Baseboards are one of those things that can be easily forgotten about when it comes to home maintenance cleaning. But giving your baseboards a regular clean has a surprisingly big impact on how fresh and clean your home feels. It’s important to clean them the right way so as to not cause any damage.
Depending on the type of baseboards in your home and the finish applied to them, you will want to use several different products to keep them clean. Incorporating baseboard cleaning into your floor cleaning and vacuuming schedule makes the process easier and more effective.
The good news is that baseboards are easy to clean. Even if you have dogs and cats who live in the house, keeping the baseboards clean is a routine task that does not need to be a herculean task that fills you with dread when you think about it!
This article will walk you through how to clean your baseboards in the easiest and simplest way possible whilst maintaining their integrity and not causing any damage…
Why Should You Clean Your Baseboards?
A sign of a well-kept house is how clean the baseboards are. Every time someone opens a door or window, dust particles, pollen, and other contaminants end up in the home and settle on the floors.
The home’s occupants track these particles in, and the air-conditioning and fans start to blow the dirt around the house, and they don’t settle on the walls but rather slide into the nooks and crannies. In other words, the baseboards tend to get a large portion of the dust and grime that is scattering around.
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The Best Way To Clean The Baseboards
A baseboard (in other countries called a skirting board, skirting, wainscoting, mopboard, floor molding, or base molding) is a wooden, polystyrene, ceramic tiles, or vinyl board covering the lowest part of an interior wall. (What they are made out of will determine how you clean them).
Professional cleaning agents often state that clean baseboards reflect the work of a good housekeeper!
While they may not always be noticed when clean, they will certainly be seen if stained, scuffed, and dirty. And the overall impact clean baseboards have on the look and feel of the house is surprising.
Wooden baseboards are generally painted using semi-gloss paint. However, they can also be stained, whilst baseboards made from flooring tiles will be unpainted.
Your cleaning regime will be different for each of these surfaces and, if applied correctly, will ensure that the baseboards reflect the care you lavish on your home.
So How Do Professionals Clean Baseboards?
The steps listed below are the same one’s professionals use to clean your baseboards. Not only are the steps simple to follow, but they will leave your baseboards looking new. Let’s get into the details of what to do, depending on what your baseboards are made out of…
Baseboards Painted With A Semi-Gloss Paint
Baseboards that have been painted with semi-gloss paint are designed to be cleaned regularly, and the painted surface is hard enough to withstand regular cleaning. It can cope with the frequent application of cleaning products.
With any house cleaning work, the secret to removing the drudge is to use methods that allow you to use the easiest, quickest and fastest tool to get the job done as thoroughly and quickly as possible while using the least amount of chemical cleaning products.
You need to use several different products to clean baseboards painted with semi-gloss paint, depending on the state of the baseboards.
Use A Swiffer Duster for Surface Dust
This remarkable little product is specifically designed to trap dust. As long as there is no other contamination, such as grease or tar from cigarette smoke, the Swiffer Duster will clean the baseboards with ease. (You can find one on Amazon here).
Using a Swiffer duster is as simple as making a single pass over the baseboard, and it will trap the dirt and other contaminants.
By following the recommendation of incorporating the cleaning of the baseboards into your vacuuming schedule, you can carry out the two simultaneously, making a quick dusting of the baseboard before returning to the vacuum cleaner.
A good hint is to carry the Swiffer Duster with you while you clean the whole house and then whip it out to dust surfaces as you come across them.
QUICK TIP: Dusting the baseboards before the vacuuming will ensure that you catch any fall off dust from the baseboards in the vacuuming afterwards.
Use A Soft Bristled Brush for Animal Hair and Heavier Dust
Particularly if you have dogs and cats which live in the house, there will be copious amounts of animal hair, which always seems to collect in the corners and on the flat surface of the baseboards.
Using the soft-bristled brush (like this one on Amazon), you can brush both the flat and vertical surface of the baseboards and brush the hair and other gunk onto the floor and into the path of a waiting vacuum cleaner.
A soft-bristled brush will not be effective if there is stuck grease or cigarette residue; however, if the gunk is loose dog or cat hair, or something similar, a soft-bristled brush will be an effective tool to clean the baseboard.
Use The Brush Attachment Which Came With Your Vacuum Cleaner
This is a great method if you’re not vacuuming at the same time. Because any dust coming off the baseboards will go straight into the vacuum rather than on the floor.
It is just as effective as the above mentioned methods. However, while it cleans the dust and hair in one action, if you use the attachment, you cannot clean the baseboard and vacuum the floor in the same exercise unless you were willing to keep switching attachments.
A Heavy-Duty Degreaser
If the house’s occupants are heavy smokers, you’ll find tar residue on almost all the surfaces.
To remove this layer of dirt, you need to apply a heavy-duty de-greaser such as the Krud Kutter product, available from Amazon here. This product is environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and goes on clear without leaving any residue.
The same applies to homes where foods are regularly fried in frying pans. The burnt oil splashes everywhere. It then gets carried around through the air currents and ends up sticking to all of the surfaces in the home, especially the baseboards.
Squirting Krud Kutter degreaser on the baseboards makes it cut through the sticky mess.
When it’s sprayed on, use a white terry cloth to wipe it off, (these terry cloths are great value on Amazon), and you’ll be surprised at the change in the baseboard’s appearance.
One of the Krud Kutter product’s main features is that you don’t need to leave it for a while as it cleans through the dirt; it can be sprayed on and wiped off immediately. Making it super quick and easy.
Use An Eraser Sponge for Scuffs
Baseboards are very vulnerable to shoes kicking against them and leaving black or brown polish marks, as well as the vacuum cleaner being bumped up against them, once again leaving scuff marks.
An eraser sponge is very effective at removing black marks or scuff marks. You can it as part of any deep or thorough cleaning process you are involved with. And they are very inexpensive and readily available from Amazon, (check them out here).
When this amazing product is made wet, it’s very effective at removing black marks and scuff marks from the baseboards. It’s better to use the eraser sponge to remove any of these marks you observe after you dust/brush down the baseboards.
That way, you are getting straight to the stain and it is much easier to clean once there is no grime or dust covering it.
How To Clean Stained Wood Baseboards
If the baseboards are made from stained wood, you need to apply a slightly different approach than you would with a semi-gloss paint finish.
Some commercial cleaning agents will remove the top layer of the stain resulting in baseboards that become dull and appear a little grimy.
There are alternative cleaners that you should use if your baseboards are stained, which will retain the stained finish of the baseboards.
Start With A Duster
The method to use at this stage of cleaning the baseboards is the same as you would use to clean semi-gloss-painted baseboards.
Wipe down the stained wood baseboards with a clean, dry Terry Cloth to lift any dust, dirt, or hairs that may have been missed in the dusting step.
NOTE: When using a terry cloth on wood stained baseboards, it’s important to remove any fibers that may have been caught in the wood joins or damaged and splintered surfaces of the baseboards.
Mix Your Own Cleaning Solution
Instead of using Krud Kutter, mix ¼ cup of dish soap with a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a bucket of warm water.
This mixture will effectively clean any ingrained dirt, oil residue, or cigarette tar that may have collected on the baseboards.
It’s a very strong cleaner that won’t damage the stained surface, and the vegetable oil will feed the wood stain and leave it looking shiny.
A little goes a long way, so you only need a small amount of the cleaning solution on the sponge for it to effectively clean the surface.
How To Clean The Corners/Edges And Hard To Get To Areas
If there are nooks and crannies which are hard to get to, a cotton swab (Amazon link) is a wonderful tool to use.
You can continue to use your mixing solution with the swab. Simply wet the end of the swab in your cleaning solution, and apply it to the hard-to-get-to-dirty areas. It will cut through any grease quite easily.
Rinse The Whole Area
You can use the same Terry Cloth to wipe down the baseboard and remove any excess cleaning solution which remains on the baseboard.
The terry cloth will remove the soapy residue but leave the vegetable oil in place to protect the wood.
Shine The Baseboards
When you have finished the process, and the baseboards are completely dry, it is good to go over them again with the Terry Cloth and buff them until the gloss finish is clear and they are shining brightly.
BONUS TIP: If you are up to it, wipe the baseboards down once again using a laundry dryer sheet (Amazon link) to repel dirt and dust.
Cleaning Baseboards Made From Floor Tiles
Baseboards made from floor tiles are becoming more common, particularly as an extension to a tile floor.
These are very easy to maintain, as they offer a practical and easy cleaning alternative to conventional wooden baseboards.
Tile baseboards are easily cleaned with most household cleaning agents. They’re very durable and can take any type of cleaning method or cleaning agent.
If there are areas with hard-to-remove, ingrained dirt, consider using a product like Bona Hard-Surface Floor Cleaner (Amazon link), which will effectively clean the tiles (and the floor if needed) to give you a great starting point to keep up the good work in the future.
How Often Should You Clean Your Baseboards?
Despite how big a task it seems, you should include cleaning your home’s baseboards as part of a regular schedule, which you incorporate into the same frequency schedule in which you clean or vacuum the floors in your home.
After a while, it becomes part of the routine and becomes easier to do.
Simply put, if you are going to clean the floor, or vacuum the carpets, give yourself enough time to clean the baseboards in that room simultaneously.
How Do You Clean Baseboards With A Bad Back?
If your back is bad, or your knees are sore (or both!), and you can’t bend down to clean the baseboards, you can use a microfiber duster with a telescopic handle. I like this one on Amazon, because you can adjust the handle depending on how tall you are.
It’s also particularly useful as it can bend into different shapes. For example, you can turn it at a right angle and use the flat surface to clean the ceiling above, the top of the light shades or sills, and shelves above eye level.
The microfibers on the duster are very effective at removing dust from surfaces. The little fingers of material capture the dust, and when it is too dirty, it can be slid off the pole and put into the washing machine because it is completely machine washable.
It means that, unlike some other dusters, you can reuse this brush repeatedly by simply washing it over and over.
It’s ideal for people who have a bad back or some other condition that makes it hard to bend because all you need to do is to extend the pole and walk along the side of the wall while sliding the microfiber duster along the baseboard.
It works even if you are very tall because the telescoping pole can be extended and adjusted to accommodate your height.
It’s important to clean the baseboards in a house because it indicates that you are a homeowner who cares and wants to keep even the smallest features clean. Not only that, but it helps keep dust at bay and assists in keeping a fresh feeling house. The best time to clean your baseboards is when you vacuum the carpets or clean the floors.