Here's simple steps for how to clean baseboards in your home, including how often to generally clean them as well as how to remove scuffs and marks from everyday living.
Your baseboards are not something you probably think about too often, and with good reason. Life is busy! You don't necessarily notice them often, but once they start to get a bit dusty or get scuffs or marks on them it's time to give them a little TLC.
All surfaces, with time, begin to accumulate dust, but because this woodwork is close to the floor they get a bit dustier than your walls, so I suggest dusting baseboards quarterly.
You can dust all your baseboards at once, or you can rotate through a different room each week as you do your normal vacuuming and dusting routine, until they all get done and then wait until it's time to start again.
Periodically, about once a year, or in high traffic areas if you've got young kids twice a year you should also wash your baseboards. That's why I've got cleaning baseboards in my annual 31 Days of Spring Cleaning schedule.
As I explained above, you should dust your baseboards about once a quarter. This shouldn't take you much time though. To dust them you can either use a long handled duster (so you don't have to bend down to reach them), or you can use your vacuum, which I personally think is easier and more effective.
Check out the directions for dusting and vacuuming walls here for full details, since you do it in basically the same way, but the short version is that all you need to do is use the dust-brush vacuum attachment on your vacuum to brush off the dust and let the vacuum suck it up.
If you don't currently have a dust-brush attachment for your vacuum you can find all kinds of vacuum parts and accessories here, on Amazon.com, which can help you get the right parts if you don't currently have them. Just add your model into the search bar first, to make sure you find the part that works for your current vacuum cleaner.
While the way you dust or vacuum your baseboards is similar to the way you do it for walls, there are some minor differences between the way you wash walls and baseboards. The reason for this difference is that baseboards, because they are prone to get dirtier are generally painted with a glossy paint, or sealed with a protective finish, which allows them to be cleaned with a water-based cleaner more easily.
Of course, you should first test a small spot of your baseboards, in an inconspicuous area, to make sure they're washable, before doing this step, in case yours do not follow the general rule.
Assuming your test does not leave water spots or streaks, you can wipe your baseboards down to remove general dust and soil (after you've first vacuumed or dusted) using a cleaning cloth or sponge dampened (not soaking) in a solution of warm water and all purpose cleaner or a few drops of dish soap.
After cleaning with the cleaing solution make sure to rinse off the baseboards with a dampened clean cloth or sponge to remove excess cleaner.
Sometimes your baseboards get scuffs and marks on them, and these can be a bit tougher to remove. Whatever you do be careful so you don't remove the shiny surface or the protective coating covering the baseboards.
That's why I always suggest using the gentlest methods first, and working your way up to harsher methods, plus when in doubt, test first in an inconspicuous area.
Often a nylon scrubby, which typically doesn't scratch, can remove many of these marks and scuffs. Another possibility is a sponge with a no-scratch scrubber side, which can work wonders. (You can see reviews of several types of sponges here to get ideas.)
In addition, I've been told by quite a few readers that they've had great success with Magic Erasers to remove these marks. Just remember that these erasers act like very fine sandpaper, so use as lightly as possible so you don't leave behind a dull spot on your otherwise shiny baseboards if they're very glossy.
Although these are my tips for cleaning your baseboards, I know other people have other methods that can also work just as well. In fact, I'd love to hear some from you.
You can submit your own cleaning tips here, or read other tips from around my website that other readers have already submitted. I'd also love for you to share your ideas in the comment section below.
Further, this article is part of my series called "How to Clean Anything, Even if You're Not June Cleaver." I hope this series will become a good resource for you, with instructions on many different cleaning projects around your home.
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Hi, I'm Taylor, a busy mom with 3 kids, so I have lots of hands on experience with house cleaning, laundry and my fair share of spots, spills and other messy catastrophes. Thanks for visiting my site.
I update the website all the time with tips, tutorials, cleaning recipes, reviews of products from readers like you, and tests I've done on various cleaners, removers and laundry supplies.
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CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.
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