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Living area of an antique house

Are you looking to keep your historic home consistently clean? Read this guide for practical tips to help tidy up, and maintain, your preservation property.

Your historic home may have years and years of genuine “character!”

But, as time ticks by, and visitors walk through, dirt and low-quality air particles will start to accumulate. And without the proper measures for cleaning and maintaining an historic property, it will slowly start to deteriorate.

So ,Park Avenue Cleaning created a list of tips that we hope will help manage the cleaning of your historic home!

So whether it’s your wooden floors, antique vases, or gorgeous textiles, we hope you’ll get value from these helpful knowledge grabs!

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • What Causes Your Historic Home To Deteriorate?
  • 8 Tips For Truly Cleaning A Historic Home
  • BONUS: 6 Preventative Measures That Maintain Vintage Items In A Historic Home
  • Need Help Applying These Cleaning Ideas?

What Causes Your Historic Home to Deteriorate?

Our vintage properties get better as time goes by, but this doesn’t mean that cleaning should take a back seat.

After all, as time goes on, moisture can take its toll on the quality of your windows, and dirt and debris from foot traffic can accumulate more than you’d like!

Not fun, right?

And dirt and debris eventually also rise up and affect the air quality.

Remember that this list includes most of the natural ways your home gets dirty — and not accidents like spillages, pet damages, and cleaning accidents. So the next question would be:

How do you go about cleaning your historic home so that it looks inviting while still maintaining its vintage allure?

Keep reading for helpful tips!

8 Tips for Truly Cleaning a Historic Home

1. Use Hepa Vacuums for Dusty Floors

HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuums are great cleaning helpers for historic homes since they contain Hepa filters that trap dirt, debris, and dust and prevent it from going back into your home’s air.

This helps, especially if you live in your historic home with younger children present. In addition, HEPA vacuums help remove the majority of environmental contaminants that live in your air’s quality.

As far as pricing goes, a high-quality HEPA vacuum can be found starting at $200.

Experts say that a HEPA filter’s shelf life lasts up to 10 years, showing how valuable an investment they are.

2. Use Nylon Netting

Nylon netting is a mesh material that protects your historical items while you’re cleaning them.

For example, you can place it on a pillow while using your regular vacuum nozzle, and your vacuum will pick up dirt while the pillow remains intact.

Place nylon netting in as many places you desire to clean to help prevent potential damage.

It’s also a great idea to let any housekeepers know of your nylon netting in case they aren’t too familiar.

3. Regular Vacuums Can Work Too!

If your current vacuum doesn’t come with a fancy filter as HEPA vacuums do, you can still get a lot out of it.

Ideally, your vacuum should be large-scale for maximum dust collection.

If we were to do a walkthrough of your historic home, there’s a good chance that you own upholstery.

Here are some steps to cleaning upholstery with a regular vacuum:

Firstly, place nylon netting and then use your vacuum brush to go over your different upholstery furniture gently. (The brush’s bristles will pick up dirt from the furniture.)

If your vacuum has a suction setting (similar to the HEPA style ones), be sure to have it on “low” so that suction isn’t too aggressive.

(This also rings true for the different textiles in your home.)

You can slowly go over high-traffic areas as needed when it comes to your floors. These areas can be places like the living room or any areas people often visit during visitation hours.

4. Adjustable Suction to Prevent Damage

Whether you’re vacuuming floors or pillows using the nozzle, be sure to run things gently.

And here’s why:Rugs or textile blankets can’t have aggressive suction, or their quality will get damaged. This will end up hurting its historic value.

You can use the solution we just mentioned (setting the suction pressure to “low” if your vacuum has the setting (it should if you’re using a HEPA vacuum)). You can also use your suction nozzle at an angle so that it’s more gentle on your textiles.

Another pro-tip is to have multiple suction nozzles.

The reason why is because you may want a nozzle, especially for pillows and couches and one for hard-to-reach places on the floor. Labeling these nozzles can prevent any confusion about which is which.

5. Use Swiffer on Small Items

Accidents can happen if vintage items aren’t cared for properly while cleaning.

Firstly, be sure to wash your hands before moving any of your vintage items. When it comes to cleaning your items, a small dry Swiffer duster can do the trick!

Be sure to inspect the item first and look for any dust, cobwebs, or any other debris. Then gently clean your item using the Swiffer.

When you’re finished with all your vintage items, your Swiffer may look like an old AC filter that hasn’t been cleaned in years, making you want to throw it out…

But not so fast!

It turns out that Swiffer dusters can be used multiple times. Simply rinse the dirt off, and depending on what you’re cleaning, it can be used 1-2x more times.

6. Go Easy On Wood Floor Waxing

Many insist on waxing their wooden floors for a pristine shine.

But it turns out that waxing isn’t as necessary as you might think.

Waxing simply gives a surface-level shine to your wood floors but doesn’t seep into the wood. For that reason, waxing should be left for major events. As a historic homeowner, merely mopping and dusting your floors will take you a lot further!

7. Mop After Vacuuming, Not Before

Wet microfiber mops are proven to remove any lingering dust very well.

But be sure to vacuum before using a microfiber mop or a Swiffer since vacuuming removes large pieces of debris and pet hair.

Aiming to mop about 2x a month works excellent—some historic homeowners mop as little as once a month.

8. Use a Cotton Cloth & Distilled Water for Historic Glass

As time goes on, your precious glass can lose a bit of its flair.

So to keep them looking clear year-round, cleaning them with a cotton cloth and distilled water is a simple yet effective remedy.

If smudges and grime are still apparent, using a glass cleaner can help a ton!

Experts recommend Aunt Fannie’s Glass and Window Vinegar Wash as an excellent natural glass cleaner.

This toxin-free solution includes just vinegar, rosemary oil, lavandin grosso oil, eucalyptus oil, orange oil, peppermint oil, and sugar surfactant.

It gets the job done with fewer additives than many abrasive cleaning glass cleaning solutions.

Remember, a cleaning solution for your glass should be the last resort if all else fails. However, if grime and smudging are still visible, having a professional come by to look at it may help.

Bonus: 6 Preventative Measures That Maintain Vintage Items in a Historic Home

Antique Hotel

Here are 6 ways to maintain your historic house in between cleaning sessions. This section will mainly focus on the items in your home.

Taking these preventative measures can help the lifespan of your antiques and even save time on future cleaning efforts!

1. Use Sun & Dust Furniture Covers

The sun can have strong rays that enter your living space.

The end result?Potentials for UV ray damage on your wooden furniture and upholstery. Which can end up damaging your corvette antiques!Of course, we don’t want that.

Luckily sun and dust covers exist to help you protect your furniture.

They typically come in cotton sheets that can not only withstand sun rays but protect your furnishings from dust, pet hairs, dandruff, and much more.

Think of keeping these covers on your most coveted furnishings when guests aren’t visiting.

Your items near windows should get the most priority since they’re in closer contact with sunlight.

2. Invest in UV Window Film

Another way of keeping furniture colors from fading is to use UV window film on your windows.

As the name suggests, this budget-friendly item can protect your furnishings from UV light and reduce the amount of heat entering your home while still allowing for natural lighting. UV window film can come in many patterned shapes to match your preferences.

It’s simple to install, and can generally cost about $5-$8 per square foot.

3. Be Very Observant

This next tip has more to do with you than with something you buy.

Being a close observer of your historic living space helps you see problems before they become worse.Here are a few ways to be more observant:

  • Keep a close eye on which one of your items collect the most dust (a list helps)
  • Examine your historic items for cracks (this can ensure you’re more careful when cleaning them.)
  • Take pictures of your vintage items which will help you compare their quality as years go by
  • Notice any abrasions on your floor or items (abrasion could be a sign of damage from cleaning products or the mishandling of items.)

Ask any preservationist, and they’ll likely tell you that some items should never be cleaned.

And this is true since its value is in keeping its originality. But part of keen observation should still be watching those antiques for accidental damages.

4. Use Latex Gloves

Latex gloves are a valuable asset when cleaning, especially when cleaning metal items.

Here’s why:

Latex gloves not only protect your hands but prevent fingerprints from corrosion on any metal items you own.

The truth is, your hands have natural oils that can cause fingerprints to show on metal items. It’s these fingerprints that can be visible for years to come, which isn’t what you want.

If you own cotton gloves, you want to avoid using them since their fibers may intertwine with textile materials, affecting their historical prestige.

It’s all these little things that contribute to a well-maintained historic home year-round.

5. Handle Historic Objects as Little as Possible

As mentioned earlier, some objects and furnishings take on a more “artistic” feel and shouldn’t be handled too often to keep their originality.

Because of this, when they are handled, you can take preventive damage measures that maintain their quality.

For instance, a heavy 85-year-old vase that needs to be moved can be held at its base rather than its delicate handles.

Be sure also to have clear maintenance protocols (similar to the one above) for anyone looking over the property.

6. Schedule Regular Maintenance

Cleaning professionals are trained to understand the ins and outs of homes and the cleaning solutions that do the best job.

For that reason?Outsourcing the cleaning to a cleaning company or maid service can not only save you time but deliver an outstanding cleaning service to your home.

This is for sure the case with many people in the Baltimore area when it comes to Park Avenue Cleaning!

Having cleaning service done once a month can be enough to maintain your property for years and years to come

Need Help Applying These Cleaning Ideas to a Historic Home?

A survey mentioned that 7 in 10 people reported having no time to clean their properties.

That’s potentially 70% of your very own neighborhood!

Fortunately, Park Avenue cleaning helps and has helped hundreds of homes maintain their quality in the Baltimore area.

And with Baltimore having such historic home structures, Park Avenue Cleaning also cleans and helps maintain the quality of those homes.

So whether you own a historic house here in Baltimore or have a modern one, we’re your go-to solution for any cleaning needs.

Interest in a free quote?

Book a service with us here, or give us a call! We would love to get started on what you need: 877-546-9837.