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Home Care

How to Clean, Disinfect Your Floor to Keep Germs Out of Your Home

Whether wood, linoleum, porcelain, or vinyl

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Photography: CoWomen | Unsplash

The floors of your home is one of the first things that can become breeding grounds of germs, bacteria, and viruses. With people going in and out and food particles falling and being unwittingly left on it, it’s important that your floor is cleaned on a daily basis now more than ever.

To lessen the probability of bringing in harmful microbes, make it a habit to use different sets of footwear indoors and outdoors. For shoes that you wear to do grocery runs or to work which you keep in your closet, soak them in a foot bath or wash and disinfect them (with dwell time) prior to bringing them in. To add a layer of protection, wash your floors once a week, and your kitchen area more often than that. Here are a few tips that can help:

Wood

According to Real Simple, when cleaning your hardwood floors, the first thing you should do is to see what finish it has: polyurethane or wax. To check, simply rub your floor with a finger—if it smudges, then your floor is waxed.

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Waxed floors aren’t as “sealed” as those with a polyurethate finish, so don’t douse it with water or use damp cloths to clean it. Instead, you’ll have to often sweep and vacuum. There’s not much disinfection you can do on wax-finished wooden floors, but you can regularly spay your disinfectant of your choice in your room to help mitigate that.

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Polyurethane-finished wooden floors are more common, and is probably what you have in your own home. This means your floor is more protected from liquids, which is why you can use damp rags or a mop with soapy water to clean it.

Linoleum

Linoleum is much easier to clean than wooden floors. Soapy water (or dish soap) works best. You can put it in a spritz bottle or have a pail of it for your mop. Rinse. If your floor seems sticky after drying it up, then that means you weren’t able to remove all of the soap solution—simply wipe it again with a damp mop or rug.

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Bleach also works well on linoleum. Dilute 3/4 cup of bleach into a gallon of water, then clean your floor as you would with soapy water.

Porcelain tiles and vinyl

You can use a steam cleaner on porcelain tiles, but for disinfection, Real Simple recommends 1/4 cup of vinegar mixed with 16 ounces of water mixed with one drop of dishwashing liquid. Pour in a spray bottle.

Bonus: Don’t forget your rugs!

Unless your home sports expensive, antique area rugs (like Persian rugs), then this is something that you can DIY. Area rugs are generally cleaned once a year, but given the COVID-19 situation, you may want to do it more often than that. If you don’t have rug shampoo, feel free to use dishwashing liquid and a soft-bristle brush or sponge.

You’ll first need to vacuum your rug to remove dust and debris and make it easier for you to wash it. Remember to first test your soap solution on one corner of the rug. You may need a milder soap of the color bleeds and fades. Continue with soaping your rug if the color doesn’t run.

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Afterwards, rinse your rug under running water or use a garden hose. Make sure that no suds are left before removing excess water. Wring it, and then hang your rug out to dry.

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