Flooring Care Tips For Carpet, Hardwood and Ceramic
Below each category we have included links to websites where you can find professional help for cleaning your flooring, as well as other answers to common floor care-related problems.
Three steps of Proper Carpet Care:
Carpet cleaning is just like exercise! If you get into a routine and keep it up, you will see great results and feel better for it. And understanding the right way to clean carpet will help you save time by doing it correctly the first time with products that do the job right from the start. Not only will Seal of Approval cleaning products help keep your carpet looking great, they can also help meet the warranty requirements of the carpet manufacturer. Below are three simple steps to keeping your carpet clean and looking great:
- Vacuum at the right frequency with a CRI-approved vacuum.
- Clean spots and spills quickly with products that do not damage the carpet or cause it to resoil quicker.
- Professionally deep clean your carpets every 12 to 18 months to remove embedded dirt and grime.
Stop dirt at the door:
Preventing dirt and grime from getting on the carpet in the first place is a great way to start keeping it clean. The following helpful hints can stop dirt in its tracks.
- Use mats — Outdoor and indoor mats or runners can reduce the amount of dirt that enters the house.
- Take off your shoes — You can save wear and tear on carpet by asking everyone to take off his or her shoes before entering your home.
- Change your air filters — Change air filters in your heating and air-conditioning systems as recommended by the manufacturer’s directions. The more dust and particles removed by the filter, the less that fall on the carpet.
Cleaning Spots And Spills:
With today’s stain-resistant carpet, treating spots and stains has never been easier. The key is to act quickly! The longer you wait, the higher the probability that a spill will become a permanent stain. No carpet is completely stainproof. So to knock out spots, give them a one-two punch.
Step One: Absorb the Spill
- Blot liquids with a dry, white absorbent cloth or plain white paper towels (no prints or colors). Use of a printed or colored material may transfer ink or dye to your damp carpet.
- Start at the outside of the spot and continue toward the center to prevent the stain from spreading. Continue step one until the area is barely damp. Semisolids, like food spills, may need to be scooped up with a spoon. Solid, dried bits can be vacuumed up. Warning: do not scrub or use a brush. Scrubbing and brushes can damage the carpet. Fraying and texture change is the likely result.
Step Two: Treat the Spot or Stain
- Use a CRI Seal of Approval carpet cleaning product. Though these have been laboratory tested, you should still pretest any cleaner on a scrap of carpet or in a hidden area of your carpet.
- Follow the product’s directions carefully. Apply a small amount of the cleaner to a white cloth and work in gently, from the edges to the center. Blot; don’t scrub. Never use a brush. You may need to do this several times to remove the spot.
When cleaning stains and spills, don’t become overzealous. Mix the cleaning solutions according to the directions. In truth, more is not better. Don’t use too much water; try to keep the carpet as dry as possible. And always remember to pretest the product on an inconspicuous spot of carpet.
What if you don’t have a CRI-approved carpet cleaner handy? Try one of these homemade remedies:
- Use plain water. Surprisingly, water often works better than untested carpet cleaners do.
- Use a detergent solution. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of a clear (nonbleach, nonlanolin) dishwashing liquid with one cup of warm water. Never use laundry detergent; it may contain bleach or simply be too harsh.
- Use a white vinegar solution. Mix one cup white (not red wine or cider) vinegar with 1 cup of water. White vinegar (5 percent acetic acid) is sometimes effective on tannins (weak vegetable dyes found in tea and coffee), and it leaves no residue. However, be careful because acids can set some other dye stains.
Special tips for pet owners:
Do you have a pet? About 70 million U.S. households do, and that’s a 35 percent increase from 1988, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. You can combat pet odors and stains in many ways:
- Vacuum carpet more frequently to capture pet hair and dander from your pet’s fur.
- Use CRI Seal of Approval cleaning products that are specifically designed for pet stains and odors.
- Clean up new messes promptly and then follow the steps for spot and stain removal outlined in the “Removing Spots and Stains”.
- Use small hand extractors for a quick cleanup of pet accidents but remember that these quick clean ups don’t take the place of periodic deep cleaning.
- Have your carpet professionally cleaned every 12 months, or more frequently if necessary. Some carpet manufacturers are now making this a requirement of keeping your warranty in force.
- Don’t use a steam cleaner when dealing with urine spots because the heat will set the stain and the smell. Extracting the spill with a wet-vacuum and rinsing with cool water will reduce the odor. If necessary, call in certified carpet cleaning firms that know how to remove pet stains and odor permanently.
- If you do not have a Seal of Approval certified cleaner handy, you can download CRI’s Spot Solver to learn how spots and spills can be cleaned with common household solutions, such as hot water with a little detergent, vinegar or ammonia.
Hardwood & Laminate Care
Proper care and maintenance will help ensure your floor always looks its best. Simply follow the maintenance steps and floor care tips outlined below.
Following installation, clean with appropriate manufacturers Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner. If the floor was glued down, remove any residual adhesive with the appropriate adhesive remover.
Ongoing Routine Care and Maintenance:
• Vacuum, sweep or dust mop your floor once a week, or more if needed. The vacuum head must be brush or felt, and a wand attachment is preferable. Do not use vacuums with beater bars or hard heads. A hardwood floor swivel-head mop with microfiber or terry cloth cover is also highly recommended to eliminate finer particles of grit and dirt that can act like sandpaper on hardwood floors.
• Spills and tracked-in dirt should be wiped up immediately. For spot cleaning, apply Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner onto a clean cloth and rub onto the spot. Never apply wax treatments to your urethane-coated floor.
• Periodically, as necessary, thoroughly clean the floor with Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner and a hardwood floor swivel-head mop with microfiber or terry cloth cover. Spray the floor cleaner directly onto the floor or dampen the swivel-head mop and apply. DO NOT allow excess Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner to remain on the floor’s surface. Excess liquid may damage the fiber of the wood.
• Use interior and exterior doormats at all entrances to collect dirt and moisture and prevent it from being tracked onto the floor.
• Area rugs are recommended in front of kitchen sinks, at all pivot points and within high-traffic areas. Do not use rugs with solid rubber or vinyl backings. The rugs must be made of a breathable material to prevent moisture entrapment.
• Never clean or wet mop with water. Water may permanently damage the floor.
• Never use any of the following products (or products similar in nature) on your floor: ammonia-based cleaners, acrylic finishes, wax-based products, detergents, bleach, polishes, oil soap, abrasive cleaning soaps, or acidic materials such as vinegar.Many of these products can pit or etch the finish of your flooring or prevent the proper use of recommended maintenance materials.
• Keep animal nails trimmed to minimize finish scratches.
• Do not damage your floor with shoes having heel taps or sharp objects protruding from the sole such as rocks, exposed nails and gravel.
• Avoid walking on wood floors with spike- or stiletto-heeled shoes. Spike or stiletto high-heels must be properly maintained to prevent damage from the steel heel support.
• Do not roll or slide heavy objects directly upon the floor. When moving appliances or heavy furniture, consider laying a solid protective covering on your floor and gently “walk” the item across it. Carpet or cardboard is not adequate to prevent surface compression scratches.
• Use furniture leg protector pads under all furniture and make certain to keep them clean and well maintained.
• Replace hard, narrow furniture rollers with wide rubber rollers.
• Keep the relative humidity in your home between 35% and 55%.
• Protect your floor from direct sunlight. Use curtains and UV resistant film on large glass doors and windows.
Quick Fix Tips
Chewing Gum, Candle Wax:
- Apply a sealed plastic bag filled with ice on top of the deposit.
- Wait until deposit becomes brittle enough to crumble off.
- After deposit has been removed, clean entire area with appropriate Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner.
- Use Touch-Up Kit supplied by your retailer in smaller areas.
- Individual planks, strips or parquets that are heavily gouged or damaged can be replaced.
Note: The first step in maintenance is the sealing of the tile (if necessary) and the grout (if necessary). Generally, glazed tile requires no sealer. Some unglazed tile requires no sealer. Know the type of tile you are installing. Test it with a small amount of water. If it darkens, it needs to be sealed.
Generally, cementitious grouts require sealing while specialty grouts like epoxy and furans do not. If the grout darkens with water, it needs a sealer.
Immediately wipe up spills and messes. Use pH balanced cleaners for daily cleaning. Agitate grout joints with a soft bristled brush to loosen debris. Thoroughly rinse, dry, and polish cleaned areas.
Acid cleaners will eventually erode the grout in the joints making cleaning and maintenance more and more problematic. This is especially true if using acid cleaners on sanded grout installations.
This is due to the tendency of acid cleaners to eat away at the smaller aggregates first leaving the larger stain attracting aggregates behind.
Colored grout pigment can be permanently damaged by using acidic cleaners. This is especially true if used on a daily basis.
Resilient Care (Vinyl & Cork)
To keep the lasting shine and fresh feel of your investment for as long as possible, we recommend that you…
- Wipe up spills as soon as possible. Remove dried spills with manufacturers cleaner on a white cloth.
- Wash your floor occasionally with manufacturers recommended no-rinse floor cleaner.
- Use an extra-strength floor stripper for heavy duty cleaning if needed as recommended by manufacturer.
- Use manufacturers recommended Floor Finish to return your floor’s original shine if it begins to dull over time.
- Use detergents, abrasive cleaners or “mop and shine” products – they may leave a dull film on your floor.
- Use paste wax or solvent-based polishes.
- Use a beater bar when vacuuming because it can visibly damage the floor surface.
- Use highly abrasive scrubbing tools.
PROACTIVE PROTECTION FOR YOUR FLOOR
- When moving appliances or heavy furniture, lay a plywood panel on your floor and “walk” the item across it. This protects your floor from scuffing and tears.
- Use floor protectors on furniture to reduce indentation. As a general rule of thumb, the heavier the item, the wider the floor protector needed.
- Be careful with rolling casters. They can damage the floor. Therefore, we do not recommend them. If you choose to use them, the double wheel type are the best option.
- Place a walk-off mat at outside entrances to reduce the amount of dirt brought into your home. We do not recommend the use of rubber- or latex-backed mats because the chemical (antioxidant) used to keep the backing from becoming brittle can permanently stain your floor. We suggest a nonstaining vinyl-backed mat or a woven rug that is colorfast. Most of these products are identified “colorfast” by the manufacturer.
IMMEDIATELY AFTER INSTALLATION
- For 8 hours after seam application (vinyl floors), protect the sealed seams on your flooring. This will ensure the proper seam bond. If your seams are disturbed before they’re dry, permanent damage may result.
- Maintain room temperature at 65 degrees Fahrenheit for 48 hours after installation is completed. This assures proper curing, setting and bonding of products.
- Use a damp sponge, cloth, or mop to wipe off any logos printed on the face of the floor. Be careful not to wipe across any seams.
- The adhesive under your floor needs time to thoroughly dry after installation. Therefore we recommend that you do not scrub or wash your floor for five days.