Cleaning can be tiring, time-consuming work that is often left in the hands of professional cleaning companies. Regardless of who does the cleaning, it is important to realize that not every surface can be cleaned the same way, which is especially true for fabric and natural material. To avoid damaging such surfaces, owners and cleaning services alike must identify which materials require extra care and how to properly clean them.
Before cleaning anything, it is important for property owners and cleaning services to know the make-up of the surface. Expensive decor and certain popular surfaces may need to be cleaned in very specific ways. This is frequently the case with carpeting, area rugs, hardwood floors, and other surfaces made of natural materials.
Identifying and Cleaning Natural and Delicate Surfaces
Natural material is more likely to require specific cleaning to avoid staining or any other damage. Following are some natural materials that expert cleaning services know requires special treatment:
Natural Wood – Water can damage real wood floors; wood absorbs water, causing it to swell and warp. Unsealed wood must be cleaned with gentle oil-based products made for wood that can be used without water. Expert cleaning services use a damp microfiber mop or rag. Some wood floors are polyurethane coated and can be cleaned with regular products; however, it is always best to assume a floor is unsealed and avoid the use of cleaning products other than oil-based soaps for natural wood.
Stone, Marble, Limestone, Ceramic Tile, Etc. – Floors made from various types of stone, slate, mineral, or ceramic material must be carefully treated to avoid damage. Many cleaning services advise that natural materials are chemically sensitive and can be damaged or degraded if a regular floor cleaner is used. It is better to use a neutral pH cleaner made for the material, along with a damp microfiber mop or cloth – avoiding even mild soaps.
Bamboo, Hemp, Grasses and other Natural Fibers – The biggest enemy of a surface made from organic matter, such as bamboo and grasses, is water. These materials soak up water, causing swelling, warping, and buckling. It is better for cleaning services to clean bamboo with a rag or mop that is barely dampened. Mats or rugs made of grasses, hemp, and other various plant materials cannot be cleaned by any method other than vacuuming or dusting, including spot cleaning.
Wool and Animal Hair Rugs – These rugs should be vacuumed frequently with a soft brush, smooth floor attachment, or one made for delicate rugs. Beater bars or stiff brushes damage natural animal hair fibers or cause felting, which destroys the appearance of the carpet. Besides gentle brushing and vacuuming, animal hair rugs require an extensive immersion process by professional cleaning services for proper cleaning without damage. Vacuum these rugs and spot clean all stains immediately.
Before beginning any type of cleaning, cleaning services must determine the material involved and how to clean it. Spot testing is also recommended. In most cases, the best way to clean a natural surface is with a vacuum or, where applicable, a barely-damp microfiber mop or cloth!
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