!

Helpful (and fun) Hint: Want to clean that vinyl kitchen floor and have a little fun at the same time? Grab a couple of pads for a "Swiffer Wet Jet" put one under each foot and with a spray bottle full of whatever you would usually use to clean the floor - spray your floor and "skate" around the kitchen with the swiffer pads under your feet... Before you know it, your floor will be sparkling (and you'll have had a great time too!)

More Ideas for your Floors:

Clean spots from your carpet with shaving cream- Apply a blob to the spot and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Rub with a damp cloth and wipe clean

To remove stubborn scuff marks, rub with white toothpaste before mopping.

Crayon/marker on tile and floors: To remove from tiled walls or vinyl surfaces, apply a little toothpaste and rub with a soft cloth. Persistent scuff-marks on linoleum can often be removed by rubbing them with toothpaste

Before having your carpets cleaned, sweep them with a broom. This will help to loosen any dirt before cleaning.

Are your carpets musty? Don’t shell out for those expensive, artificially scented carpet fresheners… Make your own with baking soda – if you want to add scent, try filling a ziptop bag with baking soda and adding a few drops of essential oil. Work the oil into the baking soda until the soda is again, granular and no globs of the oil are left in the baking soda. Sprinkle onto the carpet, let it set for ½ hour and then vacuum it up… fresh and clean!

To make your own carpet cleaner, mix equal parts salt and baking soda. Add several drops of white vinegar and enough water to make a paste. Check the carpet for color-fastness, then apply paste to the stain and let it sit. When it's dry, brush away residue. The stain should disappear with the residue. (For particularly nasty stains, scrub when applying the paste.)

Red wine on carpet or fabric: Immediately cover the stain liberally with club soda. For carpets, you can also rub with waterless hand cleaner. In either case, if the stain persists, dab it with hydrogen peroxide and rinse with cold water. If all else fails, try cream of tartar paste.

Try Baby Wipes to quickly clean stains from your carpet

Have a greasy stain on your carpet? Sprinkle well with cornstarch, let set overnight - then vacuum up.

A great way to clean your broom in the winter is to take it outside and sweep it through a snow bank a couple of times.

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