Our Best Cleaning Hacks for How to Clean Baseboards
Grabbing a big ole tub of soapy water, a few dingy rags, sitting or kneeling (or bending), and swiping back and forth with a lukewarm mixture to clean baseboards is a thing of the past.
We’re talking no backbreaking, no pots of warm water, or dirty rags that you have to rinse every few feet.
We’re even talking speedy cleaning. Because, really, who wants to spend an hour on the floor cleaning baseboards on a Sunday morning? Yeah, didn’t see any hands.
We’ve got the latest scoop on how to clean your baseboards without breaking your back (and the cleaning solutions you should use to do it), below.
What is The Best Way to Clean Baseboards?
A lot of people will jump into wiping down their baseboards with a wet cleaning cloth soaked in some kind of soap mixture and end up pushing around the dust that had collected there, generally making it a bit harder to get it all up.
At least we can say that’s one thing you want to avoid.
As for the “best” way to clean baseboards… the answer is less definitive. Honestly, we’ve heard of a lot of excellent and truly effective ways to clean baseboards.
There’s the traditional sweeping or vacuuming up the dust, then going over them with a wet microfiber cloth (scooting along on your bottom or maybe even a skateboard to avoid bending).
But there are also a few other creative ways to clean baseboards. Here’s what we’ve heard from fellow cleaners:
- A sponge mop dampened with soapy water to go over the baseboards
- Use just the brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner to dust them off
- A toilet wand to scrub them if they’re really bad
- Spray them with a cleaner that has to set for a bit (such as tub cleaner), and simply wipe it off in one sweep
- Put an old, rough sock on your foot and run your foot over the dirty areas (clever)
While those are all excellent ways to clean your baseboards, there are a few more cleaning hacks we want to discuss– and that we may even classify as the “best” ways to clean baseboards.
So, here’s the method, step by step:
1. Use the brush head vacuum attachment (or, if you have the iRobot®H1 & H1 Extension Kit… that’s even better) to collect all of the dust and grime along your baseboards.
If you miss this step, you may end up just turning that dust into a goopy, sticky mess that’s harder to get off of the moldings.
2. Soak a clean rag in a bucket of water and soap of your choice- dish soap is a pretty great option if the baseboards have a lot of stubborn gunk on them.
3.Wring out the rag and wrap it around the bristle end of your broom. You can secure the rag to the broom using hair ties, clips, rubber bands, or any other object that’ll pinch or wrap to keep the rag in place.
4. Swipe the broom across your baseboards– both the top and fronts of them.
Now, you can go over them again with a dry rag attached to the end of your broom, if you’d like, but that isn’t wholly necessary if there is no evidence of streaking water running down your boards and onto the floor.
Whether or not you use the dry rag, your baseboards will look sparkly and new by the end of this.
How to get rid of tough scuff marks
Scuff marks appear most commonly around the entrances of your home, or where you store shoes (most likely your closet, where you ignore the scuffs and smudges because let’s face it, few guests hang out in your closet).
Most of us just take off our shoes quickly and toss them aside (or, at least our children do), often hitting the wall and baseboard in the process.
Luckily, the scuffs they leave behind aren’t impossible to remove. Quite the opposite, some scuffs are easy to remove with the friction of your thumb rubbing back and forth over the mark.
You can also remove scuffs with an eraser, which will also use friction to remove them.
For scuffs that are a little more stubborn, some melamine foam (the white, magical foam blocks) either wet or dry will likely get them off of your baseboards.
How can I make my baseboards look new again?
This depends entirely on the condition of your baseboards now.
Are they scratched by pets? Have crayon drawings all over them? Splattered by food? Did previous owners leave layers of paint that cover clumps of dirt and debris?
If they’re in relatively good condition now, using the methods above to clean them will likely be enough to restore them to their original beauty.
If you’re working with really dirty baseboards, consider some of these options:
- Bleach and a toilet wand to scrub away thick dirt and stains
- A degreaser to cut through thick messes like oil and smoke tar
- Use a scrub brush with hard bristles (even better if they’re at an angle) to get into those hard-to-reach crevices and corners
If your dog or cat has scratched or bitten your woodwork, it’s going to take a little more than cleaning to restore them. For that, you’re going to need some wood glue, wood filler, and sandpaper, at the very least, but that’s a conversation for a different article.
For most cleaning restorations, you’re not likely to resort to anything crazy, since most baseboards are painted in a semi-gloss paint to make frequent (and even non-frequent) cleaning easier.
What can I use to clean baseboards?
We’ve already mentioned a few products you can use to clean your baseboards– dish soap, degreaser– but we want to give you the full list of both cleaners and cleaning tools.
Here’s an extensive list of cleaning tools you can use to get those baseboards sparkling clean:
- Melamine foam
- Laundry powder
- Baking soda
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- Cotton swabs
- Wood cleaner
- All-purpose cleaner
- Dish soap
- White vinegar
- Mineral spirits
- Toilet wand
- Microfiber rags
- Foam mop
- Dust brush or extendable dust wand
- Soft and hard-bristled brushes
- Extendable microfiber cleaning brush
- A baseboard brush (which is angled, usually hand-held)
- Dryer sheets
- Fabric softener
There are a few of those items that need a little more explanation. (Toothpaste?)
Laundry powder, baking soda, and chalk are all great degreasers. For the first two, you can simply dip a wet rag into the powder and dab onto the stain/ grease mark, then rub to remove.
As for the chalk, you can simply rub it over the mark and erase it with a dry rag.
The toothpaste is a strange one, but if you need to get out stains and restore some of the white paint, it’s a great option. You just have to be willing and able to get on your hands and knees to use it.
Frankly, there are other options.
Use dryer sheets and fabric softeners because they’re just genius options.
Dryer sheets and fabric softener are our best cleaning hacks
Dryer sheets are long known for their ability to bring long freshness to your clothing and towels (ooo warm towels that smell like spring breeze).
Their other magical property is static removal.
Therein lies why they are an incredible hack for cleaning your baseboards.
Due to their anti-cling “technology” (okay, we just have to mention tech somewhere, don’t we?), you can rub them along your wood baseboards using a broom or your hands as a long-term pet hair and dust repellent.
That’s right, you rub those delightful little sheets all over your baseboards, and you’ll prolong the dust from landing on those tiny grooves.
If you don’t have dryer sheets, fabric softener will also do the trick. You just have to mix it into the soapy hot water you use to clean the baseboards before you dive into cleaning.
What can I use to clean baseboards without bending over?
We’ve already mentioned a few products and methods that take away the pain of bending to clean the hundreds of miles of floor molding you have.
But let’s have a more comprehensive look, shall we?
Our H1 Handheld Vacuum & H1 Extension Kit Bundle used for ceilings and hard-to-reach/ narrow areas is a perfect tool for those quick cleanups and dust removal before a deeper clean.
If you don’t have one of those, a broom can be just as great a tool for the same purpose. Not to mention, you can use the broom with a wet rag to do the actual deep cleaning.
There are other tools, of course, such as a duster with an extendable handle, a sponge mop, and a long brush with a sponge head specifically designed for those hard-to-reach and oddly shaped baseboards.
How often should you clean your baseboards?
The answer: it’s entirely subjective to your home’s conditions, your lifestyle, cleaning schedule, and so on.
If you have a lot of pets, or live in an area with a lot of pollen and keep the windows open… or maybe your home just seems to collect a lot of dust (old homes tend to do that more than newer), you may want to clean your baseboards once a week or every other week.
Once a month seems to be the most common answer we hear from homeowners and professional cleaners alike. Others like to save it for annual spring cleaning.
But, some people can delay cleaning by using more air purifiers in their homes to keep dust from settling. Using the dryer sheet or fabric softener is another way of delaying dusting and cleaning.
One of the best recommendations for prolonging deep cleans is to add it to your cleaning routine. Building it into your routine helps to keep the dust from piling up in those grooves.
With food flying, grease from oily cooking soaking in, and mildew building up from regular showers, you may need to clean those floor moldings once a month (or more often depending on how fast they get dirty).
But, if you’re using a mop regularly, or wiping them down with a wet rag occasionally, you can keep the back-breaking work at bay and your baseboards looking good for longer.
Next up, learn how to clean your floors without damaging them, with one of these blogs: