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How to keep your floors clean and virus free

The coronavirus crisis has focused attention on how to keep homes as clean as possible, but pandemic or not, it’s always important that floors are regularly cleaned and disinfected.

How long does the coronavirus live on floors?

Studies have shown that the coronavirus can live on a floor for several hours. The virus lives longer on hard surfaces such as vinyl, laminates and wood than it does on carpets.

The coronavirus remains for a shorter amount of time than some other viruses, however. The flu virus, for example, can remain active on the floor for up to 48 hours, while the norovirus can survive for as long as four weeks.

What are the chances of getting infected by the coronavirus on floors?

You can get infected by the coronavirus (or COVID-19) by touching it and then touching your face, or breathing the virus in. We rarely tend to touch the floor with our hands, but if you exercise indoors, use a yoga or exercise mat that can be cleaned after use.

In the current climate, it’s better not to walk barefoot over floors. Wear socks or slippers. If you go outside, it’s a good idea to take your footwear off at the entrance to prevent you from treading in viruses.

How do you remove viruses from floors?

The good news is that the coronavirus or any other virus is easy to remove by cleaning the floor.

The virus is sensitive to most household disinfectants and bleach. If the label of a cleaner says that it will kill the influenza virus, it will also be effective against the coronavirus. Disinfectant wipes can also do the job.

How often should I clean floors?

Frequently touched items such as keyboards, kitchen surfaces and dining tables should be disinfected several times a day. Floors are not generally touched, so need cleaning less frequently, but should not be neglected. Remember, it is not only the coronavirus that is harmful; bacteria and other viruses can cause illness too.

How to clean carpets

Carpets should be cleaned regularly, and vacuuming should be done daily. Normally, it is recommended that carpets be washed using a carpet cleaning machine every three to four months, but during the coronavirus pandemic, you might want to do this more frequently.

To wash a carpet, use a good carpet cleaning machine. If you hire one, you can usually purchase the recommended cleaning solution at the same time.

It is recommended that carpets be cleaned at least once a year by professional carpet cleaners with deep-cleaning machines, although during times of virus lockdown, this may not be possible.

It is important to clean the whole floor, so remove the furniture. Alternatively, stack the furniture to one side of the room and clean half of the carpet before moving the furniture to clean the other half.

If you do not own a carpet cleaner or cannot hire one, the next best thing is to clean the carpet by hand. Use a cloth with a cleaning solution and rub hard.

If you cannot find a shop that sells carpet cleaning solution, you can clean a carpet with vinegar and baking soda. Make a solution of three parts of water to one part of vinegar, and use a plant spray to spray the solution onto any stains. Blot the area with a clean microfibre cloth without rubbing, then wait for the carpet to dry before sprinkling with baking soda. Leave for a few hours, preferably overnight, then vacuum.

How do you clean laminate floors?

Cleaning laminate flooring is easy. Start by sweeping with a soft-bristle brush or vacuum. This gets rid of loose dust and dirt.

Use a mop with a small amount of water, or use a laminate floor cleaning solution. Don’t use detergent as this can leave a film surface on the floor.

Remove stubborn stains with a mixture of white vinegar and water. Stains on laminate floors should never be scrubbed with abrasive cleaners such as scouring pads, as this can damage the floor.

How do you clean vinyl flooring?

Clean vinyl flooring in a similar way to laminate flooring. Vacuum or sweep loose dirt and debris. Mop with water, or use cleaning products formulated for vinyl. Karndean and Amtico have their own products for their luxury vinyl tile range.

How do you clean wood floors?

Modern wood and engineered wood flooring have a protective top layer of polyurethane. This makes the floor stain and water-resistant. Polyurethane coated floors should not be oiled, waxed or cleaned with wood furniture spray. Older wood floors may have an oiled finish.

If you are not sure what type of wood floor you have, rub your fingers on a section of the floor. If marks appear on the surface, it has been treated with polyurethane.

Dust the floor with a mop, electrostatic cloth or vacuum to remove loose dirt and debris. This will also remove viruses so it is a good idea to clean the floor at least once a day during a virus pandemic. As with laminate, never use abrasive cleaners.

Wood floors need deep cleaning occasionally, but more frequently during a pandemic. Use a damp but not over wet mop or sponge and a wood cleaning solution diluted according to the instructions on the label.

Mop the floor to leave it damp but not wet – never leave puddles. Rinse using a clean cloth unless the cleaning solution instructions say this is not needed.

Wax-covered wood floors need re-waxing at least once a year. After vacuuming, use a wax stripper to remove the wax, then apply a thin coat of wax using a cloth or an applicator. After the wax is dry, apply a second coat. Then use a cloth or buffing machine in the direction of the grain to buff the floor.

Stubborn stains can be treated with baking soda or washing up liquid.

It is important to keep the whole house clean, including the floors. Even after the danger from COVID-19 is over, don’t forget the common viruses and bacteria that are a health risk but are easily cleaned and disinfected.

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