Vacuum, dust or wipe with a lightly dampened mop – never use soap-based detergents or other polishes, as they can leave a dull film on the floor, and avoid over-wetting. Don’t use wax polish: it will make the floor too slippery. To remove marks and stains, use a dilute solution of water and white vinegar. Never be tempted to use abrasive cleaners, such as nylon scouring pads or steel wool, which can scratch. Stubborn marks, such as shoe polish, can be removed with nail polish remover containing acetone, or other mild solvents -– WD-40 also works well. To protect the floor, put felt pads underneath furniture legs and drip trays under plant pots.
Vacuum or sweep all types of hard floors regularly to prevent the surface being scratched by grit (if shoes are removed at the front door it will help to stop dirt from being tracked in).
Ceramic and quarry tiles
These need minimal maintenance. Sweep and wash with a mild detergent solution. Rinse with clear water. Never use wax polish – the tiles will become slippery.
For the first year after installation, terracotta tiles mature. Most suppliers stock a special cleaner, sealant and polish, so use recommended products from your floor supplier.
Sweep with a soft brush or vacuum, then wipe with a damp mop, using a mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly after wiping. To remove scuff marks, use a cloth dipped in neat washing-up liquid or white spirit, then rinse off.
Sealed floors need only to be swept and damp-mopped. Do not use too much water or the wood could swell and split. Unsealed and waxed floors should be swept regularly and occasionally repolished. Use wax sparingly, as an excess will leave a tacky surface and attract dirt. Buff well. If worn patches appear on the surface, apply a non-slip floor polish.
On a waxed floor, polish and dirt builds up over time and the only way to clean it is to remove the wax and start again. Use a cloth moistened with white spirit. Let it soak in, and as the wax and dirt begin to dissolve, wipe away with crumpled newspaper. Scrub obstinate parts by hand, or with abrasive pads on a floor polisher. When polish has been removed, damp-mop with clean water. Allow to dry completely before applying new polish, working on small sections at a time.
Wipe factory-sealed cork tiles with a damp mop, using a solution of washing-up liquid. To provide an extra layer of protection, especially in high-traffic areas such as the bathroom and kitchen, apply an acrylic or polyurethane sealant. Never over-wet and take care not to damage the seal or protective coatings by dragging appliances or furniture over the floor.
Scuff marks on skirting boards? Squirt with WD-40 and wipe away with a soft cloth.
Sweep or vacuum to remove grit and dust. Clean with a mop or cloth dampened with a solution of detergent or floor cleaner. Use water sparingly. Rinse after washing. Stubborn marks can be removed by rubbing lightly with a dampened fine nylon pad.
As it is susceptible to staining, stone should always be protected with a resin sealant. To clean sealed stone, vacuum it thoroughly, then mop with a mild detergent solution. To remove grease or oil, use a proprietary spot-treatment stain remover for stone.