Tips on Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Dated: 05/11/2020

Views: 120

Learn how to clean wood floors with smart methods that will make caring for your flooring and maintaining a clean, polished look even easier.

By Jessica Bennett 
Updated April 08, 2020
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Cleaning Hardwood Floors: The Tricks That Work
What's the secret to fabulously clean hardwood floors? Find out from home cleaning expert Donna Smallin Kuper.

Floors take on a lot, including daily traffic and inevitable spills, scuffs, or mishaps. The best way to clean hardwood floors starts with smart preventive measures, which not only help protect floors but also cut down on the time you spend cleaning. To lessen tracked-in dirt, place floor mats both outside and inside exterior doors. In snowy or rainy weather, set up a boot removal area to avoid damaging floors with tracked in water and de-icing agents. Along with a spot to sit down and a place to store shoes, keep a rag or cleaning cloth tucked away next to the door to quickly clean up errant puddles on wood floors.

Even when the forecast doesn't call for precipitation, it's smart to remove shoes when coming indoors so dirt, grime, and germs don't get tracked all over the house. Especially with hardwood floors, scratch-causing heels and cleats should be checked at the door. Prevent marks on hardwood floors by using floor protectors under furniture and adding rugs in play areas to ensure children's toys don't scratch the floor. In addition to these daily best practices, follow our tips for cleaning wood floors to keep your home in top shape.

Kitchen with green cabinets and white island seating
ANTHONY MASTERSON PHOTOGRAPHY, INC.

How to Clean Wood Floors During Your Regular Cleaning Routine

A regular once-over with a broom or dust mop will do wonders for cleaning hardwood floors. How often you have to do this chore depends on the traffic your hardwood floors see. For a quick clean, dust wood floors with a mop that has been treated with a dusting agent to pick up dust, dirt, and pet hair that might scratch the floor surface. Options for the best mop for hardwood floors include those with a microfiber head. This material is designed to trap dust and grime. Follow the mop manufacturer's recommendations for using wood floor polish or dusting sprays; some mops won't require an extra cleaning agent.

When considering how to clean hardwood floors, don't overlook vacuuming. For weekly or biweekly cleaning, vacuum with a floor-brush attachment. Do not use a vacuum with a beater bar attachment, which can scratch a wood floor's finish. For quick dusting, use disposable electrostatic cloths.

Mopping with a string mop and bucket of soap and water
KRITSADA PANICHGUL

How to Mop Wood Floors (The Right Way)

The best way to clean hardwood floors starts with preventive measures and routine cleaning, but sometimes a deeper clean is in order. Dirt, oil, and grime build up over time and aren't completely removed by a weekly dusting.

For how to deep clean hardwood floors (consider doing this cleaning in the spring or just before the winter holidays), use a wood floor mop and wood floor cleaning product diluted according to the label instructions. Saturate a sponge or rag mop in the water, then wring it almost dry so it feels only slightly damp to the touch. Damp-mop the floor, being careful to prevent standing water on the floor. Rinse with a clean mop dampened in clean water, but only if the cleaning product requires it. Wipe up excess liquid because standing water can damage wood surfaces. If the weather is humid, operate a ceiling fan or the air-conditioner to speed up drying. If cleaning isn't cutting it, you may need to refinish the wood floors to help them look like new.

Natural cleaning materials
BLAINE MOATS

Find the Best Wood Floor Cleaner

If you're unsure about the best hardwood floor cleaner for your home, talk to your flooring manufacturer. They can often recommend a specific cleaner to use for their product. But if your floor isn't new, or you can't consult the manufacturer, pick a product that is specifically made for cleaning wood floors. Don't use vinyl or tile floor cleaners as these products will damage, rather than clean, wood floors. If you're concerned about using harsh chemicals, look for hardwood floor cleaners that are Greenguard Gold certified, which means they're safe to use in homes with kids and pets. Otherwise, try the natural route with a homemade cleaning solution for your floors.

Person mopping floor with string mop
JASON DONNELLY

How to Clean Wood Floors Naturally

For a natural wood floor cleaner, use a common kitchen staple: vinegar. Learning how to clean hardwood floors with vinegar will save you money on top of providing a safe cleaning method for your floors. Clean wood floors with vinegar by adding 1/2 cup white vinegar to a gallon of lukewarm water. Follow the tips for how to clean hardwood floors with a mop, above, to prevent water damage. Then use vinegar to naturally clean the rest of your home!

Editor's Note: Vinegar can dull certain hardwood flooring finishes, so always test your solution in an inconspicuous spot before using the ingredient to clean your floors.

mudroom hardwood floors

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