Hard Surface Care Tips

In between professional cleanings of your hard surfaces, you will likely need to wipe up a spill from time to time to keep these valuable surfaces in tip-top shape. Our expert in hard surface care, Daryl Smith, provides the following tips on how to clean and care for your hard surfaces:

1. For the most part, mild soap & warm water are your friend. It is not always necessary or beneficial to use an off-the-shelf cleaning product for everyday care of your hard surfaces. These products can cause build-up on your hard surfaces, and if used too often, can start to eat away at the surface and/or grout lines surrounding it. Soap & water make a very effective cleaning agent and are gentle to use as well as affordable!

2. Do not use products that say they will provide added shine to your surfaces. These products typically contain a wax-like substance that builds up over time by putting thin layers of wax on top of each other each time you use the product. After a while, these layers will cause a darkened, dirty appearance to your hard surfaces and will need to be completely stripped off in order to restore your surface to its natural appearance.

3. General every day care tips for hard surfaces such as counters and floors:

  • Sweep your floors regularly (at least once per week) to remove loose dirt.
  • Always use a door mat outside each entrance to your home or business to prevent dirt, sand, grit, and other substances such as oil, asphalt, and driveway sealant from being tracked onto your floor.
  • Wipe down countertops with mild soap and water regularly to prevent build-up.
  • Prevent stains or etching on your hard surfaces by wiping spills up promptly.
  • Mop occasionally with a neutral cleaner, above and beyond your frequent sweeping. Be mindful not to use more than the recommended amount of a mild cleaning solution, as it may leave an undesirable dulling film on your surface.

4. Caring for specific hard surfaces: 

  • Marble, Limestone, & Other Natural Stones: These natural stones can be very sensitive to acids (such as soda, face wash, toothpaste, fruit juice, etc.), so you will want to clean up after a spill as soon as possible. The acids will eat away at the calcium contained in natural stones, causing a dull appearance that usually needs to be honed and polished to restore. You can first try to clean up the spill with mild soap and water - the spot may disappear when you wipe it off, but if it comes back when it's dry, that is an etch mark that would need to be removed and polished by a professional. 
  • Ceramic & Porcelain: These surfaces are virtually indestructible and can be cleaned with vinegar and water which can also help to whiten and brighten grout lines. If your grout lines really need a good restoration, we recommend hiring a professional to ensure that nothing is damaged and the restoration is as beautiful as possible.
  • Granite: This product is treated very differently than marble since it is not acid sensitive and is very easy to clean. Daryl recommends using mild soap and water to clean regularly, and to have your granite professionally cleaned and sealed every 3-5 years. 
  • Travertine: Travertine should be treated just like marble in terms of how to clean it - sweep/vacuum regularly, and mop with mild soap and water, making sure to rinse well.We strongly recommend that all travertine floors be cared for by a professional who can refill their natural holes effectively and polish them back to the same shine as the rest of the floor. You can effectively clean travertine by using a gentle cleaner and warm water and wiping down with a soft material.
  • VCT (Vinyl Composite Tile) & LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile): These materials are most typically used in commercial settings and can be cared for relatively easily by mopping with warm water and a mild, neutral cleaner. Be sure to dry completely after mopping, as sitting water can seep into the cracks in this flooring and start to lift the tiles. 
  • Slate: Slate should be cleaned regularly by mopping with a neutral cleaner (such as a mild dish soap) and sponge mop.

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