In many cultures, it is common practice for homeowners and guests alike to shed their shoes at the door. Were this habit more widespread in the United States, our floors would certainly thank us. Mud, sand, water, and not to mention a host of pollutants, including pesticides, fertilizers, and pollen, would never make it over the threshold. If a no shoes policy isn’t practical in your household, doormats, both inside and outside the door, are the next best line of defense. This alone can add years to your floors. Even with the best precautions, however, some dirt will get in, and once it does, the best remedy is a good mopping. Cleaning is an endless cycle, and floor care may be the most relentless, but a little vigilance goes a long way thats why we give you the Mopping 101 guide.
Knowing your surface is key here, and I can’t go over the requirements of every floor. But hardwood floors are pretty easy; a solution of a half cup distilled vinegar to around a gallon of warm (or even hot) water is good. I’ve also used Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Soap (peppermint) with water as well; I like the smell of the peppermint on the floor! Some people may recommend mopping afterwards with clean, warm water to remove any soap residue, but I don’t bother doing that with the vinegar solution as it will evaporate.
And if your floor isn’t that dirty, you can actually get away with just using warm water to mop. If you have spots of grime or other dirt on the floor, you should pre-treat those with an appropriate cleaning solution to loosen them up. I’ll work on really tough spots with a plastic putty knife; it’s effective and won’t damage your surfaces if you don’t get too crazy with it.
You can also use the vinegar and water solution to clean most tile floors, linoleum, and other surfaces; vinegar has antibacterial properties and will help keep germs from getting too chummy with your floors. Again, knowing your surface is key- if you have marble floors, don’t use vinegar on it! Vinegar is acidic and can corrode a marble surface if it’s left for too long on it.
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