Easy, Cheap and Green Cleaning Tips for Floors

Make your floors look like new again with these simple techniques for cleaning tile, hardwood and vinyl.

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Caring for Hardwood Floors Hardwood pine floors are swept with a natural broom.

How to Clean Tile, Wood and Vinyl Floors

  • Ceramic-tile floors can be cleaned easily with nothing but warm water, but be sure to sweep or vacuum first to remove any loose soil or grit. Never use a sponge mop to clean ceramic-tile floors. It will pull the dirt right into the grout tracks. This makes the floor more difficult to clean. A micro-fiber mop picks up all the dirt that a sponge mop leaves behind. Pour the ingredients into a bucket and use a rag or micro-fiber mop to clean. If you do use a rag and the on-your-hands-and-knees method, be sure to wipe in a circular motion across the floor. Don't forget the cabinets and baseboards. If you have really dirty grout, use a brush.

  • Use boiling water and two teabags to clean hardwood floors. The tannic acid in tea creates a beautiful shine for hardwood floors. Let two teabags steep in the boiling water for a few minutes. Pour the tea into a bucket. Take a soft cloth and wring it out in the tea. The cloth merely needs to be damp, not soaked. This will enable the floor to dry quickly. Wash the floor and be ready to be amazed by the sheen.

  • If there are scratches that stand out after cleaning the hardwood floor, simply take a crayon the color of the floor and rub it on the scratch to fill the gap. Turn a blow dryer on high, heat the area where the crayon was applied and buff it with a soft cloth.

  • Clean the vinyl floors. Mix Borax in a bucket of warm water and wash the floor.

  • Remove hairspray residue from hard surfaces with a solution of one part fabric softener and two parts water.

  • For stains on concrete floors, try laundry detergent, pre-treat stain solutions or dishwasher detergent. Let the solution soak for about 30 minutes then scrub.

    How to Clean Floor Grout

  • Caring for Hardwood Floors

  • Many stains are on the surface of the grout and can be removed with sandpaper. Just fold the sandpaper into a crease, and work it back and forth along the grout line. If sandpaper doesn't work, you may have better results by applying a pencil eraser.
  • If sandpaper or an eraser fails to remove the stains and dirt, try an over-the-counter grout cleaner -- or create a similar solution from household bleach and water. Squirt or pour the solution onto the grout, and scrub with a toothbrush. Make sure the area is well ventilated, and wear rubber or latex gloves when working with bleach.

  • Caring for Hardwood Floors

  • If bleach doesn't do the job, you may need to remove and replace the grout. Use a grout-removal tool or a rotary tool with a carbide tip. After you install new grout, seal it with a grout sealer to reduce the likelihood of future stains setting in. Reapply sealer once every two years.

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