How to clean baseboards without messing up paint?

A baseboard (also called skirting board, skirting, wainscoting, mopboard, floor molding, or base molding) is usually wooden or vinyl board covering the lowest part of an interior wall. Its purpose is to cover the seam between the wall surface and the floor. It hides the uneven edge of flooring next to the wall, protects the wall from kicks, abrasion, and furniture, and can even be used as a decorative molding. 

During the use of baseboards, dirt may accumulate on the surface, at the corners, causing loss of aesthetics as well as possible health effects for family members. Therefore, you should clean the baseboard regularly along with the cleaning of other furniture in the house. The following are some tips for cleaning baseboards classified by material.

1. Caution before cleaning the baseboard

Cleaning the baseboard
Cleaning the baseboard.
  • Save the baseboards for last when cleaning your house. This will prevent dirt and dust from gathering from above.
  • Baseboards are usually made of different materials depending on the intended use, each type of baseboard will require its own cleaning method that does not harm the material.
  • Clean your baseboards one room or section at a time to make your cleaning endeavor manageable. You’ll be able to track your progress on a room-by-room basis, which should encourage you to keep going.
  • During cleaning, it’s important to avoid impact or rubbing against the surface or edge of the wallboard causing scratches

2. How to clean Vinyl Baseboard

Clean vinyl baseboard.
Clean vinyl baseboard.

Vinyl baseboards are much easier to clean than wood baseboards since they are waterproof and less impacted by detergents. 

Before starting cleaning, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Warm water
  • Sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Dryer sheets

You can clean the Vinyl baseboard according to the following steps: 

  • Step 1: Clean the area around the baseboard with a brush or vacuum cleaner, paying specific attention to the slits between the baseboard and the floor. 
  • Step 2: If there are any accumulated stains after removing all dirt, you must eliminate them. You start scrubbing the stains and spots with a sponge dipped in a mixture of warm water and dish soap.
  • Step 3: A cotton swab does a magical task of cleaning small areas of dirt that the sponge doesn’t wipe. Dip the swab in the above mixture and wipe it in the corners, the interstices of the baseboard to remove dirt.
  • Step 4: Use a microfiber cloth to wipe off by moistening with warm water and rewipe your Vinyl baseboard to remove residue and synthetic detergents that still adhere to baseboard. Wipe it over and over again to make sure there aren’t any sticky detergent remaining on your Vinyl baseboard.
  • Step 5: Clean baseboards with liquid fabric softener. This dry wiping step will help your Vinyl baseboard stay clean longer and prevent stains.

3. How to clean Stained Wood Baseboard

Clean stained wood baseboard
Clean stained wood baseboard

Stained wood is a long-lasting and appealing baseboard material, but if it gets too wet or dries out completely, it might warp or discolor. To keep the wood’s natural glow, stained wood baseboards require specific care, but don’t just reach for a commercial cleaner. There are safe, economical cleaner alternatives available directly in your own home that are just as effective. 

Before cleaning stain wood baseboard, you need to be aware: 

  • When cleaning wooden baseboards, don’t use a lot of water.
  • To lock in moisture, finish the baseboards with oil

To start, dust or vacuum your wood baseboards. Then combine the ingredients as follows: 

  • 1 gallon warm water
  • 4 tablespoons dish soap
  • 1 tablespoon mineral oil
  • Step 1: Start cleaning the stained wood baseboard with a vacuum cleaner similar to Vinyl baseboard cleaning. Then, using a clean, dry microfiber cloth, wipe down your stained wood baseboards to remove any stray dust or grime.
  • Step 2: Dip your cleaning sponge into your baseboard cleaning solution and start scrubbing. To avoid too much water on the wood, wring out the sponge thoroughly. 
  • Step 3: To eliminate any cleaning residue, rinse your cleaning sponge completely with hot water, wring it out, then wipe down your baseboards. This way, the soap can be removed and leave the oil to protect the wood.
  • Step 4: Finally, polish your baseboards with a dry cloth and a dryer sheet to help prevent dust from gathering there in the future.

Tip: Vegetable oil may be recommended as an all-purpose wood conditioner. Vegetable oil, on the other hand, can develop rancid over time and emit disagreeable scents. Your best bet is always mineral oil or a specialist wood treatment oil.

4. Clean baseboards with vinegar

Clean baseboards with vinegar
Clean baseboards with vinegar

To get your baseboards shining, you don’t need a lot of expensive cleaning agents. Vinegar is used in our favorite recipe to clean baseboards. It’s an excellent all-purpose treatment for any type of baseboard or stain, as well as being non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dish soap

Simply combine the ingredients in a bucket and clean all of your baseboards with the solution. In fact, you may use this recipe practically anyplace as an all-purpose cleaner. If getting down on the floor is problematic, pour the liquid into a spray bottle and squirt it where it’s needed.

5. Clean baseboards with liquid fabric softener

Clean baseboards with liquid fabric softener
Clean baseboards with liquid fabric softener

If the above detergents are not available, you can use liquid fabric softener clean the baseboard with the following steps:

  • Combine one quart of water and one cup of liquid fabric softener in a mixing bowl.
  • Clean baseboards with a cloth or sponge.

So, what’s the deal with this? The antistatic feature of the fabric softener, on the other hand, aids in the removal of dirt and inhibits static cling from gathering further dust.

6. How to keep the baseboard clean and shiny

Keep the baseboard clean and shiny
Keep the baseboard clean and shiny
  • If furniture needs to be moved, avoid collisions and rubbing that cause scratches to the baseboard
  • Regular baseboard cleaning makes cleaning easier, avoiding excessive dirt build-up
  • If your baseboards are stained rather than painted, the easiest way to clean them is with a store-bought wood cleaner mixed according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • You may need to touch up the baseboards with paint if stains and grime won’t come away with washing and water. You have no excuse for dirty baseboards now that you know how to clean them properly.
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