Cleaning No-Wax Floors
I have no-wax floors throughout my home. I love them. I had them installed years ago and they still look brand new (thanks in part to my knowledge on how to properly maintain their beauty!).
Many homeowners opt for “no-wax” floors as opposed to traditional “wax” floors. Why? It’s simple: instead of wasting precious time stripping, re-waxing and buffing your floors, no-wax floors shine without waxing.
Yes, you heard me right – they come with a beautiful shine! Having a pre-done shine means your floors require little upkeep and are super convenient.
But, what if your no-wax floors have taken a considerable beating? What if they look dull and dingy? Or, what if they have a waxy buildup? No worries. These are common problems (with easy solutions!).
A few things homeowners don’t realize about no-wax floors:
- No-wax floors do not need to be waxed or buffed.
- No-wax floors should not be cleaned with liquid floor cleaners – it will only leave a waxy buildup on your floors.
Now that you know the facts surrounding no-wax floors, let me teach you how to care for and properly maintain them so your home can continue looking beautiful.
What kind of no-wax surfaces are there? Vinyl no-wax, urethane and enhanced urethane are the most popular on the market today.
Vinyl no-wax is both stain resistant and easy to clean.
The key to keeping vinyl no-wax finishes looking brand new is to damp mop regularly. The key to damp mopping is to have a minimal amount of water on the mop, as excess water can damage your flooring.
Remember: to keep it shiny, keep it clean!
No-wax vinyl is less forgiving compared to urethane and enhanced urethane, so I recommend damp mopping these floors at least once a week. Household dirt and debris should be kept to a minimum if you want your vinyl floors to continue looking shiny.
Most no-wax vinyl floors will benefit from a bucket of warm water. No special cleaning solutions or products - just plain old water.
However, if your vinyl no-wax floor is looking dingy, you should opt for a mild, soap-free detergent like Dawn.
- Add 1 tablespoon detergent to 1 gallon of warm water. Swish around with your fingers to mix the solution.
Be sure to change the water frequently, rinse the floor thoroughly, and dry. Forgetting to do so may cause the floor to warp or soil more easily.
Urethane and Enhanced Urethane
Urethane is preferred to vinyl no-wax finishes because it is more durable. Enhanced urethane is preferred to urethane because it resists scratches, scuffs and stains better than urethane.
If you have either a urethane or enhanced urethane wear layer, you should follow the cleaning instructions listed above for vinyl no-wax finishes (which includes no waxing, buffing, sanding, harsh chemicals, etc.).
While you can certainly vacuum no-wax vinyl floors, I don't necessarily recommend it. However, urethane and enhanced urethane can be vacuumed with little trouble because they are much more durable than vinyl no-wax floors. So, if you don't want to damp mop your urethane or enhanced urethane floors, grab a vacuum instead!
Vacuum on high power with a brush attachment, working from the left to right corner, from the far edge to the entrance. If your floor is still looking dingy, try damp mopping with a bucket of plain water as described for vinyl no-wax flooring.
Deep Cleaning No-Wax Floors
The information I've provided in regards to cleaning no-wax floors will work; however, what if your floors look dirty and dingy? Or worse, what if you unknowingly had no-wax floors but have been waxing them all along?!
No fear! There is an easy solution. :)
First and foremost, open the windows to allow ventilation and put your cleaning gloves on. Then, in a bucket mix the following:
- 1/4 cup white vinegar to one gallon of warm water
- 2 to 4 tablespoons ammonia (depending on how much of a deep clean you need to do) to one gallon of warm water. You can also check the product label.
You are not going to be damp-mopping, as you would with a regular weekly cleaning. You want the solution to sit on the floor. How long depends on the severity of the stain or issue. Start with just a few minutes.
After sufficient time has passed, mop up any excess liquid from the floor and fill the bucket with plain water. Mop the floor to remove any leftover residue, then pat dry.
It is always recommended to use minimal amounts of water when cleaning floors. Remember to always dry completely.
No-Wax Floor Maintenance and Upkeep
Now that you know the proper techniques for cleaning your no-wax floors, you probably want to know how to keep them clean.
This should be a no-brainer: you must sweep, vacuum and / or damp mop your no-wax floors at least once a week.
Pick your preferred method, and stick to it, as dirt and debris will damage the floor (making small pits and scratches in the surface) that can, over time, destroy the shine.
Next, remember to attend to spills as soon as possible. Dry or liquid spills on no-wax surfaces have the potential to damage your floors, so always be on the lookout if you want your floors to continue to stay shiny.
Regular cleaning and care can do an enormous amount of good; however, here are a few extra tips that will protect your no-wax floors for years to come:
Tip #1: Use a doormat to reduce the amount of dirt and debris tracked into your house and place carpets and rugs in highly trafficked areas. It is not recommended to use rubber-backed or latex-backed mats as they may stain or damage the surface.
Tip #2: Place floor guides underneath your furniture to prevent any unnecessary scratching.
Tip #3: High-heeled shoes have been shown to place an extreme amount of pressure on flooring. If you want to prevent any dents, take your shoes off at the door.
Tip #4: Keep dog and cat nails neatly trimmed.
Now that you know all of my secrets, you can impress your friends and family with your knowledge of no-wax floors and how to properly care for them.