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How to Clean and Disinfect Hardwood & Carpet

Not all floors are created equally, so there are different ways to clean each. While they may share similarities, methods for cleaning and disinfecting these surfaces aren’t the same. Products used and water amounts can make or break a great floor. 

In the wake of coronavirus, we know to disinfect all surfaces in our home, but the floor might be the forgotten front. Here are some ways to clean your hardwood or carpeted floor and tips on keeping dirt and germs at bay.

Hardwood Floors

Just think about all the abuse your wood floors endure: dirt, mud, food debris, pet dander all getting pounded into the wood’s finish and forced between the boards. The best thing you can do for your hardwood floors is regularly sweeping the surface, cleaning up spills immediately, and not subjecting it to harsh chemicals and water. Standing water and cleaners are the kryptonite of hardwood floors. 

When vacuuming hardwood floors, choose a soft floor nozzle as carpet beaters and brush rolls can damage the wood’s finish. For sweeping, choose a soft-bristled angled broom to get into the corners but wide enough that it allows you to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Always vacuum and sweep with the grain. 

If you find that you’ve left a stain too long and it’s gotten sticky on the wood floor, clean it ASAP with a slightly dampened cloth and rub vigorously at the stain. 

For a more detailed guide to cleaning hardwood floors, check out our previous article.

Keep in mind

  • Avoid household DIY options such as vinegar or baking soda. These can wear down the finish that keeps hardwood floors charmingly shiny.
  • Minimize water usage as much as possible. Ring out your mophead very thoroughly before mopping. Avoid using a steam cleaner to make floors shiny.
  • Clean spills right when they happen. Letting sit can cause buildup and staining.
  • Maintain your clean. Take a microfiber cloth or sweeper every week or so to capture any residual dust, dirt, or dander.


The Process

  1. Rent or buy a steam cleaner if you don’t already have one. Stores like Home Depot or Lowes usually offer rentals for roughly $30-50/day. Steam vacuum cleaners can cost anywhere from $150 and up to own.
  2. Read the instructions on the machine carefully. Knowing the ratios of water and cleaner to use is crucial. 
  3. There are a few different options for carpet cleaners, all mixed with specific ratios of water:
    1. Steam cleaning chemical concentrate. The ratio should be available on the bottle.
    2. White vinegar. Be sure to use full-strength vinegar, not apple cider or wine, to ensure maximum disinfectant potential. Mix with equal parts water.
    3. Isopropyl alcohol. Be sure to test this on a small part of the carpet, as it could suck out dyes. Don’t use rubbing alcohol, as it has additives that could also affect your rug.
  4. Fill the detergent portion of your steamer. Be sure not to overfill. 
  5. Follow instructions given to you on the machine, ensuring you go over every inch of carpet slowly and thoroughly.
  6. After about 5-10 minutes, pat the carpet dry with towels as much as possible. Don’t let anyone walk over it until it’s sat for a few hours to fully dry! 

Keep in mind

  • Avoid shoes on the carpet. Having a mat by the front door will allow family and visitors to take off their shoes. 
  • Keep humidity low. High humidity can create a breeding ground for dust mites and bacteria. 
  • Vacuum carpets regularly. This will allow any dirt, food, or whatever to not be ingrained into your carpet. 
  • If the smell of the alcohol or 

Now, keep it clean!

  • Avoid germs on your floor: take off shoes at the door, spray them with disinfectant spray such as Lysol after removing.
  • Keep wet wipes near the door to wipe dog’s paws after taking a walk.
  • Have clean slippers or socks to walk around in for extra protection. 

The Floor Trader Showrooms are independently owned and operated. Prices, products and services provided may vary by location.

The Floor Trader Showrooms are independently owned and operated. Prices, products and services provided may vary by location.