how to clean baseboards

How to Clean Baseboards

Routine cleaning of your home or office doesn’t typically include baseboards. Baseboards are often skipped during the cleaning process, though they can easily collect scuffs, dirt, scratches, grime, and damage over time. Once you take a closer look, you’ll notice discoloration and wear over time.

Maintaining clean baseboards is easier than you think! It’s also a fantastic way to tackle the corners of each room and add a bit more shine to your home. All you need are a few standard household cleaning supplies and equipment to get the job done. Continue reading to learn how to clean baseboards. 

Getting Started with a Baseboard Cleaning Routine

Cleaning your baseboards is unnecessary weekly if you generally keep your home tidy. Ideally, you’ll want to schedule once a month. If you expect that your baseboards will get dirty fast, schedule your cleaning every three weeks. 

You can fit baseboards as a part of your detailed cleaning schedule that includes windowsill, railings, and other specific areas of the home. Alternatively, you can clean them separately and focus on other particular areas at another time.

Baseboards may seem like a small task, though if you include every room in your home, it adds up! It’s a straight-forward job that requires a bit of detail and time. 

If you have family or roommates willing to help, arrange an afternoon to work on the project together. Before you begin, make sure all other parts of your house or apartment are clean and leave the baseboards last.

Baseboard Cleaning Materials and Equipment

When you prepare to clean your baseboards, you’ll likely have most of the equipment and supplies already at home. You can use every-day, mild household cleaners, but the best way to clean baseboards depends on your baseboard material.

Cleaning Equipment: Vacuum Cleaner, Sponge, and a Duster

A vacuum cleaner will make your baseboard cleaning task more effortless in the long run. Use the smaller brush attachment to remove dust, built-up dirt, and small debris quickly, so you’re left with less to clean. 

If you have a small dust mop or duster, this works well to pick up excess dirt and dust bunnies. If you have cracks in your baseboards, it’s essential to remove any grime in between before replacing or repairing them. A small sponge, dryer sheets, or microfiber cloth can adequately remove dirt and dust in smaller spaces too.

Warm Water and Soap or Distilled White Vinegar

The type of cleaner you use depends on the material of your baseboards. Mild cleaners often work best, such as white vinegar or a mild soap or detergent. Distilled warm water is ideal for minimizing the impact of minerals and metals that may stain or impact your baseboards’ look. 

If you have stained wood baseboards, you’ll want to shine them with a bit of oil once they’re clean. If you don’t have a specific cleaner that you prefer, mild dish soap will work well on painted baseboards.

How to Clean Wood-stained Baseboards

Baseboards furnished with wood create a rustic, natural look in your home. Dark wood baseboards may be challenging to see the dust and grime, though you’ll notice a significant difference once they shine after cleaning. 

Avoid using any commercial cleaners, and instead, prepare a large bowl or bucket of warm water with a small amount of mild dish soap (about ¼ cup) and a teaspoon of vegetable oil.

1.    Use a vacuum brush attachment or duster to remove dust and dirt from the baseboards.

2.    Gently wet a sponge or microfiber cloth in the dish soap-diluted water and wipe down the boards next. If you notice small crevices or areas that are hard to reach, you can use a cotton swab or small brush to clear these spots. This mixture is mild and safe enough to use on unpainted wood too.

3.    Once you’ve wiped down all the baseboards, you can wait for them to dry on their own or pat them dry with a towel or cloth. Use a fabric that is soft and made with natural fibers for the best results.

4.    The small amount of vegetable oil added into the homemade cleaner leaves behind a shine on the baseboards and can be safely used on any wood to enhance the natural beauty.

5.    To finish, use a dryer sheet to wipe all the baseboards gently. This step will help prevent them from collecting dust and make your job easier next time!

How to Clean Painted Baseboards

Painted baseboards are a bit easier to clean than wood. If this is your first time cleaning them, take extra time to notice any wear and tear or damage that might need additional attention. Most baseboard surfaces are durable and painted with material that repels grime and dirt, making them easy to maintain and clean.

Glossy paint tends to be more durable than baseboards treated with a matte or flat finish. The steps to cleaning painted baseboards are similar to the wood trim.

1.    Like the wood baseboards, use a brush attachment to remove dust and dirt at the top of the trim. Once these areas are clear, use the brush to remove dust at the trim’s bottom on all baseboards. If you find any cracks or gaps in the baseboards, carefully dust with a vacuum brush or microfiber cloth.

2.    Prepare a bucket or large bowl of warm water with ¼ cup of mild dish soap and wipe the stains off the baseboards. If the stains or dirt build-up is extensive, you may need to put more effort into scrubbing initially. Once this deep ground-in dirt is gone, you’ll find this process much more manageable.

3.    Wipe down the baseboards moistened with warm water and soap to remove any leftover dirt from the top to bottom of the trim.

4.    Clean the corners and small gaps in the baseboards with cotton swabs lightly dipped in the soapy water.

5.    Dry the baseboards with a cheesecloth or towel, or wait until they dry on their own. Use one or two dryer sheets to wipe down the baseboards thoroughly. This process will create a layer of protection against dust and grime.

Additional Suggestions for Baseboard Maintenance

If you’re looking to clean your baseboards quickly, there are a few shortcuts you can take. These options are perfect when you’re expecting last-minute guests or don’t have the time.

Small, Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

A small vacuum can get a lot done in minutes! If you’re pressed for time, a handheld or cordless vacuum such as the Dirt Devil can get a lot of dusting done around your home. You can include window sills, furniture, draperies, and blinds, in addition to baseboards.

The Magic Eraser from Mr. Clean

This product is ideal for baseboards that are wood (stained or unstained) and painted. For wood finishes, add a bit of distilled white vinegar to enhance the cleaning results. Warm water with diluted soap is recommended to use with the Magic Eraser for painted baseboards.

Sanitary Wipes

Baby wipes or sanitary cloths are great for a quick clean when you need those baseboards to sparkle for unexpected visitors. You can find a lot of environmentally friendly options that don’t contain harsh chemicals. These wipes are excellent for windowsills, picture frames, and countertops when you need to clean quickly.

Cleaning baseboards is easy to fit into your monthly schedule. Once you get used to this task, it will become easier over time. You might want to add other detailed cleaning jobs to your monthly baseboard routine to keep your home fresh and well maintained.

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