Cleaning skirting and baseboards can be back-breaking work, so, in this post, I’m going to give you some magical tips to help you learn how to clean skirting boards, picture rails, and architrave, just like the professionals do, without breaking your back!
Dirty skirting boards can make the cleanest of houses look grubby. I have to admit that it’s one of the first places I look in someone’s home if I want to know exactly how clean it is.
A house can appear tidy and clean, but it’s areas like the skirting boards that will tell you if a home is well maintained.
Before we learn how to clean skirting boards without bending down, let’s run through the correct way to clean a skirting board or baseboard.
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How to clean skirting boards.
You will need:
- 1 large feather duster or soft dusting brush, preferably extendable.
- A small detail brush or toothbrush
- Soapy water
- Soft cloth
- Magic erasers
- Scrubbing brush
- Flat mop with a dry dusting mop head, and a damp microfibre mop head.
The most important step in our quest for clean skirting boards is dusting. Do not be tempted to go near your skirting boards with any liquid until you have removed the surface dust or you will be making the job twice as difficult for yourself.
You should be aiming to remove any dust from your skirting boards at least once a week.
You can use a vacuum to remove the dust, but be careful not to scratch any paintwork. Remember if you are dusting picture rails or window sills do them first to avoid any dust falling onto your clean skirting boards.
- Dusting your skirting boards
Pull all furniture away from the skirting boards, allowing ample space to work behind.
Take a giant feather duster and gently remove any dust, taking care not to flick it into the air. If you use a feather duster, it will trap all the dirt in the feathers; you can then step outside and bang your feather duster against your leg to get rid of all the dust and grime. Remember to do this away from the open door, or the dust will blow back into the house!
As you go round the room dusting use a small detail brush to remove any stubborn bits of dust which may have accumulated in the corners and crevices.
Work from the door in a clockwise motion right around your room until you get back to the door. I always use this clockwise method when cleaning a room so if I’m interrupted, I will know exactly where I was up to, and will not waste valuable time going over the same spot twice.
- Spot clean
There’s no point drenching your skirting boards with loads of soapy water if they are not particularly grubby.
Starting at the door again, spot clean any scuffs and marks on your skirting boards, I prefer to use soapy water with a bit of disinfectant for this job, but most other products will work just as well.
Use a yoga mat or a soft cushion to kneel on to protect your knees. I usually keep a pair of gel knee pads in my cleaning kit, especially for this job!
These simple steps should be all you need to do to your skirting boards each week to keep them delightfully clean, but what happens if your baseboards are very grimy to begin with?
How to clean heavily soiled skirting boards.
- Remove any dust as outlined in step 1
- Fill a bowl with soapy water and use a damp cloth. Make sure you wring your cloth out well, a damp cloth will remove the dirt much more effectively than a wet rag and will prevent the dirty water from running into other areas.
- Working clockwise around the room, clean the skirting boards thoroughly, with either the cloth or a damp magic eraser. You can use a scrubbing brush if there is a year’s worth of dirt and grime to remove.
- Use a detail brush to get into any crevasses, and your magic eraser to remove stubborn scuffs and grime.
- Rinse and dry immediately with a dry cloth. If you allow any dirty water to dry on your skirting boards, you will have to start the cleaning process again!
- For extra stubborn stains, use a magic eraser and gently apply pressure until the stain disappears. Bear in mind that magic erasers are abrasive, so always test on an inconspicuous area before use.
How to clean skirting boards without bending down!
“How can I clean baseboards without crawling on my knees?” is a question I get asked all the time!
- The best way to clean skirting boards if you can’t bend down is to use a soft, long-handled brush, an extendable feather duster or an eMop to sweep away any dust.
- You could also use your vacuum tools to suck up the dust instead; be sure to use the soft brush attachment to avoid scratching the paintwork rather than the harder crevice tool.
- After dusting down your skirting boards, you can check for any spots of grime and spills.
- I like to use a flat-headed mop such as this eCloth Mop with the duster head first to remove any dust. Then I gently dampen the microfibre mop head with soapy water and a few drops of disinfectant. Making sure the mop head is not too wet, I run my mop head over the skirting boards where the dirty spots are worse.
- For stubborn stains wet a flat-headed mop and add a few drops of detergent, wring well and scrub at the area until it’s thoroughly clean.
How to keep your skirting boards clean.
Now you’ve got your skirting boards beautifully clean you will want to keep them that way.
- Once a week follow steps 1 and 2.
- To prevent a static build-up of dust and to leave a pleasant smell some people like to wipe their baseboards using a tumble dryer sheet, I have tried this method, but I think a quick flick over with a feather duster is much more efficient.
- Wipe up any spills immediately to avoid having to wash them down at a later date.
How to clean skirting boards before painting
- After thoroughly dusting and removing any grime, wash your skirting boards with a sugar soap solution to remove any residual dirt and grease before painting.
How to clean skirting boards after plastering
- The important thing here is not to get the skirting boards wet until you have thoroughly removed all the dust. You may find vacuuming to be more effective in this situation. Remove the dust daily until all of it has gone and no more settles before wiping down with soapy water.
- If you have recently had building work, you will probably need to vacuum the dust carefully, using a vacuum attachment, taking care not to chip the paint.
Frequently asked questions
When cleaning white painted woodwork and skirting boards, you should take great care to avoid the use of bleach. If you have white paintwork avoid using bleach, as this will prematurely yellow the white paint over some time.
I don’t use a steam cleaner on my skirting boards, but I have heard this Bissel steam cleaner is excellent for cleaning baseboards, however, you would need to be careful not to chip the paint and damage the wood. I would always test it in an inconspicuous area before you start!.
Any vacuum which has a crevice tool is suitable for skirting boards; I like to cover the crevice tool with an old sock so that it doesn’t scratch the paintwork or use the soft brush tool.
My preferred vacuum is the Shark Duo Cordless as it converts to a handheld vacuum cleaner, which makes it easier to vacuum the skirting boards.
You can read my lovely little post about it here!
Zoflora is a disinfectant and will kill germs but will not clean the surface area. I would clean the skirting boards with soapy water first to remove any stubborn dirt and grime, then use Zoflora on the final rinse to make the whole house smell divine!
Now you’ve learned how to clean your skirting boards, why not learn how to clean your landing, hall, and stairs like a professional!