How To Clean Baseboards

How to Clean Baseboards Easily by Hand

Are dingy, dust-laden baseboards detracting from the beauty of your rooms? If so, here’s how to get them sparkling within six simple steps.

31/01/2024 – Update

In a Nutshell:

First, begin by gently dusting to remove loose dirt. Then, prepare a mild soap solution for effective cleaning. Using a microfiber cloth, softly cleanse the baseboards, ensuring care for delicate surfaces. For persistent stains, a soft-bristled brush comes in handy. Rinse off any soap traces and promptly dry to maintain the baseboards’ integrity. This straightforward method guarantees sparkling baseboards with minimal effort, streamlining your cleaning routine for a fresher living space.

What Is the Best Way to Clean Baseboards?

In general, it’s always been advised that if the baseboards have been installed for less than a year, use a steam cleaner to first remove any dust or dirt.

This way, you won’t have to scrub as hard since the majority of the grime will have been removed, making it less likely that you’ll damage the baseboard or paint.

Different types of cleaning methods that can be used:

  • A vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment
  • Carpet sweeper/floor polisher (for prepping floors)
  • A wet cloth and a bucket of water with a small amount of dish soap
  • A wet mop and bucket with water and vinegar

If they’ve been installed for more than a year or more, then using traditional cleaning methods that involve dry brushing with soapy water is generally recommended.

6 Simple Steps to Cleaning Baseboards and Crown Molding

6 Simple Steps To Cleaning Baseboards And Crown Molding
Image: Ashley Poskin

Step-By-Step Process to Cleaning Baseboards

Step 1: Dust Removal

The first step to cleaning baseboard molding is to make sure there is no dirt or dust hiding behind them. Ideally, before any deep cleaning, you’ll want to apply a vacuum attachment to your vacuum and remove loose dirt from your boards and floors.

Step 2: Prepare Cleaning Solution

Next, mix mild liquid soap and vinegar or a TSP cleaning solution in a bucket of warm water. Use a sponge mop on the floor, while using a sponge on the walls and ceiling to remove dirt from the sides of the baseboard and crown molding.

Step 3: Wipe with Microfiber Cloth

Then, wipe the back of the baseboards and molding with a dry towel to remove any excess moisture and soap mixture. You can also use a Swiffer or similar type mop instead of a sponge mop for this step, but when using one you need to be careful not to leave streaks on paint surfaces.

Step 4: Tackle Tough Stains

Vacuum the baseboards and crown molding to remove any remaining debris. This is especially necessary if you have pets or kids that leave crumbs on the floor, which can then get stuck to the sides of your baseboards and crown molding.

Step 5: Rinse Off Residue

Use a dust mop to wipe down the top of your baseboards and crown molding. This will remove any future dust that accumulates and will keep your baseboards looking great.

Step 6: Dry Thoroughly

Use a clean microfiber cloth and simply wipe the baseboards clean. Microfiber is an excellent all-around material for how to clean baseboards because it is non-abrasive, yet powerful enough to clean dirt and dust. Using the cloth will prevent streaks on how to clean baseboards and crown molding.

Pro tip: Using household tools like a broom, cotton swabs, wood cleaner, and even an old toothbrush for those hard-to-reach corners, it will be one of the easiest tasks you’ve done in your life.

How Do You Clean Painted Baseboards and Walls

To begin, it’s important to mention that if your home or office has been built in recent years chances are they have already been painted as part of the finishing process.

If this is the case, you will need to use a dry paintbrush and some soapy water to clean them instead of harsh cleaning products.

Step-By-Step Process to Cleaning Painted Baseboards and Walls

Step 1: Clear the Room

Start by removing everything from the floor in the room, including furniture and accessories. Make sure you have a clear path around your baseboards where no obstacle will get in your way while you clean. If you don’t have enough room to move around easily, it’s best to wait until another time.

Step 2: Initial Cleaning

Sweep the floor to remove anything that shouldn’t be there, especially in corners or behind furniture. You should also go over baseboards with a vacuum cleaner, including the joints where they meet the wall.

Step 3: Window Cleaning

Next up is window cleaning. This step isn’t mandatory, but it will definitely help you clean the room. It also gives you a chance to clean windows in the room and let light in, making it easier to spot nooks and crannies that need extra care when cleaning baseboards.

Step 4: Scrubbing the Baseboards

Pour some dishwashing liquid into a bucket of warm water, and use this mixture with your nylon pad brush to start scrubbing away dirt. If there are any scuff marks on the baseboards or walls, use a magic eraser or microfiber cloth to scrub them away. You can also use a dry dusting cloth at this point if you would rather save time.

Step 5: Disinfecting with Vinegar

Once the painted baseboards are clean of dirt and grime, wipe the trim down with some vinegar. This will also give you a chance to clean windowsills while you’re at it. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and will help your home remain free of germs and bacteria, which can accumulate over time if you don’t give your baseboards a regular cleaning.

Step 6: Final Rinse and Clean

Go back with some warm water and dish soap to wash away the vinegar residue from the painted baseboards. You should also use your nylon pad to remove any stubborn stains or marks, then go over the baseboards with a dry cloth to pick up any remaining dust.

Note: Finish cleaning painted baseboards with a steam cleaner, using the appropriate attachment to avoid damaging the machine. The steam effectively eliminates germs and loosens stubborn dirt beyond what vinegar alone can achieve.

How Often Should You Clean Baseboards

In most homes, cleaning the baseboards is a task that often gets overlooked until you eventually get fed up with how dirty they look and how much dirt accumulates on them. For year-round clean baseboards, the easy way to clean baseboards is to give them a birthday when you also clean walls.

The simple solution to this homeowners conundrum is to make sure you clean your home’s baseboards regularly. Routinely cleaning your baseboards with a magic eraser on a quarterly basis would be the ideal remedy for sparkling baseboards.

With a few tips on how to clean baseboard molding, you can make sure they always look new and will never leave an unsightly mess.

A Matter Of Frequency: Most homeowners opt for a once or twice monthly schedule. If your schedule varies, remember that it is how often you clean the baseboards which is important – not how often you vacuum your entire house.

How Often Should You Clean Baseboards
Image: Flooring District

Best Cleaning Solution for Baseboards

If you’re looking for the best cleaning solution for both baseboards and crown molding, your best bet is a solution of TSP and water. All you need to do is mix two tablespoons of TSP into one gallon of warm water and add a magic eraser or microfiber cloth to the mix.

Make sure that the mixture is not too strong or it might cause damage to your walls.

To apply, simply spray the solution on the surface of your baseboards or crown molding, wait for five to seven minutes, and wipe the surface off with a sponge. To shine up the baseboards, use a clean microfiber cloth dipped in vinegar for a professional touch.

Solution-Free Cleaning Method

Another smart option to clean baseboards, molding, and tiles is to use a steamer cleaner. All you have to do is fill up the machine with water and add some cleaner into the water tank.

Plugin the steamer cleaner and go over any grime on your baseboards, tiles, or molding with it. This is an effective way to get rid of dirt, mold, or mildew without worrying about damage to your walls or baseboard surfaces like paint or wallpaper.

However, if you still want to use a chemical cleaner, try to avoid using harsh chemicals like ammonia or bleach on baseboards. These cleaners are not only bad for the environment but can also cause permanent damage to your walls if not used properly.

All-Organic Cleaning Solution

Another option is an all-purpose fruit and vegetable wash that will clean tough stains but keep your baseboard surfaces safe from harm.

If your wall is made of another material, like brick or stone, it’s best to stick with liquid cleaners that are designed for walls.

Stay away from acidic cleaners as they might cause irreversible damage to the surface. And always check how to use each cleaner beforehand – some need time to soak into grime while others work faster.

As always, make sure to test the cleaner on a small area of your baseboard, especially if it’s part of the finished wall surface.

Best Cleaning Solution For Baseboards
Image: Nate & Abby Culora

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re attempting to spruce up aging dirty baseboards with nasty stains or painted crown molding, these cleaning tips will help with getting the job done.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cleaning Techniques Vary by Age and Condition: For baseboards less than a year old, steam cleaning is advised to remove dust and dirt without hard scrubbing. Older baseboards may require traditional methods like dry brushing with soapy water.
  • Simple Steps for Effective Cleaning: The process of cleaning baseboards can be broken down into six steps: removing loose dirt with a vacuum, cleaning with a mild soap and vinegar solution, wiping off excess moisture, vacuuming again to remove debris, dust mopping the top, and finally wiping with a microfiber cloth.
  • Regular Cleaning for Lasting Cleanliness: To maintain clean baseboards, it’s suggested to clean them regularly, ideally on a quarterly basis using a magic eraser or a simple solution of TSP and water, or a steam cleaner for a more thorough, chemical-free method. Regular cleaning not only keeps baseboards looking new but also helps in maintaining a dust-free and hygienic home environment.

Remember, if your baseboards are looking a little drab and dingy, the best way to make them sparkle is by keeping a regular cleaning routine and keeping a good all-purpose cleaner on hand.