A Clean Sweep

Providing top-class customer service means guiding your customer through the entire purchasing process, including the aftercare. Here, the team from carpet

runners and stair rod specialist Carpet Runners UK discusses the dos and don’ts of floorcare and maintenance for different materials.

When it comes to floors of any kind, from laminate to hardwood, a lot of advice is rightly focused on using the correct method to initially lay the floor. Incorrect floor laying methods can cause flooring to raise up at the edges, bubble or not lie flat, but equally important is making sure floors receive the proper care once down. Flooring maintenance is not a one-size-fits-all area, and each material will require a specific kind of aftercare.

Advising your customers on the right finishes, aftercare and ongoing maintenance for each floor is important to help to ensure its longevity and appearance. Proper research is vital as each and every flooring and surface will need a bespoke mixture of care. While bespoke is best, a general tip is to avoid commonly-available supermarket cleaners such as all-purpose liquids. While they can be tempting due to the ease of use and the pleasant fragrances used, many contain chemicals which can compromise certain types of laminate flooring, or dull quality hardwood.

For laminate flooring, it is important not to use anything too hard or intense, and to instead opt for soft bristled brooms or brushes. Unless a floor is actually stained, most laminate flooring can be cleaned with soft brushes, or a gentle vacuum cleaner - avoid metal attachments or machines with wheels as these can easily cause indents. For vacuum cleaners with a rotating brush, it’s best to remove the attachment, as a fast-rotating brush can result in scratches if there are stones or debris caught in it. If a floor has had something spilt on it, it should be soaked up as much as possible with a dry cloth, relatively gently. Steam cleaners and hot cleaning solutions can cause laminate flooring to lift or bubble, so it’s best to use a clean, dry, white microfibre

14 | Tomorrow’s Retail Floors

cloth. If the flooring has a particularly stubborn stain, you can use a very small amount of nail varnish remover or acetone to get it off.

With laminate flooring, it also makes sense to invest in felt pads for the bottom of any furniture which has legs or castors. These can leave large indents that are difficult to remove.

Caring for a wooden floor has its own challenges, but one similarity to laminate flooring is that hot steam cleaners or heavy-duty vacuum cleaners with hard brush attachments should not be used. Most hardwood floors can be kept clean with a microfibre mop or cloth, used dry or very slightly damp. You can then buff the floor dry with another clean cloth. Cleaning fluid or polish can leave residue which not only dulls the natural shine of the wood, but leaves it slippery and unsafe. An old-fashioned but still widely used method for maintaining natural shine but removing grime is to use a mix of warm water and a drop of vinegar to clean a wooden floor. Depending on the kind of wood the floor is made from, there are specific wood conditioning oils which can help to restore natural lustre. Before recommending anything of this kind, double-check which wood your customer is dealing with and be sure to advise on the best way to apply this.

If flooring gets stained with a substance like candle wax or chewing gum, the best approach is to wait until it is thoroughly set and then scrape it off gently using a windscreen ice scraper or similar item. To ensure the wax or gum is completely dry, ice can be used to harden it and remove any moisture.

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