Can Water Hurt a Modern Finished Floor?

Rod Lorenz

Spills are going to happen on your hardwood flooring.

We often hear that water and hardwood floors don’t mix, and this is true to an extent—excess moisture in the air is not good for hardwood flooring.

But water on the floor isn’t a problem for floors with surface-sealed finishes (unless it’s a lot of water). Today’s finishes are highly resistant to damage from spilled water (and other liquids). And they can be mopped.

Most modern hardwood floors are surface-sealed, meaning a layer of urethane, polyurethane, or polyacrylic protects the floor from staining and water damage. Some finishes—such as oil-treated and penetrating seal-treated—go below the surface and soak into the wood grain.

Cleaning spills on surface-sealed floors

Wipe up spills as soon as possible with a damp cloth, paper towel, or anything else that’s not abrasive. But even if the spill remains too long and the floor whitens, that white can easily be cleaned off.

Mopping surface-sealed floors

With the right type of mop, you can mop surface-sealed floors, and that’s the recommended way of keeping them clean.

Instead of a traditional wet mop, use a dry mop with a rectangular base over which you slip a disposable cover made of a non-abrasive material, such as terrycloth. We recommend using a Glitsa Mop along with a Glitsa Clean cleaning solution, which you spray on the floor before mopping. Ralph’s proudly sells both products.

Off course, there are other options. The most important things are to not use an abrasive mop and to not use any cleaner that includes ingredients on the flooring or finishing manufacturer’s do-not-use list.

Two caveats: Don’t use any cleaning solution on the floor for 2-3 weeks after the finish is applied, and don’t use steam cleaners. Even steam cleaners supposedly designed for use on hardwood floors will eventually damage the finish and flooring because of the repeated exposure to the cleaner’s combination of water and heat.

The Ralph’s team wants to help you choose the hardwood floors that are right for your lifestyle, which includes providing advice about finishes and floor maintenance. You can download our floor-care instructions here. And, as always, we’re available for consultation at our showroom, where you can purchase our favorite cleaning products.

Image courtesy of Lee Hayword, Creative Commons

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