Stain Removal Tips, by Flooring Type
Wood floors age with time and take on characteristics of their own, but stains can ruin that beauty.
When it comes to keeping floors in good condition, prevention is the first line of defense. However, sooner or later, something gets spilt and stains can become a real problem. First and foremost is to act quickly. Almost any flooring spills should be blotted up or soaked up, immediately. The longer something sits, the worse it will become. If the stain is one that has been there for awhile or you’re not sure what it is, test a small, out-of-sight area.
Here are a few stain removal suggestions for some more popular floorings and common stains. Try them before calling the professionals.
- Hardwood Floors and Wood Floors. Make sure your floors are hardwood or plain wood floors. Yes, there is a difference between wood and hardwood. There are also laminated wood and tile floors, so know your floor. Wood floors age with time and take on characteristics of their own, but stains can ruin that beauty. Liquids are very damaging to wood, even mopping needs to be done with a mild soap and damp mop. Never soak floors. When a spill does happen, soak it up with a towel. A stain can be attacked with a commercial wood floor cleaner followed with a mix of water and vinegar; be careful of the finish. A huge don’t with hardwood floors is ammonia, or any product with ammonia in it. Other wood floorings are not as touchy, but always be careful of the finish. Use a dampened cloth of one tablespoon of oxalic acid solution (found in your drug store) to one pint of water on resilient tile, wood or cork flooring.
- Marble, Granite, Natural Stone Floors—These are porous floorings and easily stained. Again, blot up the spill immediately. The key is to reverse the process in order to remove the stain. A poultice can be made. Poultice materials include clays (like Kaolin), Talc, Chalk, and Diatomaceous Earth, which come in powder forms. Most can be found in paint stores. These materials can remove grease, coffee, fruit juice, rust, mildew, or ink. Make the poultice by mixing powders with hydrogen peroxide or a chemical reducing agent. Be careful of what chemicals you use, some powders react with acidic chemicals. Mix the powder and agent into a paste. Wet the stained area with distilled water, dip a towel into mix and lay towel over the stained area only. Cover with plastic wrap, tape down to seal. Poke small holes into the wrap to air dry. This is important, taking about 24 to 48 hours. Remove the poultice and rinse with distilled water, dry and buff with a soft cloth. Pre-prepared poultice mixes are on the market. Clean stains in grout by mixing a couple of tablespoons of bleach with a quart of water. Using an old toothbrush, apply to the grout, let stand about 15 or 20 minutes, then mop, rinse and wipe dry
- Vinyl and Laminate Floors- Do not use scouring powders; these will scratch. Waxing white or light-colored vinyl can cause yellowing as will long exposure to sunlight. Urine stains, a common bathroom area problem, can be removed with a solution of bleach, 10 to 1. Be sure to rinse to prevent bleach reaching the actual wood or colored surface. Mineral spirits, turpentine, rubbing alcohol, or acetone fingernail polish remover work well on crayon, lipstick, ink, permanent marker, and hair dye. Many stains cannot be easily removed from vinyl no-wax floors and may require a commercial product, professional help or replacing
The best way to protect your beautiful floors is good maintenance and prevention. Know your floor type and the manufacturer and consult professional help when you’re just not sure how to remove a stain.
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