How to Clean Your Baseboards

by Team HomeServe
Dusting a Baseboard

Cleaning Baseboards at a Glance

  • Tools and Materials: Vacuum or broom, rags, water, dish soap, dry towel, sponge
  • Step 1: Vacuum or sweep baseboards
  • Step 2: Scrub surface
  • Step 3: Towel dry
  • Step 4: Remove scuffs

You’ve just refinished your hardwood floors, but the dusty baseboards are detracting from the look of your freshly shined flooring. It’s time you added the baseboards to your cleaning to-do list.

This May Also Interest You: How Much Does It Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Baseboards are one of those oft-overlooked components of the home. They don’t catch your eye until you notice just how grimy they’ve become. And that’s not to mention all the scratches and scuff marks the trim tends to pick up over time. Even the brightest, whitest baseboards can turn dingy with neglect, especially in heavily trafficked rooms.

Any room isn’t truly clean if the baseboards are dirty. Here’s how to get them spotless.

How to Clean Painted or Stained Wood Baseboards

If your baseboards are made from painted wood, first gather these supplies:

  • Vacuum or broom
  • Cleaning rags
  • Warm water mixed with dish soap
  • Dry towel
  • Sponge, such as a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Then, follow these instructions:

  1. Using your vacuum’s brush attachment or a soft broom, sweep the baseboards to remove surface debris. Sweep the area directly surrounding the baseboards, too.
  2. Scrub the surface of the baseboards using your wet rag.
  3. Use a soft towel to dry the surface.
  4. If you notice any scuff marks, use the sponge or eraser to remove them.

Clean stained wood baseboards the same way, but instead of regular soap, use wood oil soap and follow the directions on the packaging. This type of soap conditions the wood while it cleans.

Use a small scrub brush to get into the nooks and crannies that are difficult to reach with just a rag. The areas where baseboards meet at 90-degree angles can be particularly tedious to clean. For those areas, soak a cotton ball or cotton swab in cleaner and dab it over the area to remove any caked-on grime and dirt.

If the paint on the baseboards is chipping, think about refinishing the baseboards and giving them a fresh coat.

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How to Clean Baseboards Made of Vinyl

You can clean vinyl baseboards using the same procedure as you would for painted wood baseboards, but you can also add a soft-bristled scrub brush to the mix. This is a particularly good idea if your vinyl baseboards have textured grooves that make them look like wood. After scrubbing, use a clean rag to wipe away any soap and debris, and then dry the baseboards with a soft towel.

What About Crown Molding?

Crown molding is exposed to the same dirt that plagues your baseboards — they’re just above your line of sight. Clean your crown molding regularly using the same methods that you use for baseboards.

It’s a Dirty Job, But…

If just thinking about cleaning all your home’s baseboards at once makes you tired, resolve to clean the baseboards in one room per week. This rotation is usually enough to keep your baseboards from getting dusty. Cleaning them once every few months should suffice in most environments. Because vacuuming, dusting and other activities stir up dust that settles on your baseboards, professional cleaners suggest cleaning them after everything else.

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