Cleaning Solutions for Hard Surface Floors

Thoroughly clean all your hard surface floors including hardwoods, tile and linoleum

Cleaning Solutions for Hard Surface Floors

Hard surface floors are fairly easy to clean with just a little daily maintenance and upkeep. If spills are wiped up quickly and floors are regularly swept and vacuumed, you won't have to spend too much time on your hands and knees scrubbing. Inevitably, however, there will come a time when the shiny finish on a floor dulls or dirt and grime set in to the point that a little sweeping isn't going to take care of the mess.

This buying guide highlights the different types of cleaning solutions available, along with information on which solution is best for a particular type of floor.

Hardwood Floors

Each type of floor requires a different type of cleaning solution to create a glossy appearance

  • Use a solvent-based cleaner or polish if the wood does not have a polyurethane finish.
  • Sweep and vacuum prior to applying cleanser, wax or polish.
  • Electric floor polishers can be used to apply finishes.
  • Avoid using heavy-duty or abrasive cleaners as they can dull a floor’s surface.

Vinyl and Linoleum Floors

Regular sweeping, vacuuming and dust mopping will help keep your vinyl floors looking good

  • If your vinyl or linoleum floor has a no-wax finish, use a mild all-purpose cleanser or detergent and damp mop to remove dirt and grime. Rinse thoroughly to remove the soil and soapy residue.
  • Avoid using solvent-based cleaners or very hot water as both can damage linoleum. 
  • Waxed floors can be stripped, refinished and then cleaned with a degreaser or all-purpose cleaner.
  • Soak stains and heavy soil in cleanser, and then gently remove with a scrub brush.
  • Avoid scrubbing too hard when cleaning to prevent damaging waxed finishes.
  • Use felt pads underneath furniture to avoid marring cleaned surfaces.

Tile and Stone Floors

Cleaning tile floors is easy, but grout can be difficult to clean based upon the color or sealant

  • Grout treated with a silicone sealant will resist stains better.
  • Sweep or vacuum floors prior to mopping to remove loose dirt and soil.
  • Tile floors may be glazed or unglazed and each is cleaned differently.
  • Seal unglazed floors to prevent stains from setting.
  • Avoid using abrasive or highly acidic cleaners on glazed floors.
  • Use a grout brush to remove soil from grout.
  • Seal and wax porous brick and marble floors for easier maintenance.
  • Use a sealer designed for terrazzo surfaces if you have a terrazzo floor.

Laminate Floors

Laminate floors are one of the easiest types to clean and maintain

  • Regular sweeping, dust mopping and vacuuming help keep them looking great.
  • Use felt pads underneath furniture to ensure a lasting finish.
  • Cleaners used on hardwoods will be safe for use on laminate, but read the product literature to make sure.
  • Do not mop laminate floors and always wipe spills immediately.
  • A damp sponge can be used to clean up spills.
  • Terry cloth mop heads are best for applying cleansers to laminate floors.
  • Touch-up kits, which may include putty or wax pencils, can be used to repair small scratches and dents.

Floor Type What to Avoid What to Avoid


  • Sweep and vacuum regularly
  • Use solvent-based cleaners if you don't have a polyurethane finish
  • Water, unless floor has a
    polyurethane coating
  • Abrasive cleaners


  • Sweep and vacuum regularly
  • Use felt protectors underneath furniture
  • Position rugs to collect gravel and other abrasive material
  • Wet mopping
  • Soapy solutions
  • Wax and sealer
  • Abrasive cleaners

Stone and Brick

  • Seal and wax
  • Use a solvent-based wax
  • Use heavy-duty floor cleaner on concrete surfaces
  • Acidic cleaners
  • Abrasive cleaners
  • Alkaline cleaners


  • Use a grout brush to keep grout clean
  • Mop with a mild all-purpose cleanser
  • Abrasive cleaners on glazed floors
  • Acidic cleaners on glazed floors

Vinyl and Linoleum

  • Seal when new
  • Sweep and vacuum regularly
  • Solvent-based cleaners
  • Hot water
  • Alkaline cleaners