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Easy-care flooring materials and specially formulated cleaning products take a lot of the drudgery out of cleaning floors.

To select the right cleaner for the job underfoot, use this quick-reference guide from Better Homes and Gardens magazine.- General-purpose cleaners, granular or liquid, mix with water and do best on uniformly soiled floors.

- Cleansers contain abrasives that scour away spots that general-purpose cleaners can't handle. Ordinary cleansers scratch soft surfaces, especially vinyl. Soft cleansers, like Soft Scrub and Mr. Clean Soft, contain milder abrasives; use sparingly to spot-clean vinyl.

- Floor waxes fall into two categories: water-base formulations for vinyl sheet and tile floors, and solvent-base pastes and liquids that clean and polish wood floors. Don't use a water-base on a wood floor or a solvent-base wax on vinyl.

- Carpet shampoos lift out oily, greasy and gritty soil from the pile of the rug or carpet and are used with household vacuum cleaners. But to give the carpet a longer life and keep it looking its best, have it professionally cleaned every few years to remove deep-down soil.