The snow will soon be upon us here in Nebraska, as well as increased traffic in our homes from holiday guests. With winter weather, comes pets and people tracking in sand, salt and dirt from the outdoors. Here are some tips for floor care and rug cleaning during the most wonderful time of the year.
If floors don't get dirty, you don't have to clean them. And the best way to keep the outside ick from being tracked inside? Lose the shoes at the door. Not allowing shoes to be worn inside your home keeps out not only dirt and debris, but also viruses and bacteria like e-Coli and C. diff., plus pesticides and fertilizers. If you have pets and/or kiddos laying around on (or eating off of, in the case of toddlers) those floors, them repeatedly coming into contact with all those things is a scary thought! Make sure you also keep a spray bottle of water and an old towel by the door to wipe off Fido's feet after those frigid midwest morning walks.
But what about guests? Is it rude to ask them to remove their shoes? Nope. Your house, your rules. If people are coming over for the first time, however, you may wish to give them advance notice that you're a shoe-free home. A cute sign on the front door can serve as a gentle reminder upon guests' arrival. As a courtesy, you can choose to purchase some cheap house slippers in various sizes or dollar store socks to keep by the front door, or disposable shoe covers to accommodate those guests who really don't want to remove their shoes. It may seem awkward at first, but once everyone knows your house is a no-shoe-zone, they will remove them without a care or thought, the same as they remove hats, coats and gloves!
These modern floors are so easy to care for, which is part of why they are so popular in newer homes. Laminate and tile can both be cleaned with nothing but warm water if you wish. The key to cleaning these floors, though, is the mop you use. Never use a sponge mop (sponges harbor bacteria, and push dirt into grout on tile floors); only use a microfiber wet mop or a string mop. Change the mop water frequently. If floors are extra dirty from holiday traffic, add in some Borax or mild detergent to the water. For killing germs, bacteria and mold, simply put some full-strength hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle and spray floors liberally to saturate the surface. Let air dry. (Test a small inconspicuous area first.)
Consider purchasing a rubber-backed floor mat, or use a scrap of carpet, to lay on top of your carpet in high-traffic areas during winter months. It won't exactly be pretty, but it can serve as a sacrificial surface for any mud that does get tracked in, saving your actual carpet. If you do get stains, a carpet shampooer is an effective way to treat individual spots as well as give your carpets an overall clean every few months. These machines pay for themselves after 2-3 uses – professional carpet cleaning costs hundreds of dollars. Don't waste your money on expensive detergent made specifically for carpet shampooers, either. Using the hottest water that comes out of your tap and a few drops of dish soap will get the job done without harsh chemicals.
For area rugs, Max I. Walker is now offering area rug cleaning! We will come to your home and pick up larger rugs at no extra charge, or you can drop off in any store. Pricing is $2 per square foot, with a minimum charge of $20. We are currently running a 20% off coupon for rug cleaning. Find more information here.
Author's note: This article is for informational purposes, and is not an endorsement of any of the linked companies, websites, vendors or products. The suggested products are shown as examples only. We encourage you to do thorough research before making any online purchases.