Spick and span – the perfect way to clean your floor

A mop (this one uses a microfibre pad from Leifheit) is the best way to carry out damp wiping on smooth floors

A clean and shiny floor is the fundamental basis for a cosy home. But floor coverings need to be cared for in different ways.

Balls of fluff under the sofa are not only unsightly, they also represent a health risk for crawling infants and allergy sufferers. Therefore, regular floor care is essential for people who want to feel completely at home in their own four walls. Smooth surfaces, of course, are the easiest to clean.

Use a well wrung-out cloth or mop

With tiled and natural stone floors, regular damp wiping is the recommended way to ensure maximum standards of hygiene. This also applies to flooring made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride — now often referred to as vinyl floors), laminate, parquet, linoleum and cork. But make sure you don’t dilute it with an excessive amount of water. For all floors with timber content (core board), moist wiping is key to avoiding any potential damage. So go easy on the water and wring the cloth out firmly before you use it.

As a general rule, mop laminate, linoleum and cork solely with clean water. However, if there is an excessive amount of dirt, the synthetic and linoleum floor coverings can tolerate a few drops of neutral soap or wax-free cleaning agent added to the cleaning bucket. Not cork though. In addition to a damp wipe with clean water, cork floors should periodically be given a fresh coating of wax (except for vinyl-coated cork). A general distinction needs to be made between open-pore floors (usually made of natural materials) and those with closed surfaces. And please read the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions before you start work – a standard cleaning agent from your local DIY store or supermarket is not usually the recommended cleaning product. While we’re on the subject, damp wiping with cold water (not hot) leaves fewer smears and streaks. However, check whether any cleaning product you are using works well with cold water.

Durable and easy to clean

Selecting the right type of care for wooden floors depends on the individual surface. In the case of sealed floors, a parquet cleaner can make them look shiny and robust again. Use wood soap to give oiled parquet floors a fresh coating, but parquet cleaner can be applied here as well. Whichever cleaning method you choose, an oiled surface should be re-oiled once or twice every year. If you’re not confident about doing this yourself, then revert to a reliable expert or care system that uses a similar method to that of damp wiping.

Tiles and natural stone floors are among the coverings that are easiest to clean, and therefore ideal for allergy sufferers. Assuming they are damp wiped on a regular basis, these floors are an inhospitable habitat for dust mites and other tiny pests, and will stay clean and hygienic for long periods. Although robust ceramic flooring is able to withstand spatters of grease in the kitchen or droplets of nail polish remover in the bathroom, floors made of travertine, limestone of marble are not particularly resistant to acids. Unless you want a red wine stain as a permanent souvenir, impregnating these surfaces is definitely recommended. Add a few drops of a stone cleaning agent to your cleaning water from time to time.

Vacuuming for basic cleaning purposes

On smooth surfaces, a vacuum cleaner will take care of basic cleaning. Often enough, no additional damp wiping is necessary.

Carpeted floors present more difficulties. While vacuuming is able to remove dirt from short-pile carpets relatively easily, this is not the case with long-pile carpets. Synthetic fibres such as polypropylene make carpets more resistant to dirt and easier to take care of. This also applies to pure wool – its natural fat content and the structure of its fibres stops liquids penetrating too deeply and ensures solid dirt particles remain on the surface.

But whatever type of carpet you have, heavy soiling requires the application of carpet foam. For cleaning any expensive hallway runners, area rugs or oriental carpets, you should always call on the services of a specialist company. When cleaning shag or deep-pile, vacuum at the lowest setting only – or resort to careful use of a good old-fashioned carpet beater. A particularly gentle method, and often a more effective one, is to flip the rug over and vacuum the underside.

An article by Tanja Müller

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