Ultimate Guide on the Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors
Clean Hardwood Floors
One of the most exciting facts about hardwood floors is that it improves the air quality in your home. This is because it cannot shelter allergens, mold, or pet hairs like carpets. They also increase the resale value of your home.
Hardwood flooring is considered a significant investment due to its cost. On the positive side, it can last for years, if not a lifetime. However, they require regular maintenance. If not, the dirt that settles on the floor can scratch the surface.
But what’s the best way to clean hardwood floors? To help you out, we have put together this comprehensive guide on how best to clean your hardwood floors by covering the following main topics:
- What Is the Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors?
- Tools and Cleaners to Clean Hardwood Floors
- How Do I Clean Dirty Hardwood Floors?
- Is it Safe to Use Vinegar to Clean Hardwood Floors?
- Does Mopping Damage Hardwood Floors?
- Best Way to Mop Wood Floors
- How Do You Deep Clean Hardwood Floors?
- How Do You Clean Refinished Floors?
- Which Is Better for Hardwood Floors: Sweeping or Vacuuming?
- Tips and Tricks for Cleaning Hardwood Floors
What Is the Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors?
The best way to clean hardwood floors is to adopt preventive measures including regular cleaning. As long as you care for your floor in the right way, they can last a lifetime.
Dust, dirt, allergens, and bacteria can accumulate on the surface of the floor and in the grains. Not only do they spread through your home, but they are also harmful to you and your family.
Be it bamboo, oak, or pine, the method of cleaning wood floors is the same. However, you may want to check with your manufacturer for any instructions about your wood floor.
Sweep or Vacuum Hardwood Floors
- Start with sweeping or dusting the flooring to remove the dirt and pet hair that can scratch the surface.
- Use a microfiber mop pretreated with a dusting agent to remove the dust from the floor. You can also use a gentle broom to clean the floors daily. Brooms with exploded tips can also trap dust and debris.
- Vacuum your floor once a week with one suitable for hardwood floor cleaning. In a hardwood setting, the vacuum works only by suction.
- You may also look for ones with rubber wheels to prevent scratches.
While mopping is not particularly necessary, high-traffic areas require a more thorough cleaning once a week.
- Use a damp mop to clean your hardwood floor. Ensure that you wring the excess water before you mop the floor.
- Standing water can damage hardwood floors, especially prefinished ones.
- Alternatively, you can also use a disposable wet pad or spray-and-mop product safe for hardwood floors.
- If you are steam cleaning your floors, ensure that they are designed for hardwood floors. Otherwise, they can damage the wood or at least damage the wood.
- In the same line, avoid tile cleaners or vinyl cleaners on hardwood floors.
Restore Your Flooring
Apart from cleaning, you may also have to conceal the occasional scratches and restore the shine.
- Use liquid scratch concealers in the same color as your floor to conceal the scratch. Once a permanent seal is formed, it doesn’t come off even during cleaning.
- To restoring the shine, you can use a wood floor polish. It protects the floor from wear and tear.
- Apply floor wax to the hardwood floor along the grain of the wood. It revitalizes the floor and gives it a shine.
- In the case of a solid hardwood floor, sand and apply a new finish to restore its beauty.
- Also, ensure that you refinish your floors every 3 – 5 years.
Tools and Cleaners to Clean Hardwood Floors
Cleaning wood floors can range from a quick once-over with your broom to a proper mopping. Whatever it is, you need the proper tools and cleaners to protect your floor from scratches.
- You require a mop treated with a dusting agent to pick up the pet hair, dust, and dirt for daily cleaning.
- The best mop is one with a microfiber head. The material traps in the dirt and grime and prevents them from scratching the surface. Depending on the manufacturer, you may want to add a wood floor polish or dusting spray.
- Vacuum plays an integral part in your weekly cleaning schedule. Therefore, you need one with a floor-brush attachment. However, you may want to skip the beater bar attachment as it can scratch the floor’s finish.
- For quick dusting, use a vacuum cleaner with a disposable electrostatic cloth.
- As for a hardwood floor cleaner, consult with your flooring manufacturer. They can recommend a safe product for your flooring.
- Older floors require a neutral solution with a ph of 7. A wood floor cleaner with a higher ph will be acidic, and a lower ph wouldn’t work as well.
- You can also make a solution with a few drops of dish soap, castile soap, or Murphy’s oil soap to 4 cups warm water. Mix ever so light and mop small sections at a time.
How Do I Clean Dirty Hardwood Floors?
While hardwood floors are durable and pleasing to look at, they are high maintenance. The foot traffic can cause dirt and grime to accumulate on the floors, causing them to appear drab and dirty. Frequent cleaning can keep the floor from becoming dirty. However, there are times when your floor becomes filthy despite the sweeping. Here’s the best way to clean hardwood floors and not damage them.
- Substitute a dry mop with a vacuum cleaner for a filthy floor. Clear the loose dust and dirt from the surface.
- Prepare a mixture with 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1 gallon of warm water in a clean bucket.
- Immerse a soft cleaning cloth in the solution and wring the excess liquid.
- Use it to clean a 3-by-3-foot section of the wood. Wipe it until you remove the buildup.
- Use a dry terry cloth and go over the wet area.
- Repeat the cleaning process for every 3-by-3 foot section. Rinse the cloth as often as needed.
- Do not allow standing water to air dry on the wood. This can cause it to warp after a while.
Is it Safe to Use Vinegar to Clean Hardwood Floors?
Yes! Vinegar is safe to use on hardwood floors as long as it is used in the right way. Residue from floor cleaners can dull the finish of the wood. Vinegar, however, is a safe and natural cleaning method for your floor, especially around kids. However, they cannot be used as such and must be diluted. Instead, prepare a mixture in the ratio of 1/2 cup vinegar to a bucket of water. Use it to wipe your floor.
Keep in mind that vinegar can be acidic and damage the surface, causing it to lose its shine. Check against a small concealed area before cleaning larger areas.
Does Mopping Damage Hardwood Floors?
- Discolor or Fade
Instead of a soaking wet mop, you can use a damp mop and cleaning product to clean your hardwood floors.
How Often Should You Mop Hardwood Floors?
Mopping once a week is enough for high traffic areas like the dining room and kitchen. And once a month for low traffic areas or even three months depending on how dirty the floor is.
Best Way to Mop Wood Floors
The best way to maintain your hardwood floors is a routine cleaning. However, it isn’t enough, and you need a deeper clean. Mopping is the only way to clean the dirt and grime that builds up over a period of time. However, water and wood don’t go well together. Here’s how you mop wood floors without affecting the finish.
Dilute the floor cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Soak a microfiber mop in the prepared mixture and wring out the excess water. It should feel almost dry and only damp to the touch. Wipe the floor in small sections and do not allow any standing water to remain on the floor. Rinse with a clean mop only if needed. Else, use a clean cloth to wipe the mopped areas. You can also operate a ceiling fan to speed up the drying process.
How Do You Deep Clean Hardwood Floors?
Even if you clean your hardwood floor, the buildup of dirt and grime can make it look dull. In this case, you need to deep clean hardwood floors every 2 – 4 weeks. Deep cleaning shouldn’t take long if you have maintained a proper maintenance schedule.
Here’s how you deep clean your hardwood floor:
- Move the furniture in the room out of the way before starting to clean wood floors.
- Remove the dust and dirt from the floor with a dry mop or broom. Alternatively, you can also use a hardwood floor vacuum. Clean in the direction of the floorboards for a thorough cleaning.
- Wet mop the floors to get rid of any dirt left behind. Use a microfiber mop with a swivel head and dense reusable pad.
- Ensure that the pad is moist and not soaking wet. Allowing water to pool on the floor can warp the wood.
- If necessary, use a clean cloth to dry your floors.
- Clean the buildup and tough stains on the floorboards with a hardwood floor cleaner.
- Use a putty knife to clean in between the floorboards. In addition, you can also use a putty knife to scrape heavy buildups.
- Add deep cleaner to water and use it to clean the floor. Again go in the direction of the floorboards.
- For effective cleaning, concentrate on small areas. Also, change the pads often.
- Buff the wooden floor with a non-abrasive towel or a microfiber cloth to impart a shine. However, do not use wax or oil or any other store brought product. They can cause a buildup of residue and can damage the floor’s finish.
How Do You Clean Refinished Floors?
Refinished floors require a bit more gentle handling than an older floor to allow for curing. You can clean your wood floor a week after refinishing. To be on the safer side, use a broom and a dustpan. Set aside your mops and vacuum cleaners. After a month, you can use your vacuum and also mop the floor.
It is essential to realize that these are tentative timings. For example, your floor can cure faster in a warm and dry climate. But, on the other hand, they can take longer if the climate is cool or humid.
Which Is Better for Hardwood Floors: Sweeping or Vacuuming?
Sweeping and vacuuming are both effective ways of cleaning hardwood floors. However, both of them work in different ways and are good in their ways.
When you sweep, all the dust doesn’t get removed. Instead, few can be airborne or fall into the crevices and between the floorboards. However, the dust and dirt get sucked in a vacuum, leaving little to no airborne dust.
But you cannot use any vacuum. You need to use ones that are safe for hardwood. Most vacuums have a beater bar that pounds into the carpet to stir up dust. If you use those on your hardwood floors, they can damage the finish and luster.
In short, a vacuum is always better than sweeping as long as you use one that doesn’t damage the hardwood floor.
Tips and Tricks for Cleaning Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors can last a lifetime as long as you take care of them. In addition to cleaning, you need to take specific measures to protect the hardwood floors.
- Place a doormat at the entrance of your home so that everyone can wipe their feet as they enter your home. That way, you can reduce the dirt, small stones, and other debris that could scratch the wood floor.
- Use rugs in the high traffic areas to protect the floor from wear and tear.
- Use furniture pads on the legs of tables, chairs, and sofas. That way, you can avoid the deep scratches left by the furniture.
- Use furniture sliders to move things around.
- Clean the spill as soon as possible to prevent stains. Do not allow water to stagnate on the floor.
Hardwood floors add beauty to your home. However, they require regular maintenance to preserve their beauty and increase their life.
Dusting, vacuuming, and wiping are the most common methods. However, care needs to be taken so that they do not damage the hardwood floor. For example, water and wood do not go well together. So ensure that the mop is almost dry to the touch to prevent warping and swelling.
The best way to keep your hardwood floors in excellent condition is to have them cleaned by professionals. Not only does it keep your floor clean but also healthier. Furthermore, it also restores the natural beauty of your home and imparts a shine.