Learning how to clean hardwood floors helps to protect your home investment. While it may seem daunting at first, caring for your floors is actually quite simple and only requires a few products.
This handy guide for hardwood floor maintenance will help you keep your floors pristine. With a few simple steps, you never have to worry about accidentally damaging your floors or needing to refinish them before their time.
Ready to make that hardwood shine? Read on!
How to Clean Hardwood With Preventative Care
The best advice for keeping hardwood floors in great shape is to practice good stewardship. Simple measures like removing shoes to prevent the tracking in of grime, using mats at the doors, and wiping up any spills or puddles will extend the life of your wood.
Additionally, keep scratches and scuffs to a minimum by using protective pads under furniture legs and rugs in high traffic areas.
A regular sweep with a microfiber or electrostatic dust mop is plenty for daily hardwood floor care. They help trap dust and particulate that has the potential to scratch the wooden planks. A vacuum with a special floor brush is perfect for a weekly or bi-weekly clean, as well.
Washing Hardwood Floors
For a deep clean, there are safe ways to mop hardwood floors that preserve the finish. High-traffic areas might need a weekly mop, while less-used areas are perfectly fine with a once-monthly wash.
Choose a mop intended specifically for hardwood floors, and use a wood floor cleaning solution such as Bona Hardwood Cleaner that is diluted to manufacturer’s instructions. Soak your mop in the cleaning solution, then wring completely out until it just feels damp. Make sure to mop with the grain of the wood.
When damp-mopping the floor, avoid over-saturating the wood or leaving any standing puddles that can warp the wood. If required per the cleaner’s instructions, run a damp mop with clean water to rinse away the cleaner. Use a dry towel to absorb any excess water, and run fans for expedited drying if the humidity is high.
There are many cleaning products intended specifically for wood floors, but you can make a simple cleaning solution yourself. Dilute one half cup vinegar in a gallon of water to make an inexpensive, effective floor cleaner.
Never use cleaners intended for other types of flooring, like vinyl or tile. These cleaners contain ingredients that can compromise the wood finish or leave residue on the surface. If desired, you can use a soft cloth in circular motions to buff the hardwood after mopping to bring out its shine.
Stain Removal for Hardwood Flooring
How you tackle stains depends largely on the finish of your hardwood flooring. Urethane coated floors are more protected from stain penetration, and often can be treated easily with a soft cloth and a wood-safe cleaner.
Oil-finished floors, common in older homes, are more prone to stains soaking into the wood. Washing hardwood floors without a durable finish may require additional steps to take care of pesky marks.
First, wipe the surface with a non-abrasive cloth to remove any top layers of stain. Then, take the following approaches depending on the situation.
For oily stains: Rub the stain with a soft cloth and slightly diluted mild dish soap to begin to break up the oils in the wood. Rinse with clean water, and repeat a few times if stain persists, as needed.
Pat dry afterward. Once the area is completely rinsed and dried out, be sure to smooth any raised woodgrain with fine sandpaper.
Dark stains, pet stains: Gently rub the stain with steel wool (#000) and floor wax for wood surfaces. You may apply diluted bleach or undiluted vinegar to remaining dark areas, letting the cleaner soak for up to an hour. Rinse thoroughly with a damp cloth afterward.
Heel or watermarks: Rub any scuffs or watermarks with #000 steel wool and floor wax to buff away the marks. If necessary, give the area a light sanding, followed by a mineral spirit wipe down.
These methods may have to be finished with stain, then followed by wax buffing to match the surrounding oiled wood.
Maintenance Keeps Floors Beautiful
Hardwood floors are an attractive, durable choice for any home. Not only can they increase the market value of any house, but they’re also a long-term investment for the life of your home.
While they may require occasional refinishing, hardwood floors are relatively easy to care for and maintain. And now that you know how to clean hardwood floors, you can take these simple steps to keep them beautiful for years to come.
Interested in other home flooring solutions? Visit us at My Affordable Flooring today to see your many options. We’ve helped thousands of homeowners maintain their hardwood floors in Milwaukee, Racine, and northern Illinois!