Ultimate Guide to Cleaning and Restoring Floors


Sticky Spots, Stains, Scratches and Smells

floor2The flooring in our homes undoubtedly take the most abuse of any area in the home. We walk on our floors with dirty shoes, slide our furniture around on them, let our furry friends on them, spill food and beverages on them, and put our floors through a number of other harsh conditions.

For these reasons and more, our floors often show some battle scars that we wish they wouldn’t. Not only do the floors show their wounds, but they don’t make it easy to get rid of them. Carpet can hold in stains so well that many of us will give up and accept their presence before we’re able to get them out. Likewise, hardwood flooring can show scratches that seem impossible to cover up.

It probably seems like a battle lost, but armed with the right tools and a little bit of effort, you can win the war on your floor! Do you have stubborn stains or blemishes in your flooring? Below, you’ll find our comprehensive guide of everything you’ll need to defeat those problem areas and bring new life to your floors.


Carpet

 

Pros: Low Maintenance, Comfort, Energy Efficiency

Cons: Easily Stains, Retains Moisture, Holds Allergens

 

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

For the most part, carpet is very easy to clean and maintain. The easy maintenance of carpet is one reason that it is so popular with home owners. To clean your carpets, simply use a quality vacuum cleaner on the carpet at least once per week. The more frequently you can vacuum, the longer your carpet should last, as it will help reduce the risks of buildup in your carpet.

The maintenance and cleaning schedule of the carpet in your home can vary depending on the weather, the color of your carpet, if you have indoor pets, small children and other reasons. To really boost the life of your carpet and keep your carpets as clean as possible, we here at Universal Cleaning Company recommend to our Flower Mound home owners with carpet that they have a professional carpet cleaning company shampoo and steam the carpets once every six months. This will take a lot of work out of  your stain removal duties and will keep your carpet looking new.

 

Stain Removal

Whether your pet has (seemingly permanently) market its territory on your carpet, or you lost your grip on that glass of wine, the stain is likely removable. Pet stains can really smell up the place if left unaddressed, and there’s nothing worse than beautiful white carpet with a giant red wine stain in the center of it.

 

Vinegar and Baking Soda
Odds are that  you have already put in quite a bit of elbow grease on the stain and have thrown in the towel. So, with that in mind, this solution won’t require any work from you. That’s right! Just apply and let it sit. What’s even more surprising: you probably have had the solution sitting around your house all along. All you’ll need is vinegar and baking soda.First, apply vinegar to the affected area and let it soak. In a couple of minutes, add baking soda to the area and watch the show. You should get a fizz effect from the chemical reaction. This helps to oxidize the carpet and remove stains. The baking soda also helps neutralize any odors that may have been caused by the stain.

 

Ammonia, Hot Water, a Clean White Towel and an Iron
 This doesn’t sound like your everyday combo of cleaning solutions, but it works surprisingly well. First, fill an empty spray bottle with one part ammonia and one part hot water. When we say hot, we do mean hot! Now, with this solution in the spray bottle, spray the stained area of the carpet well until it is soaked. Now, lay the white towel over the area and begin to iron over it. You should immediately see the remnants of the stain begin to soak into the towel. Continue to run the iron over the towel until the stain has been completely lifted from your carpet. That’s it! See the video below for a full walk through.

 

 

Preventing Damage

When it comes to preventing damage and stains to the carpet in your home, most of the solution will be related to you and your family’s lifestyle and habits. Consider implementing a rule to kick off the shoes at the door before entering the home, as it’s one of the easiest ways to keep high traffic areas clean. Another option would be to add plastic runners on top of the carpet in the areas with the most foot traffic.

For stains, there’s not a lot you can do to prevent them, as most of the time they occur as a result of an accident. The best you can do is to:
• Keep a close eye on children
• Ensure that pets are squeaky clean before letting them inside
• Keep food and drinks in the kitchen and dining areas
• Kick off muddy shoes outside the door before coming inside

Carpet is an expensive investment, but when kept clean, it sure does pay off!

 

 

Hardwood Flooring

 

Pros: Attractive Appearance,  Neutral (Matches with All Colors), Easy Maintenance

Cons: Vulnerable to Moisture, Easily Scratch & Blemish, Price, Noise

 

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

One of the greatest benefits to hardwood flooring is that it is so easy to clean and maintain. If well maintained, hardwood floors can last for 100 years or more! Now, depending on your cleaning habits this may be a positive or a negative, but hardwood flooring will also let you know when it’s time to clean. Because it is a smooth surface, any dirt and dust will collect and will be easily visible on the surface. Clean your hardwood floors by simply sweeping, running a vacuum over them, or for a really good clean use a mop. Just be sure to sweep first to avoid any residue being left behind. Warning: Do not use excessive moisture when mopping your hardwood floors, as the wood can absorb the moisture and rot over time. When mopping hardwood floors, be sure to crank up the A/C or heater to help them dry faster.

 

Repairing Scratches

Because wood floors last so long, they’re bound to see some punishment. Walking on wood flooring in high heels or boots can damage the floors by creating indentations. Moving furniture across the wood floors can create painfully obvious scrapes, scratches or gouges in the wood planks, leaving many home owners at a loss for how to repair it without ripping up the floors and installing new planks.

 

Refinish Your Hardwood Floors
Refinishing your hardwood floors isn’t a small task, and you’ll need to prepare and block out some time for it, but it is by far the best option for those wanting like-new hardwood floors. Begin by sanding the existing finish off of the hardwood floors down to the bare wood. Once you have reached the bare wood, you can use fillers to repair gouges or replace damaged planks. Next, choose the stain of your choice. If you have always wanted a darker or lighter floor, now is your chance to make it happen! Begin by applying the stain to the wood and finish with two to three coats of satin finish for a nice shine.

 

Use a Permanent Marker
By far the simplest solution, a permanent marker that is close to the color of your wood floors can come in handy when a nasty scratch appears in your hardwood floor. The most important part is to closely match the color of the permanent marker to the stain that is on your floor. The stain may have faded over the years, so don’t rely on the paint code or the color that is on the can of stain you have from last time you stained the floors. Once you’ve located the perfect color, gently color in the scratch and watch it blend right in! Now, if you mop your hardwood floors, the marker touch-up may go away. The same applies if the scratch is in a high traffic area. Because of this, we recommend this as a temporary fix until the floors can be refinished.

 

Touch-Up with Stain
If you are fortunate enough to have some stain left over from your last refinishing project on the hardwood floors, you can use this for temporary touch-ups on light scratches. Use a Q-tip to dip into the stain and lightly apply it to the scratched area. Let the stain dry and apply more coats as necessary. As with the permanent marker method, this should be considered a temporary fix. However, if there is left over satin finish as well, this repair could be much more long-term if the satin finish is applied over it.

 

Gouges and Deep Scratches
If you’ve managed to really do a number on your hardwood floor, you’re going to need a little more than touch-up to fix it. The best option is to get rid of the rigid edges of a deep gouge. This can be accomplished by using a fine grit sandpaper in a circular motion on all sides of the gouge. We are trying to even out the surface to become level with the gouge so it will no longer be noticeable. Use the sandpaper on the gouge itself and within about a two-and-a-half-inch area surrounding it for the best blend. Next, clear any debris from the area with a damp cloth. Now you can use your left over stain to touch up the scratch and blend with the rest of the floor. Be sure to use two to three coats of satin finish over the stain once it has dried in order to replace the top glossy layer you removed with the sandpaper.

 

Here’s a how-to video from eHow on repairing your hardwood floor damage:

 

Preventing Damage

It’s inevitable that your hardwood flooring will eventually show some wear, especially with their long life and durability, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help them last longer and keep them looking great. First, know that welcome (door) mats aren’t just for looks or style when you have a hardwood floor. It’s important to have something to wipe off all the dirt and grime from your feet when coming inside. Sand and grit can really do a number on hardwood floors, so be sure to grab a welcome mat or two.

Use furniture pads. Your couch or recliner will likely slide around on a wood floor, and that’s bad for the finish. Corners can cause hard-to-repair gouges and unsightly scratches. Pads under each of your furniture legs are essential to making your hardwood floors last for years and years. On this same note, be sure to have rolling office chairs on a plastic or rubber mat with adequate padding. Get into the habit of staying on that pad in order to prevent indentations and wearing down the finish on your wood flooring.

Wood and water don’t mix. Well, at least not a lot of water. As stated previously, be sure to limit the amount of water you use when mopping your hardwood floors. Too much water and you could be replacing all of your wood floors! The wood can soak up excess water and rot over time, causing a whole set of problems along with it. Be careful when mopping wood floors and all will be just fine.

Avoid using wax excessively or cleaners with harsh chemicals on your wood floors. Wax can make your floors look great, but if overdone, wax can build up and actually damage your floors. At the same time, be careful which products you use to clean your floors. Harsh chemicals can strip your floors of the finish and stain layer by layer, leaving the wood exposed and unprotected. Keep a close eye on the cleaning solutions you use in order to avoid any issues.

If you have pets, specifically indoor pets, you should be keeping their paws nice and manicured. Not just for their well being, but also for the good of your wood. Nothing scratches up your wood floors faster than a hyped-up pup running through the house with long, unkept claws scratching away.

Avoid wearing heels and boots through the house, as they can cause indentations in the wood that can be difficult to repair.

 

 

Now that you’ve got the information you need, you should be able to repair those problem areas in your flooring and keep them from suffering any further damage. When all else fails, call a professional. We here at Universal Cleaning Company hope you find this guide useful and that you can benefit from some of the tricks and tips outlined here. However, if you’re having trouble keeping up with things around the house, and live in the Flower Mound area, give us a call! We’ll have your home in tip-top shape in no time. Have something to add? Leave us a comment below!

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Universal Cleaning Company provides residential and commercial cleaning services in Denton County, Texas, including: Sanger, Denton, Krum, Corinth, Lake Dallas, Shady Shores, Lakewood Village, Hickory Creek, Highland Village, Copper Canyon, Argyle, Double Oak, Flower Mound, Lewisville,  Trophy Club and Lantana.

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