Tips for Cleaning Tile, Wood and Vinyl Floors

Get expert tips, techniques and recipes for cleaning all types of floors, from ceramic tile to hardwood.

Polished Hardwood Floors

Polished Hardwood Floors

Get expert tips on how to clean all types of floors, from ceramic tile to hardwood.

©iStock

iStock

Get expert tips on how to clean all types of floors, from ceramic tile to hardwood.

Clean Ceramic-Tile Floors

Ceramic-tile floors can be cleaned easily with nothing but warm water, but be sure to sweep or vacuum first to remove any loose soil or grit. Never use a sponge mop to clean ceramic-tile floors. It will pull the dirt right into the grout tracks. This makes the floor more difficult to clean. A micro-fiber mop picks up all the dirt that a sponge mop leaves behind. Pour the ingredients into a bucket and use a rag or micro-fiber mop to clean. If you do use a rag and the on-your-hands-and-knees method, be sure to wipe in a circular motion across the floor. Don't forget the cabinets and baseboards. If you have really dirty grout, use a brush.

Clean Hardwood Floors

Use boiling water and two teabags to clean hardwood floors. The tannic acid in tea creates a beautiful shine for hardwood floors. Let two teabags steep in the boiling water for a few minutes. Pour the tea into a bucket. Take a soft cloth and wring it out in the tea. The cloth merely needs to be damp, not soaked. This will enable the floor to dry quickly. Wash the floor and be ready to be amazed by the sheen.

8 Natural Cleaners

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Vinegar

Vinegar is by far one of the most versatile cleaning agents. Use it to remove soap scum from the shower. Mix it with borax to get rid of hard-water rings in the toilet. Tape a bag of vinegar to your showerhead and leave it overnight for an easy, sparkly clean; or add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar to your dish soap to eliminate grease in the kitchen.

©REDBUD Construction Services, LLC

Hydrogen Peroxide

You use your toothbrush to clean your teeth, but don’t forget about cleaning your toothbrush. Let it soak in hydrogen peroxide for a few minutes to get rid of any lingering germs. Hydrogen peroxide is also useful on many hard surfaces. Use it to scrub your toilet, trash cans, shower, mirrors and doorknob. You can even mix it with equal parts water for a safe and effective solution for mopping the bathroom and kitchen floors.

Lemons

The acid in lemons makes them a great natural cleanser. The juice is great for disinfecting kitchen countertops and cutting boards. Cut a lemon in half and scrub your bath and shower to remove soap scum. And if your shaving cream has left a rusty ring in your bathtub, use your lemon half to scrub it away.

Vodka

Do you have a mold and mildew problem in the bathroom? Skip a trip to the store, and pull out some inexpensive vodka from the liquor cabinet. Spray it directly onto the mold and mildew, and wait 15 minutes. Then use a cloth or small scrubbing brush to wipe it clean. And don’t forget to save a little for an after-cleaning celebration!

Photo By: John Foxx

Tea

More than a favorite beverage, brewed tea can be used to clean windows, mirrors and countertops. Spray on your bathroom surfaces just as you would any typical window or surface cleaner. Then, keep your bags to hide in the back of the fridge. They will actually work to deodorize it. And if you need to remove the scent of onion, garlic or fish from your hands, cut a bag open, and wash your hands with the leaves to remove the odor.

Salt

Remember that miracle lemon that cleaned the tub? If your dirt stains are particularly stubborn, add some salt to the lemon, and scrub the surface of your bathtub, sink or toilet. Once your salt solution has done the trick, just rinse off any pulp and leftover residue, leaving your bathroom perfectly clean with a lemon-fresh scent!

Baking Soda

Perfect for cleaning counters, sinks, drains, the toilet bowl, soap scum, shower doors, showerheads, and well, pretty much anything in the kitchen and bathroom, baking soda is one cleaning agent you don’t want to be without. For most kitchen and bathroom surfaces, a simple paste made of baking soda and water will do the trick.

Drain Cleaner

Though it is not a natural cleaning solution, exactly, a drain snake is an eco-friendly way to clean out the main source of drain blockage: hair. And if you don’t have a drain snake, you can still avoid pouring harsh chemicals down the bathtub drain by unwinding a wire hanger, hooking the end, pushing it down the drain as far as it will go, and pulling up hair that is keeping the water from draining properly.

Photo By: JOE MARTINEZ JR.

Fill in Any Scratches

If there are scratches that stand out after cleaning the hardwood floor, simply take a crayon the color of the floor and rub it on the scratch to fill the gap. Turn a blow dryer on high, heat the area where the crayon was applied and buff it with a soft cloth.

Clean Vinyl Floors

Mix borax in a bucket of warm water and wash the floor.

Kitchen Flooring Ideas

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A 1940s Home's Original Hardwood

This kitchen was totally overhauled, the only thing that was kept from the original space was the solid wood floors, they needed just a slight refinishing. As seen on DIY Network's I Hate My Kitchen

Photo By: Steve Niedorf / Getty Images

Upper West Side Apartment

A deep-brown hardwood floor anchors this modern white kitchen. Dark floors work best in spaces with very high ceilings.  As seen on DIY Network's Million Dollar Contractor

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2013, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Wood-Looking Tile

This floor looks like hardwood, but it is actually porcelain tile, so no worrying about spills or scratches. As seen on DIY Network's I Hate My Kitchen

Photo By: Steve Niedorf / Getty Images ©2013, DIY Network /Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights

Planned Randomness

This slate floor tile was laid out in a Versailles pattern. It combines four different sizes of tile replicated over and over to give the finished floor a random look. As seen on DIY Network's I Hate My Kitchen

Photo By: Steve Niedorf / Getty Images

Easy-to-Install Bamboo

Sustainable bamboo flooring in a caramel color adds warmth to this industrial-style kitchen. As seen on DIY Network's House Crashers

Photo By: Martin Klimek/Getty Images

Modern Residential Loft

This modern kitchen was once a commericial office space that was turned into a luxurious loft-style home. The hardwood floor just needed to be sanded and refinished in order to make it shine. As seen on DIY Network's Million Dollar Contractor

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Long and Lean

The flooring in this galley kitchen is laid the long way to help make the space look bigger. As seen on DIY Network's Kitchen Crashers

Colorful Farmhouse Kitchen

Vinyl plank flooring was installed right over the existing linoleum flooring. The new flooring was extended into the adjacent living room to give the space continuity. As seen on DIY Network's I Hate My Kitchen

Photo By: Stephanie Rau / Getty Images

Budget Alternative

This inexpensive floor is made from particle-board plywood joined with aluminum seams and covered in a thick coat of oil-based polyurethane. The floor is very durable and the plywood's pattern helps hide dirt. As seen on DIY Network's I Hate My Kitchen

Photo By: Jenn Ackerman / Getty Images ©2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Neutral Travertine

This kitchen features new custom cabinets, a colorful backsplash tile and travertine-tile flooring. The poured-concrete countertops, new stainless-steel appliances and tech-friendly accessories finish off the kitchen. As seen on DIY Network's I Hate My Kitchen.  

Photo By: Jenn Ackerman / Getty Images

Beautiful Terra Cotta

This kitchen was totally remodeled, except the beautiful Saltillo floor tile. The homeowners loved the flooring so much, they built the new kitchen around it. As seen on DIY Network's Kitchen Crashers

Honeycomb Tile

This Spanish-inspired kitchen was resurfaced with authentic Saltillo tiles in a high-gloss finish. Knotty alder cabinets and vibrant-colored countertops complete the rich and rustic look. As seen on DIY Network's House Crashers

Able to Use What They Got

This kitchen was completely remodeled in a French-country style with a few modern-design elements sprinkled in. Fortunately for the homeowners, their gorgeous hardwood floor didn't need to be redone, and it fit in perfectly with the new space. As seen on DIY Network's House Crashers

Refurbished Barn

This warm and cozy kitchen sits in a converted 19th-century barn. The sturdy knotty-pine floor lends to the rustic charm of this unique home. As seen on DIY Network's Kitchen Impossible.  

Chevron Patterned

Custom-cut vinyl tile laid in a herringbone pattern lends a ton of personality to this contemporary kitchen. As seen on DIY Network's I Hate My Kitchen

Photo By: Jenn Ackerman / Getty Images

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