When they aren’t covered in shoes, laundry, Legos, Cheerios, and Tupperware, they still scream “Children live here!” with the tell-tale signs of dirt, sticky smudges, dust, and food residue. Kids eat three meals and 500 snacks a day, so there is an endless supply of yuck. When my first born was crawling, we went through a season where I decided not to pick up the spilled Goldfish, as he would eventually make his way back around to eating them. But for those times when you are ready to get your hardwoods shiny and linoleum rid of stuck-on food, here are some tricks and safe-for-crawlers cleaners to help us.
Generally, Vacuuming is Better Than Sweeping
You will never see me using a broom inside, unless it’s on a stairwell. I always recommend vacuuming hard floors with the vacuum floor attachment. It’s more efficient; it’s more effective. It’s great for getting under counters, in corners, etc. I have tried nearly every vacuum known to man – uprights, canisters, Dysons, Rainbows, Kirbys, Hoovers, etc. But my favorite is the Kenmore Progressive Canister. It’s affordable, extremely effective, and is super easy to maneuver on hard floors, furniture, etc. If you have mainly carpet, an upright makes sense. If you have a lot of hard floor, I will always recommend a canister. Try some out and ultimately get what you like!
My choice – Kenmore Canister Vacuum: amzn.to/1mKSOBr
Hardwood: Wet or Damp Mop
Real hardwoods are my absolute favorite. They are easy to clean and they are beautiful to me, even when messy. And you have the freedom of choosing between a wet or damp mop. Wet mopping requires you to fill a bucket with water and floor cleaner, while damp mopping uses a flat mop with a cloth cover and a spray bottle of floor cleaner that you spray on the floor as you go along.
Either works well, it’s just a matter of preference. If your house is full of hardwood, I would lean towards a wet mop, simply because it’s faster.
Laminate: Damp Mop Only
When it comes to laminate, especially wood-design laminate, always go with a flat damp mop and mop cover. Using a wet mop will leave water marks and streaks. Remember to always mop along the grain to reduce any streaking. Also, make sure if you are using a concentrate floor cleaner in your spray bottle to have the right ratio of cleaner to water, or it will leave a residue.
Flat Mop: amzn.to/1n623Oj
Linoleum: Steamer and Magic Eraser
While hardwoods are my favorite, linoleum is my least favorite to clean, even though everyone’s house seems to have linoleum somewhere. They are easily stained, hard to clean, and I swear they are a magnet for sticky food. Two things I recommend trying on top of regular mopping – a magic eraser mop and a steamer. The floor steamer can be good for getting up dried food. The magic eraser mop is good for getting up stains.
Green Floor Cleaners
My top three favorite floor cleaners are:
- Earth Choice Neutral pH Floor Cleaner : amzn.to/1kjPm3x
- Melaleuca’s Tough and Tender
- Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner: amzn.to/1nITyMt
These are all highly effective, safe for little hands that like to eat off the floor, and do well on all hard floor surfaces. The Earth Choice is probably my favorite, but tell me what you like and why in the comments!
What Maintenance Looks Like
The reality is, no one has the time or desire to vacuum and mop several times a week. I personally mop once every two weeks, and vacuum our kitchen/living room (highest traffic areas) several times a week. I did get a small $30 floor vacuum to stay in our kitchen, thinking it would be more convenient in cleaning after meals, but it only served to frustrate me more, since it had poorer suction than our Kenmore. Having a steamer on hand can be helpful after meals because it can get food up easily and you just toss the cover in the wash when you’re done. Ultimately, having clean floors just takes a little effort here and there throughout the week. Keeping the highest traffic areas vacuumed will help keep the rest of the house clean as well.