Before I tell you how to clean hardwood floors, let’s agree on one thing: all of us love and hate hardwood floors at the same time.
We love them because of the shine they give to our home. We hate them because they require high maintenance to keep shining.
But can we live without cleaning hardwood floors?
Of course not. These floors pick dust and stains like a magnet. Consequently, the gleam for which we installed hardwood flooring in the first place would be gone. Hence, if you are a fan of clean, shiny hardwood flooring, you have to work hard to preserve it.
It is where this article come into play.
After scouring the Internet, we have come across two best ways to leave your hardwood floor spotless. Don’t believe me? Scroll down to find out for yourself.
Table of Contents
Hardwood Floors: Preventive Maintenance
If you don’t like cleaning hardwood floors, again and again, pay extra attention to its preventive maintenance. For, it would make sure your floor remains in good working condition for longer periods.
Go For Dirt-Magnet, Entry Mats
Most of us go for water trapping mats at the entry of our homes. What you need with hardwood flooring, however, is a dirt-trapping mat.
For, dirt, sand, and grit are the worst enemies of hardwood floors. Keep them away, and you might just increase the shelf life of your floor.
Go For Furniture Glides
Be it bar stools, chairs or any other furniture, use furniture slides on all of them.
To begin with, I’d recommend going for thick, fabric glides. Also, once you have installed the glides, check them regularly because they can also trap grit.
Finally, avoid any plastic or caster glides for they will tear into the floor.
Say No to Spills
You can’t keep spills from, erm, spilling. But what you can do is reduce their residence time on your floor. Hence, while you can’t carry a duster in your hand every time, wipe up spills as early as you can.
Extra Care With High Heels
In stark contrast to other “experts”, I won’t recommend foregoing high heels altogether. For, it is simply impractical.
What you need to do is to give extra care to your high heels. Never wear a heel which has worn down or lost its protective cap because it will impregnate your floor surface.
Have It Re-Coated
While it will take your time and money, re-coating a floor is the best way to get its shine back. As you might guess, it is the traffic your floor gets which would determine the frequency of re-coating.
That is, if your floor gets high traffic, getting have it re-coated after every 2-3 years.
Vacuum It Regularly
No matter how many dust trapping mats you place, dust would still find a way to get in. To tackle such a scenario, vacuum your hardwood floor frequently. If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner, just sweep the floor clean with a moist cloth. Check here our list of Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors that will help you.
Method #1: Cleaning With A Cleaning Agent
When choosing a cleaning agent, there are some tips that might help you. Firstly, always go for a cleaning agent which is pH-neutral and is water based if your goal is general cleaning.
However, if you want to remove dust and grime, go for the alkaline cleaner. Conversely, if mineral deposits are nagging your hardwood floor, go for an acidic, water-based cleaner.
Secondly, NEVER use ammonia, bleach or abrasive cleaners. Apart from damaging the hardwood, some of them might also void its warranty. Thirdly, keep your shoes at bay because they will merely add to the spots on the floor.
Lastly, for this method, there are some items you need to have. Let’s take a look at them.
- A mop
- Water bucket
- Cleaning Agent
- Smooth, non-abrasive cloth
- Distilled water
Steps To Follow
1 - Clear the Floor
There are two types of furniture in every home. One which is easy to move and the other which simply isn’t. For both these, make sure you have furniture pads which allow moving furniture without leaving behind scuffs.
2 - Dilute the Cleaning Agent
If you think the underground water in your area is hard,go for distilled water. You can buy it from your local market. As for the percentage of water and cleaning agent, follow the instructions written on the cleaning agent box.
3 - Dip the mop into the bucket
Always start from the corner of your room which is the farthest from the door.So, you won’t step on the floor after cleaning it. Also, run the mop over the hardwood floor along the wood’s grain.
4 - Use a Cloth for cleaning tough areas
There would be some areas which will be tougher to clean that other. For such areas, use a non-abrasive cloth. After dipping it into the cleaning agent solution, scrub the cloth over stains with the help of your hands. In this way, a more directed pressure will be applied, leaving fewer chances of stains left behind.
5 - Soak excess solution out of the floor
After you have cleaned the dirty floor, remove the dirty bucket water with a fresh, clean one. After dipping the mop in water, rinse it to make sure it is damp. Finally, pick up the remaining, dirty water using this mop.
6 - Rinse the hardwood floor with a clean mop
Once you have removed the dirty, excess water out of your floor, there will still be streaks left behind. To remove them, rinse your floor with a clean mop.
Method #2: Simple Water Cleaning
As you might have deduced, the abovementioned method dealt with tricky, hard to remove stains. This one is entirely the opposite. That said, bar the cleaning agent, you need everything mentioned in the last method for this one as well.
Steps To Follow
Clear the Floor
Read the first step of the abovementioned method.
Vacuum floor or dry-mop
If you have taken care of dust beforehand, the real task will become all the lot easier. For this purpose, vacuum floor or dry mop your floor. It will get rid of all debris and dirt. You can also use a broom to push the dirt around.
Dip mop into the bucket full of water
Afterward, move the mop alongside the wood grain. Once again, make sure you start from that corner of the room which is farthest from the door. Also, it goes without saying that shoes are off-limits.
Buff it with a cloth
Once you have cleaned your hardwood floor, you might see a soapy residue on the floor. Unless youdon’t remove it,the shine on your floor won’t get back. For this purpose, use a soft, non-abrasive cloth and rub the floor with it in a circular motion. Remember, you should not press the cloth against the floor, just some gentle rubs.
Wood-floor cleaner (Optional)
After the final step, if you want some extra shine from your floor, you can use a wood-floor cleaner.
In addition to the preventive maintenance, here are some advanced tips which might increase the shelf life of your floor.
- Invest in a hardwood species which can withstand the amount of traffic you expect on it.
- Clean your spills, pets nails, debris and rocks immediately
- Attach felt circles under the legs of your furniture (you can purchase them on Amazon)
- Keep your pets’ paws clean and their nails trimmed. Otherwise, they can bring in substances that might cause stains and scratches.
- To reduce wood shrinking, use a humidifier to keep humidity somewhere between 35% and 50%.
- To remove hard substances like chewing gum or wax, use ice first to harden them. Afterward, gently scrap them off with a credit card or plastic scraper.
- Always use such vacuums which have a broom or soft-bristled attachment for hardwood floor cleaning.Never invest in a vacuum which has a power rotary or beater bar brush head.
- Never use soap-based cleaner, water, and vinegar, or wax steam cleaners. For, while vinegar would dull your floor’s finish, wax and soap will leave residue behind.
- Don’t install hardwood flooring if you live in an area which has excessive moisture i.e. bathrooms.
- Don’t walk with athletic spikes on your hardwood flooring.
- Avoid leaving damp rugs on hardwood flooring surface for extended periods.
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Have you ever tried cleaning a hardwood floor before?
How did the experience go? Did you use any of the methods mentioned above? We are looking forward to learning from your experiences.
Leave your suggestions in the comments box.