The Best Way to Keep Your White Floors Clean
The gallery-white cleanliness of a white floor elevates a space and can bring light into a room. Plus, any color pops in a room with a white floor. To keep it clean, there are some best practices that’ll maintain your floor’s luster and brightness for years, making this statement a lovely choice in your home.
What you’ll need:
- Rag or cleaning cloth (microfiber is recommended)
- Soft bristle broom
- Flat mop
- Dish soap
- White vinegar
- A specialized cleaner for your floor material
- Toothbrush or grout brush
- Baking soda
- Small pencil eraser
- Floor wax
How to keep white floors clean
More important than the particular color of a floor is the material. A kitchen or bathroom might have tile, which is a gorgeous but delicate material, or a more robust linoleum or vinyl. Stone comes in many materials, several of which are white, too.
While you might use bleach to clean white fabrics, bleach is not usually recommended for floors. Neither is ammonia. Matthew Baratta, vice president of operations at Daimer Industries, an industrial cleaning equipment company says, to clean white floors more frequently than darker-colored floors, even daily if you’re noticing they look like they need it. Additionally, “I also recommend wiping up spills immediately because if you let a spill sit on a white floor, it may leave a permanent mark,” he says.
In general, to protect your white floors, consider some well-placed rugs, avoid wearing shoes in the house, and keep up with recommended maintenance. And before any wet cleaning, be sure to sweep up any solid debris using a soft bristle broom. You can also vacuum as a first step or vacuum after sweeping to get corners or extra pet hair and dust.
Here’s how to clean your white floors, depending on the material you have.
Tile can be in many different materials, but because it often has grout, avoid using a sponge, which can get dirty water stuck into the cracks, making the floors look dirty and stay wet longer. And since different materials respond better to different cleaners, it’s important to know what your tile is made of.
- Ceramic. Make a solution of warm water and dish soap. Apply it with a flat mop or cleaning cloth. Make sure to change the water frequently. Let it air dry or use a soft cloth.
- Porcelain. Make a mixture of vinegar and warm water. Apply it with a bristle brush. Get the entire floor wet and let it sit for five to 10 minutes. Rinse with plain warm water and dry immediately with a clean cloth.
To clean the tile grout, make a paste of baking soda and water. Using a grout brush or toothbrush, apply the paste to the grout and scrub gently. Rinse with warm water. Let it air dry or use a soft cloth. You can also try removing stains with a small eraser. For stubborn stains, you can create a bleach solution with three parts water to one part bleach. Apply it with a toothbrush or grout brush, making sure to avoid the tile.
Again, knowing the material of your stone floor is vitally important before picking a cleaning solution. Some respond better to acids, while others are damaged by them.
- Slate does not respond well to acid cleaners like vinegar or citrus. So you’ll need to make a solution of warm water and dish soap or use a specific cleaner for slate. Mop the floor with a damp mop, using the cleaner and changing the water frequently. Rinse with clean water and let air dry or use a soft cloth.
- Granite and marble also don’t respond well to acid and are prone to streaking and discoloration with harsh chemical cleaners. Find a mild pH-neutral cleaner that is approved for granite or marble. Apply it with a spray bottle and clean it with a sponge and warm water. Buff dry with a clean cloth. “Keep in mind that marble is porous and will absorb anything spilled on it,” says Baratta, who recommends consulting with a professional for marble floor stain removal.
A newer trend is to have polished concrete floors inside the home. A more industrial, clean look, these floors should be treated like other stones. Avoid acid and choose a specialized cleaner or a gentle solution. Make sure your concrete is properly sealed and maintained to keep it looking pristine.
Vinyl flooring is very easy to clean, no matter the color. After sweeping, mop with a vinegar solution or vinyl cleaner.
Linoleum looks like vinyl but is a bit more particular. Use a specific linoleum cleaner or a borax solution. “Linoleum is porous and must be sealed when installed, and should be resealed at least once a year with an acrylic sealant,” says Baratta. To maintain linoleum, consider waxing and/or buffing two to three times a year.
Wood can be white, either because it’s been painted or because it’s white bamboo, a gorgeous light material. For all wood, never steam mop or use very wet mops. Also, avoid vinegar and other acidic cleaners. Clean them dry whenever possible or use only a lightly moist mop.