Floor Cleaning Methods For Different Floor Types

Cleaning your floors may seem like an easy task – simply take a brush and a mop to your grimy floorboards and scrub. Except, that’s not the whole story. The water you so generously poured across the floor has now absorbed into the material itself and started to develop mould and mildew. The chemical product you thought was safe to use has stained and done serious damage to the floor, and the vacuum you used to hoover up debris has scratched up your immaculate, expensive tiles.

The consequences of bad floor cleaning practice is more than just wasted product or waiting an extra hour for your floor to dry, but critical damage that will take a great deal of time, effort, and money to fix. It is estimated that the average floor harbours around 764 bacteria per square inch, but removing a single pound of dirt from a modern building could cost over £600. This makes for grim reading, as floor hygiene is clearly a persistent problem – and if not kept on top of – will rack up an expensive bill.

In Vanguard’s latest article, we’ll break down the best cleaning methods for every floor type, pointing out the right products to use and the key faults to avoid to save you a whole load of headache. Utilizing the right methods will not only save you a great deal of money, but will also keep your premises looking sparkling for your customers, employees, and visitors.


Floor Types & Their Cleaning Methods

Various types of floors will require different equipment, techniques, and attention to detail to keep clean and presentable. Here are some common floor types and their corresponding cleaning methods, ranked alphabetically.


1. Carpeted Floor

Carpeted floors are notoriously difficult to keep clean, with 41% of British adults admitting they’ve never even attempted to clean their carpet, but some tried and tested methods do exist to help remove those pesky wine stains and scattered crumbs.

  • Make sure to regularly vacuum your carpet to prevent the build up of dust and dirt in the carpet fibres.
  • For debris and odours that are harder to get out, take some baking soda and sprinkle across the carpet.
  • Then mix special carpet shampoo with warm water to spray the carpet down and carefully scrape away any leftover grime.
  • As for spillages, use the same method as above but use a towel to gently blot away the stains.

After cleaning, always vacuum up leftover solution or baking soda, as leaving them in place will damage the carpet and allow mould or mildew to grow.


2. Ceramic Floor

With a market that is projected to reach over £875 million in 2024, ceramic tiles are a highly popular form of flooring across the UK. Ceramic floors are often glazed, which helps waterproof them and keep moisture out. However, ceramic floors that aren’t glazed are very porous and should be subject to great care to avoid damage.

  • Start by sweeping or vacuuming to remove dust and debris. If your vacuum has a hard floor setting, be sure to turn this on as it will improve suction instead of just spreading dirt around.
  • If your ceramic floor is glazed, simply mop it with warm water and all-purpose cleaning product.
  • If not, clean with a rag instead, as using a mop can push dirt deeper into the grout and cause stains.
  • To treat stains on your ceramic tiles, try blotting the area with hydrogen peroxide to ease discolouration.

For enhanced protection, use a wool pad to apply a layer of acrylic floor finish, which will prevent debris scratching your tiles, and keep your ceramic floor shining.


3. Concrete Floor

Often used in commercial and industrial sites for its durability and strength, concrete floors tend to be easier to maintain than other options. When sealed, concrete is non-porous and stain resistant, making it ideal for exterior areas that take the full brunt of weather conditions such as torrential rain and storms, or large interiors with lots of activity, such as warehouses.

  • To clean, remove any lingering debris with a standard brush or vacuuming.
  • Then give the area a good mop, making sure to use a pH-neutral cleaning solution.
  • It is essential to avoid acidic products such as bleach, vinegar, or ammonia, as these can cause considerable damage.

Following these steps will ensure your concrete floor remains clean and undamaged.


4. Laminate Floor

With laminate flooring already selling over 1,000 million square metres globally every year, the market is only projected to grow further over the next decade. Part of this is undoubtedly the fact that laminate floors are relatively easy to maintain.

  • Firstly, use a vacuum and brush to remove surface dust and dirt.
  • If any marks or grime remain stuck to the floor and become difficult to remove, a steel wool can be used to scrub these marks off.
  • From there, it’s just the occasional mop with warm water and cleaning product to keep clean. You can also use polish to good effect.

When cleaning laminate flooring, it’s usually best to keep things as simple as possible, as complex chemicals and even boiling water can substantially damage the material.


5. Limestone Floor

Limestone tiles are an appealing flooring choice for driveways, gardens, and even interiors. Being a sedimentary rock, Limestone consists mainly of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate, and because of this, it makes for a soft and highly porous material. Therefore, cleaning limestone floors requires great care to avoid damage or picking up stains.

  • As always, use a vacuum to suck up excess dirt and dust.
  • Instead of mopping, use a small brush to scrub your limestone and reach all crags and crevices.
  • Make sure to use a pH-neutral cleanser, and avoid normal or general purpose cleansers.
  • Rinse off the product afterwards, and immediately dry the surface, as leftover moisture will damage the limestone.
  • To further protect your tiles from water, use limestone specific sealer to provide a protective layer.

The effectiveness of your seal can be tested by placing a drop of water on the surface and waiting 10 minutes to see if it gets absorbed. If so, you need an additional layer of seal. Once again, this is critical to protecting your limestone flooring from absorbing damaging moisture.


6. Linoleum Floor

Popular for its natural antibacterial properties, resistance to mould, and affordable pricing, Linoleum flooring is still being used extensively across the UK. Owning and using a dust mop is key to being able to properly maintain linoleum floors.

  • Dust mops should be conducted regularly, using a diluted all-purpose cleaner.
  • Always dry your floor afterwards, as leftover moisture will damage the material.
  • Acidic cleaners are also a threat, and should never be used on linoleum.

However, polish is a good alternative, and can even help to increase the life span of your flooring if re-applied every month or two.


7. Marble Floor

Marble has long been used as a construction material, with quarries being traced as far back as 700BC, and buildings such as monuments and temples being found across ancient civilisations in Italy, Greece, and Anatolia. Today, marble is still used extensively, being a hallmark of luxury bathrooms and grandiose stairways across the UK. Despite this common usage, marble can be easily damaged if cleaned improperly.

  • When vacuuming, be mindful of the device’s wheels, as they could scratch up your immaculate marble. A dry mop is usually the better option.
  • To ensure a safe clean, mix hot distilled water with pH-neutral detergent to mop your floor. No special or heavy-duty products are needed, as these will tend to do more damage than good.
  • Be sure to dry mop immediately, as leaving it to air dry will cause stains to form.

Marble is very porous when not polished, so using a commercial sealer is an important way of protecting against trapped water. Of course, it will need to be stripped and re-sealed every now and then to maintain effectiveness – you can always test your seal with a water drop in a corner to check.


8. Stone

Very similar to limestone, regular stone is just as porous and requires many of the same methods to protect it from damp and mould, such as commercial sealant. This prevents too much fluid from draining into the floor, which would otherwise create the perfect environment for mould to grow.

  • Stone floors should be mopped with normal soap or all-purpose cleaner. Anything more complex could damage the floor.
  • Wool pads should be used to lay down several layers of acrylic floor finish.
  • Don’t forget to occasionally strip off the sealant and reapply for improved effectiveness.

While industrial cleaning machines such as floor steamers or polishers might work for other floor types, they are best avoided for stone, as it will only cause damage to both the floor and equipment.


9. Wood/Hardwood Floors

A common fixture in cabins, pubs, and cottages across the UK, wood floors have a natural style that make them an appealing choice for many. Despite this, they require particular care to ensure your floorboards don’t deteriorate.

  • Cleaning starts with a vacuum or brush to remove dust and debris. Some models will even have a hardwood setting.
  • A microfibre cloth or a mop treated with a dusting agent can help if you’re struggling to pick up smaller pieces of debris.
  • Use water combined with vinegar to mop the floorboards, making sure you use the minimum amount of liquid as possible, as wood can easily absorb moisture and become weakened.
  • Wipe any wet streaks with a dry towel to avoid moisture soaking through.

If needing regular or daily cleans, specialist products can help – they range from specialist wood floor cleaning kits that eliminate dirt, to optimized wood floor cleaning machines.


10. Vinyl Floor

Broadly similar to laminate flooring, vinyl is just as easy to keep clean. The key difference is that vinyl is more water resistant, meaning trapped moisture is less of a pressing problem.

  • Start by going over your floor with a dust mop to remove debris, dirt, etc.
  • Then complete a standard mop using all-purpose cleanser. While vinyl floors may be water resistant, they aren’t waterproof, so only mop as much is needed.
  • Finally, dry your floor with a towel to prevent wet streaks or stains.

Avoid using a steam mop on the surface, as this can cause your floor to bubble or become warped.


Vanguard Are Experts In Floor Cleaning

We appreciate that all of this is a lot of information to take in. With so many different floor types, cleaning products, and chemicals to remember, it’s all too easy to make a mistake that will cost you or your company thousands of pounds. This is especially true for larger buildings or complexes, which may have a dozen different floor types spread across multiple stories and varied departments. To avoid a cleaning disaster, the specialist knowledge of a professional cleaning company can be invaluable.

Here at Vanguard Cleaning, we’ve got over 22 years in the cleaning industry, and offer professional floor cleaning as one of our key cleaning services. Not only is our training accredited by the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc), meaning our staff have the expert knowledge that you might not, but they come equipped with a range of industrial cleaning machinery. These range from quality carpet cleaners to electric floor polishers – meaning that whatever cleaning service you require, we’ll have the specialist equipment to provide a solution.

To find out in more detail how we can keep your floors sparkling, no matter the size, scope, or type of your location, enquire now for a free, no obligation quote.