WOOD FLOORS: PENETRATING FINISH
A floor with a penetrating finish will have more of a matte finish and you may be able to feel the grain of the wood—these floors are protected by the oil or wax that has sunk into the wood, like oil. Penetrating finishes include resins or sealers such as Danish oils and penetrating seals, and oil finishes such as linseed oil and tung oil.
• (Ever) use a water based cleaner on a penetrating finish floor.
• Don’t use cleaners specified for a surface finish, they can turn a penetrating finish cloudy.
• Cleaners recommended for a penetrating finish are solvent-based. Use a natural citrus solvent rather than a mineral spirit or turpentine based cleaner. Spray a light film on the floor and dry mop with a microfiber or regular dust mop.
• Spills should be wiped up immediately with a lightly water dampened cloth and then hand buffed dry.
• To remove white spots caused by water spills, use the finest steel wool and a small amount of natural citrus solvent, rub gently in a circular motion until spot is gone. Then apply a bit of jojoba oil to the area and buff.
The top layer of laminate flooring is a hard melamine wear layer over a layer of printed paper—it is very durable and very easy to clean. Basically you should follow manufacturer’s directions, but avoid their cleaning products—you don’t need them.
• Don’t use soap-based cleaners or “mop and shine” products—they will make the floor cloudy.
• Don’t use abrasive cleaners, steel wool, or scouring powder, which can scratch you floor.
• Don’t wax or polish your floor.
• Vacuum, use a dust mop or wipe with a damp cloth.
• For spills, wipe with a cloth or sponge.
These are the softer floors and include vinyl, linoleum, and cork. Linoleum is often confused with vinyl, but they are very different materials. Vinyl is synthetic, while real linoleum is made from natural ingredients (wood flour, rosins, ground limestone, powdered cork, pigments, jute, and linseed oil).
• Don’t use solvent-base products, they can soften and damage resilient flooring.
• Don’t scour the floor. For tough stains, make a paste of baking powder and gently wipe with a wet rag.
• Sweep, dust mop or vacuum frequently.
• Damp mop with a mild all natural liquid dish detergent and warm water.
• Damp mop with a 1/2 cup of vinegar added to the water to rinse and increase shine.
• Remove scuffs by dipping a sponge in jojoba oil and rubbing lightly—then wipe.
CERAMIC TILE FLOORS
Smart advice from The Old House Web is to pre-wet a ceramic tile floor before using any cleaners. The water saturates the porous tile and prevents the cleaning agents from penetrating into the tile body. Floor tiles should be always rinsed thoroughly after cleaning.
• Don’t use harsh abrasive cleaners that might scratch the glaze.
• Don’t use acid-based cleaning solutions because they can damage the complex silicates in a glaze.
• Regular maintenance should include sweeping, or preferably dry or damp mopping or vacuuming to reduce grit.
• Always start with the gentlest method possible, which may be as simple as warm water.
• Damp-mop ceramic tile with a low pH mild detergent. Dry the floor with a soft cloth to avoid streaks.