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Floored by cleaning?
If you have many types of flooring in your home, you need a multipronged attack
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Spring rain, as much as we need it, sometimes can make for muddy shoes. And muddy shoes, combined with the dirt already accumulated over the winter, can make for some pretty dirty floors.

Whether it's tile, hardwood, carpet or laminate, you can get them deep-down clean with some new products - or go back to basics. Here's how.

Carpet

It has a bad reputation for harboring allergens and dirt, but Robert Calderman, owner of Oreck Floor Care in Gainesville, said you really can get your carpet clean using a combination of cleaning powder and your vacuum.

"It's a dry carpet cleaner that, literally within 30 minutes, the carpet's soft and fluffy and just bone dry," Calderman said.

First, spray a solution onto the carpet that will activate the powder. Then, apply powder and use a brush or even your hands to rub it into the carpet.

Calderman said the dry powder acts as tiny sponges to bring grime and allergens to the surface.

Vacuum the powder up and your carpet is cleaner and safer, making the air in your home cleaner, too.

Calderman added that steam cleaners, sometimes thought to be the solution for deep cleaning carpet, actually can damage flooring over time and make it more difficult to remove allergens.

Tile

Rex Garmany, owner of Cornerstone Tile and Flooring in Gainesville, said it's what you don't use on your tile that keeps it in tip-top shape.

"When you're cleaning tile, you don't want to use anything with a polish in it. Natural stone, you don't want to use anything acidic," Garmany said.

Garmany said acidic cleaners are fine on ceramic tile, but "the biggest thing with your ceramics is no wax - no wax at all."

Garmany added that sealing tile regularly makes it nonporous, so it's easier to clean.

Natural stone should be sealed completely, said Garmany, but ceramic tile should not be sealed - only the grout joints surrounding it.

Hardwood

A simple mop and water are all you need to clean hardwood floors, according to David Gibbs, owner of Gibbs Hardwood Flooring in Gainesville.

Gibbs said adding anything acidic, like vinegar, to water can harm the polyurethane that protects the wood.

"The best way is just to damp mop them with water," Gibbs said.

"You can buy that PolyCare that's made for (polyurethane) on floors. That's fine, but of course, water's almost free," Gibbs said.

Abrasive cleaners also should be avoided when cleaning hardwood, Gibbs said.

"I like to just use a towel, myself, just wipe it around the floor with a broom or something, but a mop is fine, as long as they wring it out almost dry," Gibbs said. "You don't want water standing on it."

For laminate floors, Gibbs said the cleaning method is up to you.

"You can basically clean it with whatever. You can actually spray a cleaner on it because it's plastic, not wood," he said.

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