This unseasonably warm weather is a blessing, and a curse. The snow, for the most part, has melted away, leaving behind salty residue and dampened soil in its wake. Now might be a good time to consider giving any flooring, tile, hardwood, or carpet, a little TLC, especially with March, one of the wettest months, looming not too far off. For anyone who has ever struggled with the endless task of keeping floors polished throughout the winter and spring, this one is for you!
Before the Storm
Be proactive. When it comes to messes, it’s best to try and combat them before they become an issue. Place sturdy mats in front of all outside entrances, and inside each entryway as well. Invest in quality when buying mats because they will be the front line when it comes to keeping moisture from winter storms outside, where it belongs. Make sure the mats are made from material that absorbs moisture, so less in tracked throughout the entryway and into other rooms in the house. Mats are especially a good idea for households with dogs, because mats will catch some of the slush, mud, and salt residue from their paws before walking all over the house.
A second tip on being proactive is to purchase plastic or rubber boot trays, which are very inexpensive and an effective way of catching snowmelt from the crevasses of shoes before it puddles on the floor.
The Inevitable Grime You Track into Your Home
No matter how applause-worthy the effort to maintain a spotless floor, snow, slush, mud, and the demon of all grime, salt, will somehow sneak past preventative barriers. Salt can actually ruin the finish on hard flooring. Since salt has a high pH value, if left to sit long enough, it will eat away at the finish and leave the flooring underneath susceptible to water damage, scratches, and stains. When floors are left in this vulnerable state, they actually attract more grime.
Do not let the stress of worrying who will track what into your home every time the door opens. The damage does not occur that quickly. Just be mindful to wipe up moisture from the floor as it appears, and do not leave soaking mats on the ground. When a mat gets too wet to fulfill its purpose, simply switch it out so it can dry.
Clean and Protect Your Floors
The greatest difficulty of cleaning floors in the winter is the salt residue. A lot of cleaners are made with the intention of clearing floors of dirt, not salt. Since the type of filth changes season to season, so too must cleaning product. Try a product with a lower pH that will offset the high pH of salt. Cleaning experts suggest vinegar as a simple fix. All you need is to combine a small amount of vinegar with water, think one ounce of vinegar for every gallon of water.
Sometimes cleaning itself can damage the floors because the sediment leaves scratches. In order to prevent this from happening, wait for the moisture to dry and then vacuum or sweep the floor first. Mopping the floor before sweeping or vacuuming will likely leave scratches because sediment gets caught in the padding of the mop.
For areas of the home with carpet, try hiring a professional carpet cleaner, or purchase your own. Carpet cleaners work better than scrubbing and blotting because steamy, warm water breaks up the grime and powerful suction seeps up the majority of moisture. A good carpet cleaner can be purchased for $129.99, or less, and it will keep carpets clean any season of the year.
Don’t wait around, walking throughout a dirty home. Now is a great time to deep clean those floors. With little moisture anticipated in the forecast, your handy work will last long enough to appreciate, and you’ll get a head start on that long list of spring cleaning chores!