Baseboards are design details that are often overlooked, but as it turns out, play an integral part in protecting walls and making rooms feel polished.
What are baseboards?
These are narrow wooden boards that are installed along the base of the wall. Baseboards cover inconsistencies in the wall where it meets the floor. It also serves a very important function in protecting plaster walls from getting scuffed by shoes, boots, and vacuum attachments.
Types of wood used to make baseboards, according to the baseboard resource guide:
Hardwoods—Hardwood baseboards are more durable and often easier to stain than other types of baseboards.
Softwoods— This type of baseboard material is cost efficient. Pine is the most common softwood, and if stained properly, could be difficult to distinguish from hardwoods.
Medium density fiberboard—fiberboard is from wood fibers formed into a board under heat and pressure. High-quality MDF makes an excellent and less expensive substitute for hardwood boards. These are mold and mildew resistant if water intrusion is an issue.
Should I Clean Them?
Baseboards can get pretty grimy if left without cleaning. So it is imperative to include this in your cleaning routine and it is a good thing that cleaning baseboards is fairly easy, though the task may include moving your furniture. Here is how to clean your baseboards:
How to Clean Baseboards on a Routine Basis
It is fairly simple to clean your baseboards. Here are three ways to clean baseboards on a weekly or biweekly schedule.
Microfiber cloth: A way to clean baseboards is with your microfiber cloth. Just move furniture out of the way, wipe down your baseboards and then put everything back into place.
Vacuum attachment: Another way to clean your baseboard is by using your vacuum cleaner attachment. An advantage of this method is that you may not need to crawl on your knees very much.
Sock and a yardstick: If going on all fours is out of the question, you can slip a sock over a yardstick and you’ve got a baseboard cleaning tool. Use a microfiber sock for the best results, as cotton and wool won’t be as effective at picking up fine dust particles.
How to Really Clean Your Baseboards
If you haven’t cleaned the baseboards for quite some time, you might have to schedule several hours for this task. You’ll need the following:
- A bucket
- dishwashing liquid
- microfiber cloths
- cotton swabs
- a towel or yoga mat.
- (optional) vacuum cleaner with attachments
- Move any furniture away from the walls.
- Dust your baseboards using a microfiber cloth or your vacuum cleaner attachment. If you’re using cloths, kneel on your towel/yoga mat while you work to help keep the pressure off your knees.
- Mix in a few drops of dishwashing liquid and 2 quarts of warm water in your bucket.
- Dip a clean microfiber cloth in the bucket and wring it out so that the cloth is damp, but not dripping wet. A saturated cloth won’t be as effective. Also, you don’t want to ruin your floors by dripping water on it while cleaning baseboards.
- Wipe your baseboards with your dampened microfiber cloth, (change out your cleaning solution when it starts to look cloudy).
- Clean corners using your cotton swabs dipped in your bucket of water and dishwashing liquid.
- Once your done, set up fans to help your baseboards dry before returning furnishings to their places.
What if My Baseboards are in bad shape. Can I remove them?
For older houses, you might not want to remove baseboards as much as possible. New wood is not the same as what you might have there. It also can be a big job. It is better to repair what’s already there. But if it is already beyond repair or you don’t mind replacing your old wood, you might want the help of professionals in stripping and replacing your baseboards.