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Nothing is more satisfying than a freshly-cleaned floor that shines like new. On the flip side, nothing is more aggravating than mopping for hours only to spot several streaks and spots on the ground. You bought the recommended brand of cleaner and used a top-of-the-line mop — so what went wrong?
Actually, there’s plenty of room for error when it comes to deep-cleaning your floors. From innocent mistakes to egregious errors that could ruin that gorgeous hardwood, here’s a list of things to avoid if you want to achieve a shiny, streak-free finish.
Forgetting to sweep first
Not sweeping the floor before breaking out the mop and bucket is a rookie mistake and most people know better. Obviously, it’s going to be difficult to achieve a smooth, sleek shine on a surface that’s riddled with dirt, grime or hair. And don’t assume that just because a floor looks clean it doesn’t need to be swept first. You might be surprised at all the dust you’ll scoop up on an otherwise clean-looking floor.
Using the wrong solution
A product may claim to leave your floors bright and shiny, but if it’s not the right kind of solution for your flooring type, you could end up with a cloudy mess. Jessica Bennett of Better Homes and Gardens recommends speaking with your flooring manufacturer for tips on cleaning specific floor types.
“But if your flooring isn’t new, or you can’t consult the manufacturer, pick a product that is specifically made for cleaning wood floors,” Bennett says. The same goes for other flooring types.
Bleach is a disinfecting favorite among many homeowners because it’s the no-nonsense cleaner that obliterates virtually every germ in its path. However, it can be just as harsh on your floors — especially on porous surfaces like hardwood.
“While bleach will likely disinfect porous surfaces, it’s possible that you could damage the wood or the finish, discoloring it or getting into the actual wood and damaging it,” Susan Richardson, Ph.D., and a professor of chemistry at the University of South Carolina tells Apartment Therapy.
Too many chemicals
Before you dump extra cleaning solution into the bucket to make up for your lack of mopping in a while, you should know that overdoing it may make your floor look worse. You could end up with an excess of product that will leave your floors looking streaky at best or damaged at worst. Definitely follow the instructions for proper dilution to avoid this problem.
Too much water
On the other hand, you don’t want to go overboard with water, either. “A mop that’s too wet will also merely swish the dirt around, instead of lifting it off the floor—and will leave water marks as it dries,” says Alexandra Churchill, writing for expert homemaker Martha Stewart.
If an overly wet mop only swishes around the mess, a dirty mop is even worse. The problem is that many people neglect to swap out or clean their mops before finishing a floor, so they end up using a grimy mop for half of the job. If you notice your mop turning an unsightly brown or black color, it’s a good sign that it’s time to pause and rinse it out.
Dirty mop water
Yes, lugging around a big bucket of water everywhere is a pain. But trying to clean your floor with dirty water is an even bigger pain because you’re ultimately wasting your time by spreading the mess around further. Instead of trying to tackle the whole floor with the same bucket of water, start with a small amount of water for a small area. That way, you can easily refill your bucket with fresh water when needed.
Don’t expect a flawless finish if you leave your floors to air dry! Just as you’d wipe down your windows and mirrors right after cleaning them, wiping your floors immediately after mopping will help you achieve that streak-free shine. Once again, working in small sections is effective because you can focus on thoroughly cleaning and drying one small area at a time.
Time for new flooring?
The good news is that with proper upkeep, hardwood floors can last up to 100 years, according to Nick Gerhardt of The Family Handyman. But there are other types of flooring — such as vinyl and tile — that serve their purpose long before that. These might need to be replaced every 20 to 50 years. So, if you inherited your grandmother’s house, it may be time for a flooring update.
When you’ve done all you can to care for and maintain your floors, you might find that you’re simply ready for a clean slate in certain rooms — or the whole house! If so, Giant Carpet One has a wide selection of flooring to fit your needs and preferences for every space in your home. Browse through the options online or find a store near you at giantcarpetone.com.