Housekeeping Tips 2

August 23, 2011   ·   By   ·   No Comments   ·   Posted in News, Residential Cleaning

Cleaning Floors & Countertops For Best Effects

Solutions Underfoot
Nothing shows dirt faster in your home than the floor. Whatever kind (or combination) of flooring you have, there’s a proper way to keep it clean. Here are some tips from the cleaning experts at Park-Ellis ServiceMaster.

Vinyl Flooring
Sweep your floors regularly to keep abrasive soil off the surface. Good floor mats inside and outside your entrances will help prevent dirt from being tracked in. Also on a regular basis, damp mop using a gallon of water and a mild neutral cleaner, such as a dash of liquid dishwashing detergent. Wait a little while after mopping to allow the cleaning liquid to penetrate the ground-in dirt, then wipe dry with a soft dry cloth.

If you need to loosen stubborn, ground-in dirt, scrub your floor gently with a white nylon-backed sponge. When time allows, scrubbing on your hands and knees yields the best results.

No-wax Floors
Over time, and particularly with heavy use, the glossy layer of no-wax floors becomes worn or dull in spots. It will need to be covered with a floor finish or wax to restore a uniform shine. If you have a new no-wax floor and no kids, little other traffic, and you don’t wear shoes inside, you can keep it looking great for years without wax. However, if you have a lot of activity and tracked-in dirt, or if your floor is showing signs of wear, keep it waxed to protect it from further deterioration.

You can select a name-brand floor polish at the supermarket, or buy a self-polishing, metal-interlock floor finish from a janitorial supply store. After the initial waxing, re-coat the major traffic areas as needed to maintain a good protective layer. Whether you opt to wax your floor or not, sweeping and mopping as described above are important.

Ceramic Tile Floors
Sweep and mop your ceramic floors regularly, and they’ll stay clean and shiny. Ceramic floors do not need any wax or floor finish. Simply mop with clear water (or add a few drops of liquid dish detergent) and change the water when it gets cloudy. Using too much soap or dirty water will leave a dull, sticky film. Also, never use brown or black nylon-backed scrub pads on ceramic tile, or you will scratch the surface.

Wood Floors
The best thing you can do for any wood floor is to vacuum or dust mop it regularly. This prevents dirt from building up and damaging the floor. Certain treated wood floors require specific cleaning methods, so check with a flooring specialist first before using any cleaning products. However, you can mix ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar into a gallon of warm water to make a mild floor cleaning solution for wood floors. To clean the floor with this solution:

  1. Dip a soft white cleaning cloth into the solution and squeeze out most of the liquid.
  2. Get on your hands and knees and wipe the floor without getting it wet.
  3. Work on a small area at a time.
  4. Immediately buff dry each area after you clean it with a soft dry cloth to bring out the luster. Do not allow wood floors to get too wet or to dry on their own.

If you have finished wood floors, eventually the finish will come off with wear. Very likely, you will need to refinish the floors or begin waxing them.

Indoor/Outdoor Carpeting
Indoor/outdoor carpets and Astroturf™ are completely synthetic, so they are easy to clean and difficult to damage. Because they are used outside, they tend to attract mold or growths that feed on the soil in the carpet. Here are some tips from ServiceMaster Clean for cleaning these materials:

  1. Mix no more than ½ to 1 ounce of a neutral detergent to each gallon of water.
  2. Apply this cleaning solution to the area to be cleaned.
  3. Scrub with a soft brush or push broom.
  4. Using a nozzle to increase the water pressure, hose off the carpet. The better you rinse, the more soil you will remove. Hot water is more effective if you can get it to your hose.
  5. Use the push broom like a squeegee to push the water and detergent out of the carpet.
    The more moisture in the area, the more frequently organisms will grow, and the more frequently you will have to repeat this process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a fast way to shine wood floors?
Put a piece of waxed paper under your dust mop. Dirt will stick to the mop and the wax will shine your floors.

How should I clean countertops?

  1. Remove everything from the counter and vacuum or dust off all crumbs.
  2. Wet a white nylon-backed sponge with dishwashing detergent solution.
  3. Wash the counter, including the backsplash, with the soft side of the sponge.
  4. Let the solution sit on the surface for a few minutes to soften hard droplets.
  5. Remove any stubborn dirt with the nylon side of the sponge as necessary.
  6. Buff countertops dry with a clean, lint free towel.
  7. If your countertops have lost their luster, use furniture polish or club soda for added shine.

What’s the best way to clean grout?
To clean old grout:

  1. Scrub with a grout brush dipped in wax stripper or a heavy-duty cleaner solution to get it as clean as possible.
  2. Use bleaching cleanser on stubborn spots.
  3. Rinse well.
  4. Once dry, apply a coat of masonry sealer to keep the grout from absorbing stains and dirt in the future.

To clean mildewed grout in tub and shower enclosures:

  1. Scrub with a solution of one part liquid chlorine bleach to five parts water.
  2. Rinse thoroughly.

To clean colored grout:

  1. If the grout is old and dirty, clean it with a heavy-duty, no-bleach cleaner and a grout brush.
  2. Once the grout is clean, apply a coat of masonry sealer to keep it from absorbing future stains and dirt.
  3. If the colored grout is very stained, try a solution of one part liquid chlorine bleach to five parts water, then rinse. Keep in mind that bleach may remove the color along with the stain.

What is the best way to clean marble?
If your polished marble is protected with floor finish, the finish must be buffed or burnished and periodically replaced to keep the surface protected and looking good.

  • Because marble is sensitive and porous, only clean it with a neutral cleaner solution. Polish it dry.
  • Revive scratched and dull surfaces with a marble restorer (available from janitorial supply stores).
  • To remove stains from marble, sprinkle salt on a fresh cut lemon. Rub very lightly over stain. Do not rub hard or you will ruin the polished surface. Wash off with soap and water.

How should I clean my cultured marble?
Cultured marble is stronger than real marble, but it does lose its luster after being cleaned over the years.

  1. Fill a spray bottle with all-purpose or disinfectant cleaner.
  2. Spray the cultured marble surface with this solution and wipe with a soft cloth. Always keep the cultured marble wet while working on it.
    Never use powdered cleansers, steel wool, metal scrapers or colored scrub pads on cultured marble.
  3. If the surface is worn and looks dull even after cleaning, apply polishing compound to bring back the glow.
  4. To help fill fine scratches and restore the shine, use a little appliance wax, car wax or silicone sealer.

If all else fails, call the professionals @ Park-Ellis ServiceMaster (419) 861-9602.

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