Dirt is the enemy of any flooring, and carpet is no exception. According to the Carpet and Rug Institute, dry soil, which is abrasive, can permanently damage carpet fibers, giving them a dull appearance over time. Vacuum soil and dirt before it gets ground into the carpet. The institute advises vacuuming high-traffic areas a minimum of twice a week.
Ceramic tile is known for its durability, but it does require care and maintenance. Keep ceramic tile free of dirt and particulate matter, as it can scratch the floor. Vacuum glazed and unglazed tile floor regularly.
For glazed floors, clean with an all-purpose, non-oil based cleaner. Unglazed tiles should be cleaned with soapless detergent.
Use bleach cleaners only for deep cleaning. Never use ammonia-based products because they can stain grout. Grout should be sealed twice a year to prevent stains.
Laminate floors give you the look of wood without the care and upkeep. Laminate floors can be swept or vacuumed with hardwood attachments. Laminate flooring manufacturers advise against using soaps and detergents to clean the floor. Some manufacturers have products specifically designed to clean laminate floors. Never wax, polish, sand or try to refinish laminate floors.
Vinyl flooring, also known as resilient flooring, can offer years of beauty and service if maintained properly. Keep vinyl floors free of dirt, sand and other gritty material to avoid scratches. Consider using curtains to block direct sunlight on your vinyl floor to prevent discoloration. If you have to move appliances or other heavy objects, use wood "runways" to move the item. Don't drag it across the bare floor. It could rip the flooring. Don't use a beater bar when vacuuming vinyl floors.
Keep wood floors free from dirt and other gritty materials by frequent sweeping. For regular cleaning, use products specifically designed for wood floors, but avoid leaving standing water when you clean.
Avoid moving heavy furniture across the floor. Pick them up or slide rags underneath and move. If your wood floor has been finished with polyurethane, contact a professional when the floor looses its luster and gloss. Never wax a wood floor finished with polyurethane.
Since gritty materials, like sand and dirt, and other substances such as oil damage any kind of flooring, it's advisable to use mats at all entry doors to help prevent tracking these materials throughout the house. For vinyl flooring, make sure you don't use a latex-backed, rubber-backed or coco-fiber mat. They can permanently stain the floor. Instead, look for a mat identified as non-staining.