The Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors
Clean, shiny hardwood floors add warmth and depth to any living area. But hardwood floors aren't always easy to maintain. They can be damaged by dirt, snow, sand and improper cleaning.
The best way to clean hardwood floors is to read these tips for cleaning your floors and get into a routine of cleaning them correctly. Cleaning hardwood floors isn't just about having and maintaining a beautiful home. It's about protecting an investment.
Sweep or Vacuum Dirt Daily
Removing the dirt, sand or dust that is tracked in on a daily basis should be done every day. That's right, every single day. The best way to keep your hardwood floors clean and prevent damage is to sweep or vacuum them daily.
Left to settle on the floor, the daily detritus will eventually work its way into the floor where it can dull the surface and scratch the wood.
If you prefer to sweep, use a broom with soft bristles so they won't damage the floor. If you can, use a different broom than the one you use in the kitchen. You don't want to smear liquids and food particles all over your hardwood floors.
If you prefer to vacuum, use a lighter model like a vacuum stick, not the big old 50-pounder with the dual beater brush that you use to vacuum the dog's sleeping area.
After sweeping or vacuuming, go over the floor thoroughly with a dry dust cloth. The generic, store brands work just as well as the Swiffer brand. The dry dust cloth will pick up everything that the broom or vacuum missed, including the dog hair.
Some hardwood floor manufacturers recommend a simple monthly wash with a damp floor sponge or mop. Others recommend mopping with a water-based commercial cleaner. Whichever you prefer, the key word here is damp, not wet.
Make sure the sponge or mop is not soaking wet, as excess water will likely damage the floor. If you see any water on the floor at all, the sponge or mop is too wet.
Using clean, cool water or the floor cleaner, simply draw the damp mop over the floor to pick up the dust that remains after using the dry dust cloth. Scrub stains or icky stuff that's stuck to the floor very gently.
Before putting a damp mop on your hardwood floors, make sure they've been properly sanded, sealed and installed.
How to Care for Hardwood Floors
Do not ever use the scratchy side of a sponge, the side of a knife or anything else with the potential to gouge the floor. Do not use ammonia, bleach or detergent.
Depending on the type of hardwood floors you have and if they have not been sealed with polyurethane, using an oil-based soap occasionally might be recommended (Modern wood floors are sealed-oil based soap will damage them and make them creaky as the residue settles in the space between the wood).
On other floors, it will leave a waxy build-up that will dull the floor over time. The best way to clean hardwood floors depends on the kind of floor you have. But if you follow these tips, any type of hardwood floors should remain bright and clean.