Very few people like sweeping and dusting the floor – let’s admit it. It’s tedious and the dust gets everywhere, and it feels like the floor space never ends! Still, you get the vacuum cleaner and get to work. Soon enough you’ve got a tidy floor… but your skirting boards are dirty.
It can be tempting to leave them be, really. A skirting board isn’t at eye level – who’d notice? (You would, that’s who.) There’s no getting away with it, though. You need to clean that part of the floor too!
Lightly clean your skirting boards once a week by brushing or vacuuming surface dust. More stubborn stains may need thorough cleaning with soapy water, bleach, or vinegar. You can also use a sugar soap solution or wood cleaner if needed. Deep clean skirting boards every few months.
How to clean skirting boards? (Or, as they’re also called, baseboards.) Grab that duster or vacuum, sit yourself on the floor, and be ready to put in some elbow grease. It’s time to clean!
How often to clean skirting boards?
In an ideal world, we could clean just once a month and the house would still look tidy. Unfortunately, skirting boards – like window sills – are a magnet for all the dust. They’re close to the floor, so they collect debris and dirt over time.
Spills and messes can also stain the material, especially in dining rooms and kitchens. Meanwhile, for houses with kids, scuff marks from energetic activity or toys can make your baseboards look less than pristine.
So how often should you actually clean skirting boards?
Wipe off any stains or grime immediately, so the stain doesn’t set. Once it seeps in, it’ll be much harder to remove (if you can remove it at all). Leaving food stains could also potentially attract pests into your house, and nobody wants that.
Light cleaning should be done once a week to prevent a build-up of dust on the skirting boards. You can stretch this to two weeks if your schedule is difficult.
Fortunately, you can deep clean once every few months to get your skirting boards looking shiny and new again. This is great for removing stubborn dirt or stains. Then after that, it’s back to simple dusting until a new season rolls around.
Light cleaning for skirting boards
All right – you know that cleaning skirting boards is important. The question is, how do you clean them? You’ve got two levels of cleaning:
- Light cleaning, for removing dry dust
- Deep cleaning, for stains and maintenance
There are several ways for you to keep your skirting boards clean — which you choose depends on your equipment and your preference!
Light cleaning is mainly to dust off the edges of your skirting boards and prevent dirt from building up too much. Just mind your back while you work — clean skirting boards are not worth the aches and pains after!
1. With a feather duster
Keep it simple: just take a (long-handled!) feather duster or brush, and run it over the skirting board to brush off the dust. Do this before you sweep your floors, so you can clean up all the dirt later!
2. With wet wipes
To get rid of the occasional streaks and scuff marks, you can wipe them off. Use wet wipes or baby wipes and rub the dirt off. For a more eco-friendly option, wet a soft cloth or use a damp sponge. Remove dirt, then dry any damp spots later.
3. With a vacuum cleaner
A vacuum comes in handy for all sorts of cleaning needs, including your skirting boards! Use the appropriate vacuum attachment for each purpose: a soft brush attachment to dislodge any dirt, and a nozzle to suction dust from crevices and corners. A vacuum has the added advantage of leaving no dust and dirt on the floor, so no need to clean up afterwards!
4. With a magic eraser
If your skirting boards are white, a magic eraser can help spot clean any small smudges or streaks. Using magic erasers is less time-consuming, so they’re a good quick fix, but they won’t work for more stubborn stains.
Deep cleaning skirting boards
Dusting keeps things spick-and-span temporarily, but dirt and grime still build up over the weeks. Like all things in the home, skirting boards need deeper cleaning every few months. Pick your product and get that skirting board shining!
1. Soap and water
You can’t go wrong with this most basic of cleaning solutions. Just add a teaspoon of dish soap to half a bucket of warm water and mix until sudsy. You can also use any other mild detergent or fabric softener.
Dip a clean sponge or cloth into the soapy water and squeeze out the excess. Start wiping down your baseboards, then follow with a damp cloth to clean up the foamy residue. Finish with a clean, dry cloth to absorb the remaining moisture.
Pro Tip: if you don’t feel like squatting or kneeling, try a long-handled squeegee or a mop! Just dip into the soapy water and lather it onto the boards.
2. White vinegar
Is there anything white vinegar can’t do? Add one part vinegar to five parts warm water to get your cleaning solution. Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the mixture, wring out the excess, then wipe along your skirting board.
Vinegar is milder than bleach, but works just as well to remove tough stains — and don’t be afraid to double-wipe any stubborn marks! You can go over the skirting boards with half a lemon afterwards to help cut the scent. Then wipe with a dry cloth to absorb any excess moisture.
Use protective gear if you decide to clean skirting boards with bleach — the harsh chemical product can damage both your skirting boards and your skin. But for white boards, bleach is excellent for getting rid of tough stains and making your skirting look good as new. Read the instructions on the product first before using it, and always make sure to wear gloves and goggles.
4. Sugar soap
You can get rid of grease and other dirt on skirting boards with sugar soap and a sponge. Remember to use protective gear, and dilute the sugar soap in warm water beforehand. Mix the sugar soap solution in a spray bottle for easier application.
When you’re ready, spray the cleaning mixture onto your skirting board, then let it sit for a minute. Wipe it off with a clean cloth or sponge. Go over the boards with a damp cloth afterwards to remove any remaining residue. Finally, dry the boards with a clean towel.
5. Steam cleaner
Here’s an interesting option — steam cleaners! No chemical products needed. Test the steam cleaner out on a hidden corner of your boards first to ensure it won’t cause any damage. If it works out, simply turn on your steam cleaner and run along the skirting boards to remove any dust and dirt.
Other tips for cleaning skirting boards
Besides the usual cleaning methods, there are a few other tips and tricks for getting your skirting boards to look fresh and clean.
Use a dryer sheet afterwards
No, really! After cleaning skirting boards – whether a light dust-down or a more thorough wash – rub your boards down with dryer sheets to deter the static build-up of dust. It can also help remove any odours from cleaning agents.
Invest in a baseboard mop
They exist! And the mop is designed to get at the difficult angles while letting you work standing up. Plus, you’ll only have to use one tool every time you need to clean your skirting boards.
Rinse and dry immediately
This is an important step after thorough cleaning so the moisture doesn’t set into the wood boards. Nobody wants to invite mould into their home, and wet wood is never good. Wipe them down with a clean, dry cloth or a dryer sheet to remove wetness.
Leave it to the professionals
Sometimes we need to set down the duster and put our homes in the hands of professional cleaners, since they know how to clean skirting boards better than we do. They’ll get the job done in the best way, letting you come home to clean skirting boards – and a clean home in general. Just remember to dust your skirting again after a week!