How to deal with spills, stains and slime on any kind of flooring

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If you’ve got a full house, with kids at home and pets skidding around, it’s possible that your floors will take the brunt of this. With muddy footprints, scratchy paws, food and drink spills and creative supplies toppling over, flooring can easily become ruined. Here’s how to clean scuffs, stains and slime off your flooring and prevent you from having to replace the whole lot..!

Now more than ever playtime and craft-time is taking place in our homes and gardens. And that often means extra mess to tidy up. It’s almost inevitable that glitter and glue will be spilled onto your laminate and slime will end up stuck in your carpet. So I thought it would be a good idea to share some cleaning tips for dealing with these mini household disasters before they cause long-term damage.

Remember to test any of these solutions on an inconspicuous area first so that you can see how the solution will react on your flooring.

CARPETS

Firstly, to keep your carpets clean they will probably need vacuuming a little more than often. The more people and pets that use a room, the more dust, dirt and fluff will accumulate in the fibres of your carpet – so keep on top of it with a regular cleaning schedule. Just because you haven’t got visitors coming into your house, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean haha! To get rid of pet hairs, running a rubber-gloved hand over the carpet or rug will help to pick up hairs – you won’t believe how many are hiding in the flooring!

Secondly; stains. If someone spills a drink or any liquid on the carpet (or on any upholstery for that matter) you need to tackle it straight away. It’s so much easier to get the stain out before it dries. Dab (don’t rub) the spill with a white cloth – Mrs Hinch recommends using a white cloth so that no colour from the cloth can be transferred to the carpet or upholstery. This will absorb the spillage and then you can use paper towels to blot the area until it is dry.

Thirdly (and likely if you have little ones) is slime. It can easily get stuck in carpets and is difficult to get out one it has dried into the fibres. So act instantly and start scraping it away with a flat, blunt tool, like a butter knite or spatula. Then, once most of the slime dollop has been removed, you can apply a vinegar, citrus solvent or “sticky stuff remover” to remove the residuce – just apply it to the cloth rather than the carpet. The method is similar for removing slime from hair too. Leave it for a few minutes then rinse with hot water and blot dry with a towel.

REAL WOOD FLOORING

There are a few ways to treat spills and stains on wood flooring and the best option is preventative – clean it up straight away so that the spillage doesn’t have time to soak into the wood and cause a permanent mark. Plus, it you leave it for any length of time, the oil or drink will end up being padded around the home by pets and kids. Or it could end up seeping through the floorboard into the cavity below and cause even more damage. So use a good old-fashioned mop and clean it up!

If you have solid wood flooring that has been badly damaged by scuffs and stains, the best way to clean the planks might actually be to sand back the surface and re-finish with a wax or wood stain. While you CAN just sand and finish the affected plank, unless you have the same wood stain or wax that you used originally, it will look different to all the others, so you might want to tackle a larger area all at once so that the effect is seamless.

LAMINATE FLOORING

The most important thing to do when taking care of laminate flooring is to mop up spills of drinks and water AS SOON AS as they occur. Otherwise they could cause a permanent stain on the laminate top coat and – even worse – if it soaks into the planks, the laminate will blow apart and begin to crumble away… And you don’t need me to to tell you that one damaged laminate flooring plank can’t be replaced on its own – you’ll need a whole new floor. So get on with cleaning up the mess with a microfibre cloth or a mop designed for laminate floors to absorb all the moisture immediately and make sure the area is completely dry before the damage is done.

If you get crayon marks on your laminate flooring (which is likely with the kids being creative at home!) don’t worry. You can get rid of crayon marks on laminate flooring by using rubbing alcohol on a white cloth. This is also suitable for cleaning off shoe polish marks and pen ink marks on laminate flooring, so you an be reassured that your flooring will survive all the activities you throw at it!

I hope these tips will help you stay on top of keeping your flooring clean and please do share your own cleaning hacks in the comments below, I’d love to get your advice too 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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