"The best way to tell if a hardwood floor is clean is to wipe it with a damp paper towel and see how it comes up. A lot of times, a floor can look good from where you stand, but when you do the white-cloth test, it becomes apparent how much dirt was left behind," says Derek Christian, who owns My Maid Service, a cleaning company with offices in Cincinnati and Dallas.
Jill Kushinksy, chief cleaning officer at MaidPro, suggests putting on white socks and walking across the floor. "If the bottom of the white sock is dirty, then it's probably time to give those floor a sweeping and cleaning, especially for high-traffic areas of the home," says Kushinksy.
The touch test is as simple as running your hand over the floor. "Does the floor feel sticky after it is mopped? If so, it's not clean. The sticky residue generally is caused by the harsh detergents used. They don't rinse clean from a floor, and that is my point. That sticky residue... glues [dirt] to the floor," says Mary Findley, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Cleaning and owner of Mary Moppins.
"Look at the floor. If the finish is supposed to be shiny, does it shine? If you look in the crevices in any floor surface, do you see embedded dirt? Most importantly, do you feel the floor is clean enough to eat off it after you mop? The answers to these questions will tell you whether or not the floor is clean," says Findley.
So, let's say your floor failed one of these tests; it's time for a cleaning. Kushinsky says that it's all in how you do it. She suggests that you sweep the floor first, then mop it. The dual process makes sure that the grime hiding in crevices is found and banished. She also suggests that, when you're too busy to clean, you at least sweep daily and mop every week or two.
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