Cleaning Hardwood Floors:
The good news is, cleaning hardwood floors is not rocket science, it's just about applying some common sense practices. Hardwood floors are a big investment and you obviously want to keep that investment healthy. The bad news is that it's quite easy to ruin a nice wood floor, and most people are doing just that!
Your hardwood floors greatest nemeses aren't very obvious, but they are very destructive. Dirt, grit and minute sand particles, although hardly worth noticing, are the things that scratch, dent and dull your beloved hardwood floors. In between cleaning hardwood floors, Place a doormat at each entrance to trap dirt and sand, and vacuum the mats frequently. A friend of ours places a doormat on both sides of the door, in and out, and she's hung a "shoes off, please" sign as well, since shoes not only bring in dirt, but they help grind it down into the carpet as well.
Moving furniture, especially dining room chairs, can be pretty hard on your floors unless you take the necessary precautions. Lift, do not drag, if possible. Use felt contacts under the legs. Use good quality contacts, not cheap ones. Your floor is expensive, what's another 2 bucks?
Use a broom on your floor, brooms are much kinder to your floor than a heavy vacuum. If you must, just sweep all the debris to the end of the floor and suck up with the vacuum, but at least use the attachment, not the beater bar. Dry dusting with a spray cleaner is the way to do most of your cleaning.
Using water for cleaning hardwood floors can be very risky. People have a tendency to damp mop them way too much, breaking down the protective finish. Once the finish is compromised, the wood begins to warp. Never leave standing water on a hard wood floor and only damp mop if you have a serious spill or stain to deal with, even so, spot clean that stain. When you do need to damp mop a hard wood floor, follow the system below.
Avoid oil soaps, they will build up if mixed too strong and used too often, which is usually the case. Use neutral pH cleaners formulated specifically for cleaning hardwood floors.
Direct sunlight will discolor floors. The sun's intense UV rays can damage the finish and sunbleach the wood. Keep fine wood floors in the shade if possible. It's actually cheap sealants that contribute to this problem.
Use a dust mop with a hardwood spray formulated for dust mopping. When done on a regular basis, this is all the cleaning that a new hardwood floor should need. You can damp mop the floor if the wax is healthy and you take care not to let the water stand for too long. When wood floors are in good shape, we employ these two steps to help keep them that way:
Our process for cleaning hardwood floors
1- Damp mopping with a micro fiber cloth.
Attach a micro fiber cloth to a Swiffer mop. Use the cloth designed for dusting. These do not hold much water, but do trap a lot of dirt. Soak the cloth in a solution of 1 part vinegar, 3 parts water. You can also use a mild cleaner like Simple Green, if diluted, but we find that white vinegar, with its water-softening and cleansing qualities, works best. Mop as you would if you were dry dusting. Wipe dry, then after the floor is dry...
2- Dry Dusting.
Dry dust mop with a spray cleaner formulated for dry dusting, and wash the dust cloth. Replace the dust cloth several times, using a fresh one when it starts to get wet or too dirty.
I get really aggravated by floor manufacturers who continue to bad mouth vinegar. Usually it's because they are promoting their own cleaner (that tries to emulate the excellent cleaning properties of vinegar). We've been cleaning hardwood floors for over 10 years and people always want to know how we get the floors so shiny and clean.......it's vinegar!!
Refinishing is not cleaning
A lot of what one needs to know about wood floors has much to do with refinishing, which is not cleaning. So if you're in need of fixing a worn or damaged wood floor, you need advice from someone who refinishes wood floors. If you're looking for information about ink stains, cigarette burns, scuffs, wax and water issues, etc., contact your wood floor manufacturer.
We have formulas that we use for cleaning hardwood floors...
Cleaning hardwood Floor formulas
We hope that this information on cleaning hardwood floors has been helpful, and invite you to explore the rest of the site for more helpful tips.