Before we moved into our new home, our builder had our home cleaned numerous times so it would be absolutely perfect. Don’t you want your home to always look that perfect? I know I do! House plans with open floor plans like ours allow you to see almost the entire home from just about anywhere. As nice as that is, it does mean you can’t hide your messes in the other room. If the kitchen is dirty or piled with dishes, then it’s not just the kitchen’s problem, but our main living area and breakfast room’s problem too. I’m typically fairly neat, but these new house plans being built today are often open layouts like ours, so a few tips on keeping the spaces clean can’t hurt. And, many of the surfaces we selected for countertops and flooring are different than what we’ve had in the past, so it’s important to know how to handle these materials so they last forever.
Almost our entire home has real wood floors, which are for the most part pretty low maintenance. We try to Swiffer the floors a few times a week, or if the dogs track anything into the house. Our builder mentioned that a damp towel is best for removing any marks, paw prints, or spills. He said that we definitely don’t want to get the floor extremely wet and use floor cleaners or soap on it. We made the mistake in the past of putting floor cleaner on our previous floor and from that point forward it always appeared a little cloudy.
We opted for vinyl flooring for our laundry room and bathrooms. Although, I’d love to have wood in these areas, I honestly was afraid of the moisture in the bathrooms, and the laundry room floor is the first floor people typically step onto, so it gets a ton of wear and tear. We also gate our dogs in the laundry room when we leave the house, so the vinyl flooring is much easier to clean if there’s an accident. The vinyl flooring our builder uses is amazing. It looks so much like ceramic tile I remember rubbing my foot across it to feel the grout the first time I saw it in one of his spec homes. It is a very neutral color that looks fantastic and it’s textured unlike vinyl flooring of the past, so if a scrape occurs, it’s much less visible. Although many homeowners may feel vinyl is subpar looking compared to wood or carpet, new house designs that feature vinyl flooring like ours don’t appear to me to be finished in a less expensive way. If you decide to add vinyl flooring to your home, just remember that if you drop something with a sharp edge it could puncture your floor. And, once again we try to stick with water and a little disinfectant to make sure the floor is clean. It is recommended that you refrain from using ammonia based cleaning products on vinyl flooring because over time it can cause cracks because it tends to break down the material.
Another new surface in our home when it comes to cleaning is our granite countertop. The builder mentioned it was sealed, but he also said it can’t hurt to reseal it every now and then to protect it. I’ve noticed that granite is definitely porous, so always be mindful of spills and clean them up as soon as possible, especially anything with a bright color. Also, if possible try not to use ammonia, vinegar, lemon or orange cleaning products or bleach, these are all too harsh. And, always use trivets for hot pots and pans to protect your granite from harsh temperatures. Although granite is a tough surface, it does require a little TLC.
Another new surface we have is our stainless steel appliances and sink. The delivery person who brought in our stainless steel refrigerator shared some important information about hot to clean stainless steel. Little did I know you should never use a product like Windex on it. In fact, it can make the stainless steel appear dull and often darker in color where applied. He also mentioned that it is best to use a soft towel or shammy type cloth to clean with as opposed to paper towels, which can also make the stainless steel look dull. Although I have a multi-surface cleaner I bought that mentions that it’s OK to use on stainless steel, I try most of the time to just use water and it tends to work just fine.
Although we have many other surfaces throughout our home, these surfaces were new to me and learning how to clean them so they last was very important. I’m still aiming for our home to be as clean as our initial walk-through!
One last tip, I always find shower doors to be difficult to clean. It seems after one use, those ugly watermarks cover the surface and no matter what you do, they never go away. Well, I found a great shower door cleaner that worked perfectly. Although the original solution called for equal parts Dawn dish soap and white distilled vinegar, I did half as much Dawn dish detergent than vinegar. Believe it or not, heat the vinegar in the microwave for a couple of minutes until it is warm, and then add the dish soap. I put the solution in a spray bottle and then sprayed it all over the shower doors. Yes, it is soapy and it seems like it will leave a soapy residue that will be even less attractive than the watermarks. But, after I used a towel to scrub the doors covered in this solution, I used a wet towel to get most of the soapy solution off the doors. Then I used dry paper towels for the remaining solution still on the doors. Amazingly, the doors look terrific! You must give this a try if you find yourself always disappointed in the appearance of your glass shower doors.
Do you have any cleaning tips you’ve learned for any of the surfaces I mentioned above? Do you agree that stainless dulls when cleaned with paper towels? Please share the cleaning tips you use for your home!