How to Clean Every Type of Floor—and Keep It Spotless

woman vacuuming hardwood under rug
Photo: Getty / Rawpixel

Giving your space a good cleaning is essential to achieving a happy and healthy home, but maintaining your floors—especially when your house has a variety of different flooring that all requires its own specific type of maintenance—can feel like an insurmountable task. Still, cleaning the floors regularly is a necessity. Once armed with our tips, you'll find that your weekly clean doesn't have to be something you dread. Whether your home is mostly hardwood, carpet, tile, or stone­—or even a mix of all four—we'll teach you how to properly clean it. What's more, we're sharing pro-approved products for every task.

It's best to sweep, vacuum, and mop your floors to remove any dirt and dust that has collected on nearly all floors types, says Leanne Stapf, COO of The Cleaning Authority. "It is best to clean your floors every one to two weeks. Be sure to regularly sweep your floors, especially when cooking a lot, to make sure food and other debris does not get kicked around and scratch up the floors. Sweeping is also best for any type of floor, whereas water can damage floors (including waxed wood)," Stapf says.

But how you clean your floors, and how frequently you give them a good wash, depends on a multitude of factors—including your floor type. Some mediums are more finicky to clean than others. It's important to be careful when cleaning hardwood, says Mary Gagliardi, Clorox's in-house scientist and cleaning expert. "Avoid using abrasive cleaning supplies like scrubbing pads or hard bristle brushes to prevent scratches," she adds.

Consumers should read labels before cleaning their floors, notes Robin Vega, Clean Republic's director of marketing and brand development. "Did you know that manufacturers are not required to list ingredients on household products?" she says. "Yes, this should shock you!" To be sure you're maintaining a clean home without dangerous chemicals, she recommends checking the Environmental Protection Agency's guidelines before washing your floors. Ahead, our experts share the best methods and products for cleaning every type of floor in your home, whether it's carpet, tile, hardwood, or laminate.

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How to Clean Hardwood Floors


How often you clean your hardwood floors depends on the foot traffic and pets you have in your home, says Gagliardi. "To keep hardwood floors looking their best, it's usually best to sweep, vacuum, or mop up dry debris at least once a week."

The more people that set foot on your floors, the more frequently you'll need to clean. "Dirt and grime, especially, can make your hardwood floors look dull. If this is the case, deep clean hardwood floors every two to four weeks," she says.

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Best Cleaning Products for Hardwood Floors

pine-sol multi-surface cleaner
Courtesy of the Home Depot

Clean and disinfect your hardwood floors in one step with Clorox Disinfecting Wet Mopping Cloths, says Gagliardi. "[These] are ultra-textured to help you trap particles, dirt, and hair—and are safe on multiple surfaces, including finished wood," she says. To deep clean, she recommends Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaner.

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How to Clean Tile Floors

dania colorful home redo entryway hexagon tiles

Cleaning tile floors is actually quite simple, according to Gagliardi, which is good news considering that this task that should be done weekly.

"All you need is a broom or vacuum and a clean cloth. Once you collect your supplies, just sweep or vacuum up any dry debris, like grit, dirt, sand, or crumbs. Then, wipe up any spills with the cloth," she says. "You can also help keep tile floors from getting dirty as quickly by placing area rugs or mats in high traffic areas. This will ensure dirt sticks to the rugs and is not tracked across the tile."

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Best Cleaning Products for Tile Floors

bissel powerfresh steam mop
Courtesy of Amazon

When it comes to the best cleaning products for tile floors, Gagliardi says to avoid sponge mops. "[You can use a] chamois mop, sponge, or cloth—but not a sponge mop, because it can push dirty water into the grout," she says.

Vega suggests the Bissel Powerfresh Steam Mop accompanied by Clean Republic for tiled floors.

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How to Clean Carpet

Martha Stewart Carra Table Lamp
Courtesy of Amazon

Always use a product that is made for use on carpet, especially for spot treating, says Gagliardi. "Avoid using stain-removing laundry products on carpets, because they require way too much water for thorough rinsing, and any cleaning agents left behind can serve as dirt magnets," she adds. "Choose products specifically formulated for carpets for the best result."

If you always remember to take your shoes off at the door, bravo, Stapf says. "Many homeowners forget and track the bacteria and dirt from their shoes across the carpet. Not only can a buildup of grime break down your carpet fibers, but it can also harbor pollutants that may make you sick," she says. "You should vacuum at least twice a week to remove any germs sitting on the surface. To really penetrate the carpet, try to get a thorough steam cleaning done every six months or at the minimum, once a year."

For tough stains, blot with either a paper towel or washcloth. "This will soak up any remaining liquid as opposed to scrubbing it deeper into the fabric," Stapf says.

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Best Cleaning Products for Carpet

shark nv356e navigator lift-away professional upright vacuum with pet power brush and crevice tool
Courtesy of Amazon

While there are so many vacuums on the market, doing your research is key to figuring out the best one for your floor type. Vega recommends this option from Shark Navigator—it can handle a myriad of surfaces, including plush carpet.

According to Martha, a vacuum is actually one of the best tools for targeting dirt stains. Her best advice? Vacuum over dirt marks at least five times to loosen the debris from the pile. It's also important to go over the soiled area in different directions.

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How to Clean Stone Floors

terrazzo flooring

Similar to cleaning tile, you must be careful when tackling stone floors. "It is best to clean your [stone] floors every one to two weeks," Stapf says. "Be sure to regularly sweep your floors, especially when cooking a lot, to make sure food and other debris does not get kicked around and scratch up the floors."

08 of 11

Best Cleaning Products for Stone Floors

pine-sol original squirt n mop
Courtesy of Pine Sol

You can use Pine-Sol Original Squirt 'N Mop on this floor type. "It's safe for hard, nonporous surfaces like ceramic and porcelain tiles, and also sealed granite," Gagliardi says. "You can apply this product directly from the bottle over a 3 foot x 3 foot area and start mopping. Then, keep working your way over the entire tile floor one section at a time. To finish, use a clean, damp mop to wipe the floor clean."

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How to Clean Laminate Floors

Blurred silhouette of young woman walking at home. Panoramic view of modern interior with white kitchen cupboards, wooden countertop, electric oven

Want to learn how to clean laminate floors? This synthetic material, which mimics the look of hardwood, is delicate and should be cleaned carefully, says Kathy Cohoon, the director of franchise operations of Two Maids & A Mop. She advises bi-weekly cleanings at a minimum (increase as needed in heavily-trafficked rooms). "Take care of spills, grime, or stains as soon as you see them and only use products suitable for laminate (no bleach here!)," she says.

Dust daily using a dry dust mop if necessary; these tools are best, since more abrasive cleaners, like brooms, can cause scratches or dings. This floor type should also not get overly wet, so limit water and product use; excess moisture can warp the material over time.

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Best Cleaning Products for Laminate Floors

Mopping laminate flooring

You'll need a dust or dry strip mop to first remove hair or debris from laminate floors, says Cohoon.

Then, it's time to gently mop. Use a laminate-specific cleaning solution, like Bona Hard-Surface Floor Cleaner, or make one at home following Cohoon's DIY formula: one part rubbing alcohol, a squirt of gentle dish soap, and three parts water. "Using a well wrung-out mop and your cleaning solution of choice, mop the entire area without over-saturating," she says. "Dry with a soft towel or allow to air dry."

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Best Product for Removing Pet Stains From Floors

Clorox Stain & Odor Remover Spray for Pets, 32 fl. oz.
Courtesy of PetCo

Whether you're cleaning carpet, wood, or tile, when you're dealing with a pet-related stain, you want to use the right type of product. "Clorox Pet Solutions Stain & Odor Remover Spray is a powerful cleaner formulated with hydrogen peroxide that actually breaks down pet stains instead of simply covering them up with fragrance," Gagliardi says. Just be sure to test for safety in an inconspicuous area of your floor first.

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