Throughout the world, floor cleaning is a major occupation. We bring all sorts of dirt, dust, and grime into our homes on the bottoms of our feet or shoes. This is as true in North America as it is in northern Africa. Keeping floors clean is important to safety, health, and aesthetics. There are as many ways to clean a floor as there are different types of flooring materials. Knowing what it takes to clean certain materials should be an important factor in considering what kinds of flooring to use on your home or business.
There are many reasons why it is important to have clean floors. First is safety. Slips and falls are a leading cause of accidental injury and death in the home. Improper floor cleaning can actually contribute to this hazard, as some floor cleaning solutions leave a slippery residue. Health is another factor, as dust that can cause allergies can accumulate on an unclean floor. Kitchen floors can also harbor organisms that cause food related illnesses. Cleaning a floor can also extend the life of the floor, as sand and grit can scratch away at the surface, slowly deteriorating the flooring material.
The methods used to clean floors depend on the type of flooring material. Universal among all methods is that the floor must be left dry, or it creates a slip and fall hazard. One ancient method was to cover a floor with sawdust. The sawdust would absorb anything spilled on it, and could then be swept away and replaced with fresh sawdust. Now, it is important to know which cleaning solution to use for you particular floor. For example, apple cider vinegar is good for linoleum floors, but can damage marble. Citric acid, which is also bad for marble, does a good job cleaning ceramic tile floors. Wood floors can be maintained with a light application of soap and water, so long as the water is completely dried before the wood flooring material is damaged. Oxygen bleach is the best alternative for turning grout white again.
Now, cleaning floors is a multi-million dollar high tech business. There are numerous types of floor cleaner machines for every surface. There are scrubbers, sanders, buffers, sweepers, and carpet extractors. There is a bit of an initial investment to buy one of these machines, followed by the recurring cost of whichever chemicals your machine uses. However, they clean much quicker than the traditional methods of sweeping, mopping, and hand scrubbing. Vacuum cleaners are common in almost every home and business. Steam cleaners are very affective at removing deep stains or dirt than has penetrated deep into carpets and matting.
Cleaning wood floors is a different process entirely. The method of cleaning depends on whether the floor is oiled, waxed, or coated with polyurethane. Treating a wood floor properly from the very beginning is critical. For example, it can be almost impossible to remove wood floor wax from a floor that has a polyurethane coating. With wood flooring, it is always best to follow the manufacturer's recommendations when deciding on a floor cleaner.
Effective maintenance can negate the necessity of expensive and detailed floor cleaning. Floor mats placed at the entrance to a home, business, or room, can be very effective at reducing the amount of dirt that is tracked inside. Almost 90% of dirt on commercial or residential floors comes from the outside. Entrance mats, when used properly, can remove almost 80% of that dirt. Of course, those mats need to be kept clean as well, or the dirt from the mats will simply be picked up and tracked inside.