The baseboard is the strip of material which runs along the wall that is level with the floor. Baseboards can be made out of any number of materials. Wood is the most common because it is relatively durable, inexpensive, and easy to work with. Vinyl baseboards are also fairly common. Periodically it becomes necessary to clean the baseboards throughout the house to keep them looking good. This job can be somewhat tedious and time-consuming, depending on the number of rooms you have, how many baseboards you have in total, the length and height of the baseboards, and the level of cleaning which is required. You must also get behind furniture and other obstacles.
Understanding Wood Baseboards
Wood baseboards are the most common type. They are typically painted a flat white when they are installed. The main disadvantage to wood baseboards is that they can absorb color resulting in permanent stains. Typically when this has occurred, the only option available is to repaint them.
Cleaning Wood Baseboards
Wood baseboards should be cleaned without chemicals if possible. A cup of white vinegar poured into a 5-gallon bucket of water is a great option. The water should be as warm as possible for maximum effectiveness. Use a rag or a sponge and work your way around the room wiping the baseboards up. If the stains have not had time to set in permanently, then this will work quite well. Once this is complete allow the baseboards to dry.
Understanding Vinyl Baseboards
Although they are still second in popularity to wood, vinyl baseboards have become far more common in today's homes. Vinyl is a good material in many regards because it is naturally durable, easy to work with and fairly sturdy. It is also nonporous so stains will not set into vinyl permanently in almost any situation. The main disadvantage to vinyl is that mildew can grow on it.
Cleaning Vinyl Baseboards
Vinyl baseboards can be cleaned with virtually any cleaning chemical. In many cases it won’t take anything more than a sponge or rag and some warm water to clean them. If this does not work, adding a capful of bleach to a 5-gallon bucket of water will work quite well to take nearly any mark out. If you find mildew or mold of any kind growing on your baseboards, you will want to use a bleach water mix or a mildew chemical and a sponge to clean the baseboards off.
Applying These Techniques to Other Things
These cleaning techniques can be used to clean any form of wood molding or vinyl molding located throughout the house. This includes chair rails and even crown molding. When dealing with crown molding and chair rails it is important to verify that they are wood or vinyl. Some types of chair rail and crown molding are manufactured out of Styrofoam which can be damaged by water or excessive pressure.