Cleaning Hacks to Avoid

The best way to clean hardwood.

The best way to clean hardwood and non-carpeted surfaces.

Unlike the elusive Pikachu in Pokémon Go, so-called Cleaning Hacks are popping up everywhere. They’re overflowing our Facebook feeds, and there’s probably a special board on your Pinterest account dedicated to them. Designed to make our lives easier by promising a simpler and quicker way to get something done there’s a hidden danger in trusting these unproven techniques. As with anything in life: if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.

Misguided cleaning solutions can damage the surface you are cleaning; and it can also damage the machine you are using to clean the surface with. Two of the biggest cleaning mistakes we see:

Using baking soda as a carpet shake

  • The thought process is that by spreading baking soda onto carpeting it will absorb odours in the fibers (kind of like how it works in fridges). Then use a vacuum to pick up the powder leaving a fresh scent.
  • However, very fine powders like baking soda, flour, and drywall dust, can pass through the bags and filters. Once this happens the powder will work its way into the motor, causing everything to seize essentially killing your vacuum. Best case: having to replace the motor. Worse case: having to replace the machine.
  • Even store bought products branded as a carpet shake can cause damage to a vacuum cleaner if you’re not careful. Any carpet shake that will be recovered by a vacuum should be granular in consistency.

Using a steam cleaner on hardwood (solid, engineered, and laminate)

  • Steam cleaners work by heating tap or distilled water to the point where vapor particles are created, which are then pushed onto the surface at a high PSI.
  • Due to the pressure the steam (water) can penetrate the wood surface. Since there is no retrieval system for the water, it can be too much moisture even for sealed hardwood floors. Best case: having a clean, albeit wet, floor for the short term. Worse case: having a wood floor that is warped, cupped, and in need of replacing.
  • Don’t get us wrong – we love steam cleaners! But only when they are used on stone, tile, and other sealed hard non-porous surfaces.

Aside from making sure there are protective covers on the bottom of all furniture legs, and not sliding furniture around, what’s the best way to protect bare floors? Vacuum and vacuum often.

The more you vacuum the more dirt and abrasive materials (i.e. small stones) are removed from the surface reducing the chance of damage being caused. If you’re only sweeping your non-carpeted surfaces you could be leaving a substantial amount of debris behind – we’ve all battled with the dreaded dust-pan line.

For general cleaning in between vacuum sessions we recommend using a PH neutral and non-toxic cleaner like Bona. Cleaning floors since 1919 gives them a certain credibility that can’t be touched. Their line-up includes a spray mop kit for hardwood floors, a cleaner specifically for Stone, Tile, and Laminate flooring, as well as a solution if you’re lucky enough to have oiled and oil penetrating hardwood flooring.

Did you know:

If you’re using vinegar as your primary cleaning solution you’re setting yourself up to cause damage. Check out other major Pinterest cleaning fails, and find out why you shouldn’t put bleach (and other cleaning solutions) into pretty glass containers here: Pinterest (cleaning) Fails.

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