Which floors are easiest to clean?

Interior design trends have shaped the way we look at flooring and modern consumers are opting for options that minimise the appearance of dirt and are easy to clean and maintain. Homeowners want flooring materials that have been given special treatment to make them unique in design and texture. Whether it is fumed wood, blanched flooring, textured tile or wood looking tiles; buyers are looking for new and exciting options.
This is what you need to know about modern flooring options before you take the plunge:
Most people don’t even want to look at carpets because they are never taught how to care for them. With proper care and maintenance, carpeting can be the greatest floor product. Abuse it or neglect it however and you will become frustrated and aggravated and change it out sooner then you should have.
By price, carpets should be your most affordable option so a little extra cleaning by professionals would be a wise investment.
Consider investing in a prime urethane padding with a moisture-proof barrier to insure longevity of your carpets.
General care
Regular vacuuming is the key to keeping carpet beautiful and new-looking – for heavy-traffic areas vacuum every day if possible and once a week for the rest of the carpet.
Many types of cleaners are available including dry cleaners, spray-on foam cleaners, and wet shampoo. Whichever you choose, make sure it is made for carpets. Always test a cleaner on a small inconspicuous area of the carpet first. Avoid anything meant for hard surfaces such as wood or tile. When choosing a professional carpet cleaner, ask for a reference and/or a firm estimate.

Treating spills

Act immediately! Don’t let the spill set or it might never be removed. Remember these three steps:
Apply-a damp white paper towel soaked in a cleaning solution to the spot (see list of solutions below); never wet the carpet through to the backing.
Blot-press straight down with a white paper towel-DO NOT RUB; place a 1/2″ thick pad of white paper towels with a weight on top and leave overnight if necessary
Scrape-from the outside edge of the spot toward the center
Cleaning solutions to be used to treat spills include:
Detergent-mix 1/2 tsp. clear dishwashing detergent with one cup warm water
Pre-soak-mix 1 tsp. enzyme laundry product (such as Axion or Biz) with one cup water
Hydrogen peroxide-mix 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide (3% strength, available in drug stores) with 1 tsp. household ammonia. Use within two hours.
Ammonia-undiluted household ammonia
Dry powder cleaner
Dry cleaning solvent-non-oily, non-caustic type sold for garment spot removal (caution: may be flammable)
Ceramic or porcelain tiles
Porcelain tile is resistant to germs and bacteria and it is also among the easiest of flooring materials to clean. You can clean your porcelain tile with a damp sponge mop. A solution of 1/4 cup of white vinegar to 2 gallons of water works best – just allow time for drying. You can also sweep or vacuum.
Glazed Tile:
For glazed porcelain tiles, use the following instructions for general cleaning:
Sweep or vacuum loose dirt and dust from the floor. An untreated dry dust mop is recommended instead of a broom.
Mop the floor with a mild cleaning solution (do not use wax, oil-based, or abrasive cleaners).
Rinse the tile thoroughly with clean and clear water.
Drying is also recommended – to increase the shine and to prevent water spots.
Textured tiles:
A textured porcelain tile surface requires additional cleaning procedures. A standard wet-mopping will not effectively clean a textured surface. For cleaning textured surfaces, follow these instructions:
Sweep or vacuum dust and debris from the floor. When sweeping, use a soft-bristle broom and sweep in 2 directions. First, follow the direction of the tile, and then sweep diagonally. This will ensure the removal of all foreign material that might be residing in the texture.
Saturate the tile with a neutral cleaning solution, such as vinegar, with hot water and stir. Allow the cleaning solution to remain on the floor 5 – 10 minutes. Scrub the floor with a brush; again using a two-direction method.
Rinse the floor with clean, clear water to remove the cleaning solution.
For high traffic locations, it is recommended to clean the floor at least once per day and wet mop at regular intervals.
Always Remember:
Do not clean porcelain tile flooring with ammonia or with cleaners that contain bleach and/or acid. Acid and ammonia-based cleaners may modify grout colour.
Do not use wax, oil-based, abrasive cleaners, or sealants.
Agents that contain any dyes or colours are not recommended.
Use rugs at entrances to prevent dirt and grit from being tracked onto the tile flooring from outdoors.
Do not use steel wool pads, because loose steel particles may create rust stains in the grout.
Laminate floors:
Laminate has been the rave for durable flooring for a long time now. Remember, dirt and dust are the enemy. The small particles will act like sandpaper between your feet and the flooring surface. A good dust mop and regular vacuuming will help keep your floors looking beautiful much longer than anything else you do.

How to care for your laminate floors:

Use a damp cloth to blot up spills as soon as they happen. Never allow liquids to stand on your floor.
For tough spots, such as oil, paint, markers, lipstick, ink, or tar, use acetone/nail polish remover on a clean white cloth, then wipe the area with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.
Sweep, dust, or vacuum the floor regularly with the hard floor attachment (not the beater bar) to prevent accumulation of dirt and grit that can scratch or dull the floor finish.
Periodically clean the floor with cleaning products made specifically for laminate floor care. For optimum results.
Do not wash or wet mop the floor with soap, water, oil-soap detergent, or any other liquid cleaning material. This could cause swelling, warping, delamination, and joint-line separation, and void the warranty.
Do not use steel wool, abrasive cleaners, or strong ammoniated or chlorinated type cleaners.
Do not use any type of buffing or polishing machine on your laminate floors.
For spots such as candle wax or chewing gum, harden the spot with ice and then gently scrape with a plastic scraper, such as a credit card. Be careful not to scratch the flooring surface. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.
A more frequent dust-mopping or vacuuming schedule may be required in very sandy areas such as a beach home.
Whichever you decide, be prepared to treat them properly to ensure that they serve you well for many years to come.