6 Things to Never Use on Your Floors

6 Things to Never Use on Your Floors

Flooring is an investment. Taking care of that investment means being aware of what does and doesn’t hurt the new flooring that you have put into your home. While each type of flooring has its own idiosyncrasies, the following five items are harmful to pretty much every type of flooring.

Too Much Water
Water, when used sparingly, is the best way of cleaning most every type of flooring, but too much water is just as likely to destroy a carpet as it is a wood floor. Too much of a good thing can be destructive.

Never wet mop a wood floor. Wood flooring that has absorbed too much water will buckle. Steam cleaning can be equally damaging. Use a cleaner made just for floors, like BONA.

Laminate, cork, vinyl, and linoleum are also susceptible to damage from too much water. While the surface is sealed, the seams are vulnerable to excess moisture. If water gets between the seems and under the tiles or planks it will cause splitting and puckering.

Over watered carpet will stretch out of shape, pucker, and weaken. And, amazingly, it will hold more dirt after it has dried.

Water in excess can also damage tile by soaking into the grout and weakening the adhesives, this can in turn rot the flooring underneath.

Bleach
Think of what happens when you drop bleach on fabric. Your black fabric is suddenly white.  It can do the same thing to flooring. It will discolor carpet, wood, laminate, linoleum and cork. Once bleached, the exposed flooring will have to be replaced.

Ammonia
Ammonia, like vinegar and lemon, will discolor the surface, etch into the finish, and remove the sheen of wood, laminate, vinyl, linoleum, and cork. It is often mentioned in earth friendly cleaning mixtures as causing no harm, but flooring manufacturers advise against using ammonia.

Tile is the exception to this rule. A blend of ammonia, vinegar, and borax can be used on tile to remove soap scum, and return the shine to a tile floor or wall.

Steel Wool
Unless your goal is to strip a floor or remove tile grout, steel wool is a big no-no. In the past steal wool has been used on floors to get rid of hard to remove stains, like lipstick or ink. Don’t bring out the highly abrasive scrubber, instead use acetone, also known as nail polish remover.

Also, if you ever have to use a scraper (which is great to remove gum), make sure to use a plastic one, not a metal one.

Abrasive Cleansers
Cleansers with any kind of grit in them are going to destroy your floor. Grit is like a diamond cutting glass. It will slice into your floor destroying the protective coating, mar the finish, and slice into the surface.

Cleaners like Mr. Clean are chemically abrasive and they

 will remove the protective sealant on flooring.

Also, while scrubbing a carpet seems like a good thing to do when you have a hard to remove stain, scrubbing actually damages the fibers and makes the rug more susceptible to dirt. So 86 the abrasive carpet cleansers as well.

Products advertised to refresh the smell of your carpets actually create a film on carpet fibers, which in turn attract dirt. While your carpet may smell better, it is actually less clean.

Oily Cleansers
 Cleansers like oil soap and Mop and Glow (which contains a polymer) will actually destroy most types of flooring. If used on a cork floor, the entire floor will have to be replaced as it soaks into the grain causes it to discolor.

So What Should You Do?

  1. Have carpets professionally cleaned. 
  2. Use the BONA system on hardwood floors. You can go over them initially with an almost dry cloth attached to the bottom of a BONA or SWIFTER “mop” handle. Then let the floor dry completely before applying the BONA. For more information about how to protect your wood floors, the article How to Protect Floors from Cold Weather offers a number of cleaning tips.
  3. Never use a string wet mop or a sponge mop. The best mop to use on most flooring is a Libman mopping system with replaceable heads. The head can be thrown into the wash or replaced with a new one if there is any grit.
  4. There are special cleansers made for each type of flooring. Your local flooring store, like City Tile in Murfreesboro, will carry the professional strength versions of these cleansers.
  5. Always check your flooring manufacturer’s website before using any cleanser or environmentally safe cleaning formula found on line. Technology has changed a lot of ways flooring is made today. Many of the “old time” cleaning remedies do not mix well with the chemistry of new finishes and even composition of a floor.
 
Good cleaning and good floors!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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