How to Clean Your Hardwood Floors

Cortney Lindquist

In this time of the global pandemic, it is natural that you are more concerned than usual about the cleanliness of your home, so you may be wondering how to clean your hardwood floors. 

Properly cleaned hardwood floors are not hard to achieve, especially if you take preventative measures! Put down mats and consider leaving shoes at the door. Dry-mop, sweep, and vacuum often. When the floor starts looking dull, use a damp mop and a neutral cleaning solution.

Whatever cleaning product you use, the process for damp mopping is the same. Saturate a mop in a floor-cleaning solution. Make sure you wring it out, so the sponge mop is damp, not wet. Mop the floor and pay attention not to put too much liquid on the wood floor. Rinse the mop with water and damp-mop once again to remove the cleaner. Wipe up the extra liquid with a dry towel because leaving too much water could damage the floor. 

You can also vacuum to remove dust, dirt, pet hair, and debris that could harm the floor. Vacuum using a soft floor nozzle because vacuum cleaners with brush rolls and carpet beaters can damage the floor finish. 

Cleaning Rules

These rules apply to any wood floor. Following them will help your floor last longer before it needs refinishing.

          • Damp-mop and vacuum the floor as needed. Never wet-mop a hardwood floor (only damp-mop). Keep in mind that water is wood's enemy.

        • Only use floor cleaners that are recommended by trusted wood floor manufacturers or installers—and that don’t go against your flooring warranty.  Soap and water might not work as well as the best cleaners but can get the job done. Use 1/4 cup of pH-neutral or mild soap (such as a liquid dishwashing soap) with a bucket of water.

        • Wipe up all spills right away. Products (e.g., Kool-Aid) will leave stains on most finishes if left there.

        • Don't use waxes, oils, or furniture sprays. Wax can make it difficult to recoat the floor, oil can leave a residue, and furniture spray can leave a slippery surface. Also avoid alkaline products, straight ammonia, abrasive cleaners, and acids such as vinegar-and-water solutions or lemon juice, which can damage the floor’s finish.

Do you need advice about cleaning your hardwood floors? Feel free to contact us.

Image: Shutterstock

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