How to Clean Different Kinds of Flooring

Don’t risk damaging your floors by improperly cleaning them. You’ll wear the floors out faster if you don’t care for them correctly. We recommend giving all the floors in your home a little extra love and attention (above and beyond sweeping and vacuuming) once every few months. Learn to care for the various types of flooring in your home with this quick and easy comprehensive guide.

Porcelain Tile Floors

a porcelain tile floor with grout

Cleaning porcelain tiles floors is simple. First, vacuum or mop up any surface dirt or grime. Make sure to use a tile-friendly vacuum if you choose to suck instead of sweep. After any removable debris has been removed, switch to mopping. Porcelain can be porous, so use a homemade solution instead of a harsh cleaner. Mix one cup of distilled white vinegar into a bucket of warm water and mop as usual.

Laminate Floors

bare feet walking on laminate floor

While wood and laminate are very different, the cleaning process is the same. Sweep and dust the floors and remove all surface-level dirt with a cloth broom. Then take half a cup of vinegar and add it to a gallon of water. Use this solution with rags or a mop to scrub the floors. Be careful not to go overboard with the amount of liquid on the floor. For wood and laminate flooring alike, you may need to go over the floor with this solution two or three times. For laminate flooring, check to see if the floor needs aesthetic touch-ups once it’s clean.

Brick Floors

brick floor with diagonal shapes

There are four simple steps to cleaning brick flooring: sweep, scrub, rinse, and dust. First, sweep the floors, then take one tablespoon of washing powder or borax and add it to a gallon of water for your brick scrubbing formula. If you want a stronger cleaning solution, use one part vinegar to fifteen parts water.

After you’ve scrubbed, let the solution sit on the bricks for a few minutes, then rinse it off completely—especially if your brick flooring is sealed. Lastly, if you have a sealed brick floor you may need to flush stuck dust with water and let it dry completely. Repeat the flushing steps until any lime and dust are gone.

Limestone Floors

limestone floor

Start by sweeping your limestone floors and mopping them with a gentle mop solution. Once a month, apply a limestone cleaner.

Epoxy Floors

white kitchen with shiny floors

Epoxy flooring is usually found in garages or on patios. To start the cleaning process, sweep and rinse the area with warm water. Mix 1/3 cup of dish soap in a bucket of warm water and use the solution to wash the epoxy. Using a pH balanced soap will work best on these types of floors. Watch for stains as you mop and use a rag to scrub them up before you rinse the solution off the floor.

Engineered Flooring

engineered dark wood flooring

Start by taking anything that can be removed from the area off of the engineered floor. Then sweep or vacuum the area. Take your favorite mild cleaning solution and add it to a bucket of lukewarm water and mop the floor. Make sure your mop is damp, not dripping. After you have mopped, dry the floor with towels.

Terrazzo Floors

colorful terrazzo flooring

Sweep the floor with a cloth push broom to avoid bristle scratches. Use a gentle mop solution and a yarn-style mop to remove any dirt or grime. Then, use a steam cleaner to suck the water from the floor. Repeat this process at least twice to get your terrazzo floors fully clean.

Concrete Floors

concrete floor

Start cleaning your concrete floors by sweeping or vacuuming up loose dirt and dust. Then, make a mop solution and begin mopping the floor. Use a hard bristle brush to remove stuck buildup or gunk, then gently rinse the floor off with clean water. If you have a stain on your concrete, use a soft bristle to scrub.

Vinyl Plank Flooring

vinyl flooring in a roll and on a floor

Have you ever wondered how to clean vinyl flooring? It’s simple. Start by sweeping and mopping like normal—don't use a vacuum on this type of floor. Use a gentle mop solution and go over the floor twice. Once a year, reseal your vinyl flooring to keep the flooring looking good and functioning great.

Aggregate Flooring

blue and white pebble flooring

Start by sweeping and mopping your aggregate flooring. When mopping aggregate, you will need to use a heavy-duty chemical cleaner. Some aggregate floors may even require the use of acid to get fully clean. Safety Note: Acid cleaners can be dangerous. Always wear protective gloves when cleaning with these solutions.

Tile Floors

tiled flooring with angular designs

Tile is an easy material to clean, which is why it is so popular in many homes. First sweep the floor, paying special attention to the groves in the grout. Make up a mop solution next using a specific tile cleaner, or a combination of water and vinegar. Use a mop or go full Little Orphan Annie on your hands and knees with a rag to get your tile nice and clean.

Sealed Cork Floors

installing cork flooring

Cleaning sealed cork floors is relatively simple. After you have swept the floor, take a non-acid floor cleaner (like one you would use on lino) and use a damp rag to wipe the floor with the cleaner. Use very little water on the rag, and then towel dry the floor before you let it air dry.

Unsealed Cork Floors

untreated cork floor panel

Cleaning an unsealed cork floor is a little tricky. It’s important to remember that untreated cork will warp and expand when wet, so use as little liquid as possible cleaning cork. Before you resort to washing your cork, try vacuuming it first. If vacuuming isn’t enough, use a barely damp sponge to spot treat the floor. When you dip your sponge into dish soap and warm water solution, make sure to wring it out all the way before it goes near your floor.

Ceramic Tile Floors

colorful ceramic tiles with intricate designs

While you can clean your ceramic tile floors like any other tiles floors, for the best results you need to steam. You may not have a steam cleaner around your house, but renting one is often inexpensive and easy. If you don’t have means to steam, sweep and mop the floor like normal, making sure to use a gentle, tile-specific cleaner.

Flagstone Floors

flagstone

Clean your flagstone floor like you would a basic tile or wood floor. Sweep and mop with a gentle cleanser, making sure not to get the floor too wet. For best results with flagstone floors though, consider sealing the floor. This will keep the floor nicer longer, and make it easier to clean.

Granite Floors

granite types

B is for blot, which is how you should always clean your granite floors. If the granite in your home is new or newly sealed, only use a dry mop on this porous flooring. If you choose to deep clean your granite, be careful. Cleaners can leave the floor streaked and can even change the color. Use a pH balanced cleaner and risk the urge to go overboard. For best results with granite, spot clean daily. Regularly buffing granite floors is also a great way to keep them looking their best.

Wood Floors

mopping wood kitchen floors

Clean wood floors much like laminates. After you have swept, prepare a gentle mop solution. The key to getting clean wood floors without damaging them is to use minimal water and to not let the water sit on the wood for long. There are several all-natural solutions when it comes to keeping your wood floor shiny after a clean. Pick a favorite and make sure to treat your wood regularly.

Marmoleum Floors

marmoleum and vinyl flooring material

A great green flooring option, you need to make sure you use special cleaner on your Marmoleum floors. After you sweep, use a Marmoleum-specific cleaner from the hardware store on the floor. Make sure to wash the solution off completely and towel-dry the floor. Use an old toothbrush or a nylon brush to scrub in the deep grooves of this floor. Marmoleum needs to be deep cleaned twice a month.

Linoleum Floors

installing linoleum floor

Sweep your linoleum floors and then gently mop them with mild dish soap and warm water solution. If your linoleum is stained, make a baking soda paste and use vinegar to help lift the stain. You can also use a scouring pad on linoleum floors to get a deep clean.

Carpet

vacuuming a carpet

Most homes have carpet flooring in at least one room. All carpet is different, so it’s always a good idea to know how to best treat your specific types. Regardless though, all carpet should be vacuumed several times a week—especially in high traffic areas. There are several ways to DIY carpet clean if you don’t want to pay a professional company. If you stain your carpet in between deep cleanings, spot treat immediately. As a general rule, we recommend that you keep a bar of Fels Naptha laundry stain treat on hand to use (sparingly) in carpet emergencies.