While the winter snow may make for some beautiful scenery outside, the snow and ice can wreak havoc on all types of home flooring. Even the most durable floors are susceptible to long-term damage from dirty footprints and snowy puddles, but there are steps you can take to keep floors clean through all the wintry weather that Mother Nature throws at us.
The logical first step is to keep all the snow, ice, and gravel before it reaches the floors. Clean sidewalks and driveways as thoroughly as possible. Use salt to thaw remaining ice and snow. Put down doormats outside all doors to catch the snow, ice, and salt. The latter can be one of the chief causes of damage and dirty floors.
Put down rugs.
Interior rugs are a great way to add interest to a room, but they are also a safeguard that protects floors from damage. Place rugs by all exterior doors and in high-traffic areas, such as hallways and foyers. If you have pets in the home, train them to stop on mats and rugs inside the doors (before they track it in). Clean off their paws with a towel or rag (and any other parts that are covered in snow and mud) to minimize the mess.
Regularly sweep away debris.
When dragged along the floor, gravel, salt, and ice can scratch the floor. Lessen your risk by regularly sweeping hard floors or vacuuming carpet to remove the debris (or include it on the list of tasks for your home cleaner, along with a dry mop). Be careful about cleaning tools that push the debris into the floor; this can also cause scratches on hard flooring.
Salt and dirt can build up on hard floors, leaving a residue that can wear down the floor finish and wear down flooring. After removing debris with a good sweep (this prevents scratching), do a dry mop with a cleaner to remove any build-up. Choose the floor cleaner carefully; some cleaners may void the floor warranty, while others may not remove salt residue.
Schedule a floor deep cleaning.
All flooring, hard and carpeting, needs a regular deep clean. For carpet, a deep clean can remove allergens and revitalize carpet fibers. A tile cleaning removes stains from grout and makes tile look like new. Though deep cleaning is not complicated, it does take time. If you’d rather leave the job to the professionals, schedule a floor deep cleaning.
Hardwood floors need a deep clean to keep them from looking dingy, though the exact cleaner for a deep clean depends on the floor finish. Vinegar (diluted in water) has long been touted as the ultimate hardwood floor cleaner, but should only be used after consulting the manufacturer. If it is not recommended, don’t use it because vinegar can damage the floor finish. When deep cleaning hardwood floor, always be careful about not leaving puddles on the floor. Water left on the floor can permanently damage and stain the floor; use fans and dehumidifiers to control the humidity and prevent damage.