Whether you have an infant who is almost ready to crawl or a toddler who puts everything in her mouth, keeping the floors clean when you have young children is extremely important. You may think you have an advantage if your floors are tile or stone, but there are important considerations for how to clean these surfaces when you have a little one around.
Why Worry About Tile Floors?
It does seem as if tile and stone are ideal surfaces you can have for keeping the floors reasonably clean. But these materials are often used in kitchens and bathrooms that have high moisture levels. Bacteria and fungi can grow in cracks and grout lines, leading to a germ-laden surface that you probably don’t want to expose your kiddos to. In kitchens, for example, salmonella, E.coli, listeria and campylobactor can all grow due to food spills and foot traffic that can cause contamination.
In fact, a study done in 2014 by Aston University in England found that bacteria is most likely to transfer on to dropped food from tile surfaces. This bacteria also gets on your childrens’ hands, clothing, toys and even pacifier when they crawl around. Yuck!
Start Clean and Stay Clean
Tile and stone floors must be carefully cleaned to prevent damage to the surface. Before your child is crawling, have the floors professionally cleaned so you’ll be able to start with a healthy, clean surface. Professionals can remove stains from grout and ensure that the flooring is free of mold, mildew and bacteria.
Of course, you’ll have to set a regular schedule for cleaning so you can maintain the job that the professional has done, but it’s much easier to start with what you know is a sparkling clean floor. Plan to vacuum every other day if your child spends time on the floor. Then, schedule regular professional cleanings to really deep clean and remove bacteria and fungi that could be harmful to your children’s health.
Make Sure Your Surfaces are Sealed
Tile and stone floors and any grout should be properly sealed to make cleaning easier. In fact, it’s best to check and reseal the grout on your tile floors at least once a year. In some environments, re-applying sealer needs to be done as often as every six months.
Properly sealed tile and stone surfaces will keep bacteria out and make cleaning easier. When the sealer starts to deteriorate due to foot traffic (or little hands running toys over the tile or stone surface), it opens up areas where bacteria can hide.
If you have a professional come out to clean, ask whether they have a recommended sealer and if they can apply it.
Use Safe Cleaning Products
The last thing you want is for your crawler or toddler to be exposed to harsh cleaning chemicals and their residue. Your professional cleaning service can advise you on specific products to use that will not contain harmful chemicals.
For example, baking soda and vinegar can be safe and effective cleaners for tile and stone floors. You can clean grout and remove any stains that occur between professional cleanings by using a paste that combines the two.
- Mix baking soda and vinegar in equal proportions.
- Spread it on the grout lines, using a soft cloth, gloved finger or soft bristled toothbrush.
- Let the mixture sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Because vinegar is mildly acidic, it shouldn’t stay on any longer.
- Rinse well with warm water.
For cleaning the floor that is not grouted, plain white vinegar can work well. Spray it on and wipe off with a damp cloth. The smell can linger for a few minutes, but it’s not dangerous.
Have questions about cleaning tile and stone floors so your crawling and toddling kiddos stay healthy? We can help. Give us a call to talk about the type of floor you have and how often you should have a professional cleaning.
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