Easy Care for High Maintenance Surfaces

Hardwood

Problem: Dirt can dull flooring and make it difficult to reseal

Try This:  Sweep frequently.  For regular cleanings, wrap a damp rag around a push broom and plow away grim.  On tough messes, try a wood-safe cleaner. Apply a coat of polyurethane as soon as the floor shows wear.

Skip That: Ditch silicone or acrylic-wax polishers and conditioners, which can leave a buildup that prevents polyurethane from adhering to the wood.

 

Granite

Problem: Though hard and durable, it can become stained, by oil in particular.

Try This:  Clean granite with warm or diluted dish soap, and dry immediately to prevent watermarks.  If oil seeps in, try a nontoxic degreaser, like Simple Green.Coat annually with a water-based sealant.

Skip That: As with marble, acidic cleaners can eat away at granite, so don’t use them.

 

Stainless Steel

Problem: Aggressive cleaning, especially of fingerprints, can lead to scratches.

Try This: Remove fingerprints without streaking by rubbing in the direction of the grain with a soft cloth dipped in undiluted white vinegar; buff with a dry cloth.

Skip That: Avoid chlorine, like bleach as they can cause corrosion.  Also steer clear of harsh abrasives, which is a recipe for scratches.

 

Marble

Problem: This veined stone is easily scuffed, scratched and stained if not properly treated.

Try This:  Apply a nontoxic water-based sealer every six months to protect from frequently used counter tops.  Use a mild detergent to general cleaning, then target deeper stains with hydrogen peroxide.  Try ultra fine steel wool to buff away small scratches for scruffs.

Skip That: Never use anything acidic (even seemly harmless vinegar) to clean marble; it can dissolve and etch the stone’s top layer.