Are you worried about cleaning hardwood flooring? You can clean your floor without damaging its finish.

Discover how to make cleaning hardwood flooring easier

Discover how to make cleaning hardwood flooring easier

Hard wood flooring is a sustainable option. Clean your hard wood floor without damaging its finish.

Ease Maintenance

Whether your wood flooring cost was less because you installed it yourself or more because you like exotic woods, it is a cherished investment. The most popular hardwood flooring is made from oak, maple, cherry or ash, and flooring companies sell it by the square foot. You can buy it pre-stained or unfinished in natural or unnatural stain colors, making it as versatile as fiber or tile flooring options. Sealing your floor adds a protective barrier that makes cleaning hardwood flooring easier.

Ease Maintenance

Protect Special Areas

Covering high-traffic areas with rugs and mats protects your floor from wet, muddy shoes and constant friction. With the debris from outdoors trapped in their fibers, you can vacuum or wash dirt out of throw rugs and hall runners to cut cleaning time. To further protect your floor, add felt pads to chair and sofa feet to prevent scuff marks and make cleaning wood floors faster.

Protect Special Areas

Clean in a Specific Sequence

You can make cleaning wood floors easy by building a cleaning sequence that ends with mopping. Beginning with a dust mop, dust the floor to remove hair and light dust. Next, vacuum to remove grit from between planks or strips and the crevices of parquet squares. If you are cleaning a neglected floor, you'll move to the next steps. If you clean your floor regularly, this will be your weekly routine cleaning. You may want to clean a hard wood floor for a special occasion. For deeper cleaning, perform your weekly routine and add a water-filled bucket and a mop with a wood cleaning product if you like. After soaking the mop, wring or squeeze-out most of the cleaning solution. With your slightly dampened mop, you can rinse, wring and repeat your way out of the room. While your floor's finish protects the wood, chemicals will strip or dull it. With this in mind, avoid using ammonia, abrasive cleansers or alkaline products. In fact, the best wood flooring cleanser is a solution containing a pH neutral soap, like Murphy's oil soap, and water.

Clean in a Specific Sequence

What About Vinegar?

Occasionally, mopping with a water or vinegar and water dampened mop is harmless. However, a vinegar and water solution does not effectively loosen grime and dirt and can leave your floors looking dingy. Vinegar is also acidic and damages the floor's finish if used often. In the end, vinegar and water, together or separately, are good for occasional touch ups only. Additionally, avoid products formulated for tile or vinyl flooring as they can make wood floors dangerously slippery and dull their finishes.

Be Careful with Waxes

A waxed floor looks good, but too much wax can dull the finish. However, the right amount of wax makes cleaning hardwood flooring easier and faster by keeping dirt from penetrating the seams between the wood planks or strips. Instead of waxing the floor with each deep cleaning, you can sweep then buff the floor to boost the shine. If you don't own a floor buffer you can rent one, but you can also use a dry dust mop or buy a buffing pad and go over the floor with the buffing pad in a circular motion. If the job threatens to overwhelm you, attack the job one section at a time.

Remove Stains and Water Rings

All wood flooring gets marked, stained or scuffed. Before reaching for your sander, you'll need information about your flooring's stain. The stain may in truth be a hard layer on top of the wood. If so, your floor may have a urethane finish. Conversely, your floor may have a penetrating oil stain and unsealed wood. Discover the type of finish you have by rubbing your finger across a plank or strip. If a smudge appears, the floor has a penetrating seal, shellac, lacqeur or an oil finish and is waxed. If you don't see a smudge, the floor is sealed with polyacrylic, urethane or polyurethane. If your flooring's stain is a hard finish, you can wipe dirt away, but never use sand or steel wool.

Steel Wool has a Purpose

Most modern wood flooring is sealed with urethane. However, soft oil finished flooring is not new and has been the most common type of wood flooring for thousands of years. Cleaning wood flooring cost less when you do it yourself instead of calling a service. There are products, instructions and tips for removing pet stains, heel marks, water marks and white stains from your wood floor. As you'll see, most employ steel wool. Rubbing a dark spot with steel wool slathered with floor wax can erase a pet stain before guests arrive. You can use the same steel and floor wax to erase heel marks. Watermarks and white stains disappear with the same steel wool and floor wax treatment. Should the pet stain remain, soak it with vinegar or bleach for an hour, then rinse. It your watermark lingers, gently sand the stained area, then clean the wound with mineral spirits on fine steel wool.