How to Clean Baseboards So Your Whole Floor Shines

Unsure how to clean baseboards? Then it’s time to learn. Baseboard cleaning is likely a chore you’ve put off, but it’s actually simple and, dare we say, soothing and satisfying. Further, cleaning your baseboards is quite the bang-for-your-buck household task. “Cleaning your baseboards brightens up a room, especially in high traffic areas,” says Aaron Christensen, resident cleaning expert and VP of growth at Homeaglow, a cleaning service based in Austin. “It is especially important if you have natural wood trim or baseboards painted with higher gloss paint.”

If you need more convincing, consider that “baseboards add a decorative touch and protect walls, but often bear the brunt of household grime,” says Marla Mock, president of Molly Maid, based in Irving, Texas. “Keeping them clean not only enhances the room’s appearance but also maintains the integrity of your home,” Mock adds. Ahead, AD covers four baseboard cleaning methods so you learn exactly how to wash up this area like a pro.

Soap and Water Baseboard Cleaning Method

Mock calls this the best way to clean baseboards. She walks us through what you need and a step-by-step tutorial on cleaning baseboards with her soap and water technique.


Estimated time:

Depending on the size of your home, this baseboard cleaning method can take between one and two hours.

Step 1: Prepare the area

Move furniture and rugs aside. Sit on a small stool or bucket for comfort.

Step 2: Vacuum for dust removal

Use a vacuum with a brush attachment to remove dust. Follow up with a soft-bristled brush for any remaining dust in grooves.

Step 3: Wash with soap and water

Mix warm water and a few squirts of dish soap in a bucket. Dip a sponge or cloth into the solution and gently wipe down baseboards. Work in sections and dry each area immediately to avoid water damage, especially near wood floors.

Step 4: Dry and buff

After washing, use a clean cloth to dry and buff the baseboards for a nice finish.

Eco-Friendly Vinegar Cleaning Method

You can also clean baseboards using distilled white vinegar in place of dish soap. Consider the following steps.

Materials Needed:

Estimated time:

Similar to the soap and water method, this method should take around one to two hours for an entire home.

Step 1: Prepare your space

Clear the area and get comfortable using a stool for support.

Step 2: Dust off with a vacuum

Vacuum baseboards using the brush attachment, then detail any grooves with a soft-bristled brush.

Step 3: Proceed with the vinegar wash

Fill your bucket with warm water and add a cup of distilled white vinegar. Use a microfiber cloth to clean the baseboards, rinse the cloth frequently, and dry the baseboards immediately after washing.

Step 4: Add your finishing touches for extra sparkle

Dry thoroughly and buff with a clean, dry microfiber cloth for a natural sheen and to get any remaining dust out of the nooks and crannies of your space.

The Vacuum Lover’s Strategy for Baseboard Cleaning

For many, the vacuum is the MVP when cleaning baseboards. Lead mechanical engineer at Dyson, James McCrea, is naturally a fan of this approach and shares his best techniques for baseboard cleaning with a vacuum effectively and efficiently. Along with your vacuum cleaner, you’ll need a cleaning solution made from water and detergent for this baseboard cleaning strategy.

Note: For users who have baseboards on both the ceiling and the floor, McCrea advises following the steps below, starting with the ceiling so that you capture any airborne dust that may settle on the floor or baseboards below.


Estimated time:

Depending on the size of your home, this baseboard cleaning method can take between one and two hours.

Step 1: Vacuum to remove as much dust as possible from the baseboards with powerful suction and advanced filtration

Attach the combination tool—often an attachment with a nozzle and brush—to your machine in handheld mode. If there are hard-to-reach corners or areas, attach a crevice tool—often a skinny, tapered wand—to reach into and clean them. Depending on the height of these spaces and personal preference, users can either attach the tools directly to the machine, to clean in handheld mode, or to the wand.

Step 2: Vacuum the floors around the baseboards

Want extra credit? You already have your vacuum out so you might as well do a quick sweep on the area around your baseboards.

Step 3: Tackle stubborn stains with a dirt brush

If there is ingrained dust or stubborn dirt, grab a microfiber cloth dampened with warm water and detergent and rub gently to remove stains. Some vacuums may have a brush attachment designed to lift these types of stains, so it’s worth researching whichever brand you own.

McCrea stresses that it is impossible to completely remove dust from your homes. “However, the best way to prevent dust and debris buildup is by cleaning regularly. You could even use an air purifier to remove airborne dust before it has a chance to settle on surfaces and furnishings,” he notes, adding that this also prevents dust and dirt from embedding onto surfaces, making cleaning your home a quicker and easier process.

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