It doesn't matter how much you scrub your floors; if the baseboards are grungy, the room will never look clean. Here's how to tidy up these dirt magnets without breaking your back.
I confess: I very
rarely clean the baseboards in my home. The job is just too big and I can't imagine when I'd carve out a whole afternoon to get down on my hands and knees to scrub these seemingly endless strips of wood, which seem to attract dirt and dust like a magnet.
But it's those finishing touches that give a room that polished look. The truth is, baseboard cleaning doesn't have to be so daunting. Frequent touch-ups and preventive maintenance are key to avoiding a big job down the road.Here are a few tips for taking the toil out of cleaning your baseboards.
- Do them last
Wait until the rest of your floor cleaning (sweeping, mopping) is done, then tackle the baseboards. They're likely to get even dirtier as you kick up debris from the floors, and doing the baseboards last will save you from having to do them twice.
- Vacuum them
Vacuum the baseboards using your brush attachment
. The baseboards should be totally free of hair, dust and any loose dirt before you wash them. Pay particular attention to the floor around the baseboards, which is where most of the floor's dirt tends to accumulate.
- Spray them
Working room by room, spray the baseboards with an all-purpose cleaner.I use this homemade cleaner
, and it works wonders. Be careful not to soak your baseboards or get too much water on the wall behind them, as this could cause damage to your drywall.Let the solution sit for about 10 minutes.
Using a damp sponge mop with clean water, wash the baseboards. The mop is convenient from a logistical standpoint, especially if you have a bad back; you don't have to get down and dirty, so to speak. But really tough marks may still require you to get on the floor and scrub. If the stains are stubborn, just scrub harder, but refrain from using anything abrasive, like a scouring pad, on your baseboards.
- Protect them
Once your baseboards are clean and dry, take a new dryer sheet
and wipe it over the wood. The anti-static cling property of the dryer sheet will cut the amount of dust that sticks to baseboards. In fact, each time you sweep and vacuum, go over the baseboards quickly with a dryer sheet. If you have shedding pets, you'll want to do this regularly. This preventative maintenance will go a long way.
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These tips will keep your baseboards clean, but what if you are preparing to paint them? Here's a quick clip to ensure a paint project is started right: