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17 Tips On How To Clean Hardwood Floors

  • Zak 
cleaning hardwood floors

Would you believe that hardwood floors are still trendy among homeowners even in this day and age? They’re plush, warm, resilient, and easy to clean if you know how to. That’s what I want to focus on in this article because the manner in which you tend and maintain floors can drastically affect their lifespan. I’ve done the research and work to find the best tips on how to clean hardwood floors.

Each type of flooring has its own unique attributes along with its own specifications on how to clean them.

To avoid discoloration, warping, scratching, stains, or scuff marks, it is instrumental that you implement an effective cleaning routine for your floors. If you follow these tips, you should be able to preserve the appearance and quality of your hardwood floors for many years. Also, a good cleaning regimen will slow down the rate at which you need to clean your floors.

So, with that being said, let’s get straight into these tips on how to clean hardwood floors.

The Best Hardwood Floor Cleaning Tips

tips on cleaning hardwood floors

1. Sweep floors daily

It is recommended to sweep your floors every morning for a few minutes. Doing this will remove most surface-level dust and dirt from your floors before they get stuck into crevices and grooves. It’s easier to reduce the number of times you need to mop floors if you are regularly removing dirt and dust. But, what’s important is that you use a soft bristle broom that will not scratch or etch the hardwood floors given that most of them have been treated with a top coat for shine and protection. Because it’s a lot harder for dust and dirt to get trapped on the smooth surface of hardwood floors, there’s no reason to use a stiff or hard bristle broom or brush to sweep.

2. Avoid abrasive tools

You may be tempted to use steel wool, hard bristle brushes, and strong cleaners to properly disinfect and clean floors but they are high risk. At best, you’ll end up stripping away some of the sealant or finish from the floors. At worst, you’ll end up scratching and damaging the surface. 

3. Use a damp mop

The one issue with most hardwood floors is that they are water-resistant but not waterproof. What this means is that they can be exposed to some water but only for a short amount of time before they need to be dried. If hardwood floors remain wet for too long, damage will occur. The top coat or sealant used on hardwood floors is not strong enough to prevent damage from water exposure. As such, I’ve noticed that it’s best to use a mop that is damp rather than soaking wet. While mopping, make it a habit to wring out the mop head frequently and use a wood cleaner to adequately disinfect and clean your floors.

4. Vacuum weekly

As much as sweeping is an effective way to remove dirt and dust from hardwood floors, there are crevices, corners, and nooks that can trap dust. This is especially true if certain parts of your hardwood floors have shifted due to heat and cold. 

5. Don’t use harsh cleaning products

Unlike ceramic tiles or plastic vinyl, hardwood floors are more prone to chemical damage or discoloration. It is frowned upon to use cleaning agents with high concentrations of abrasive and harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia. Instead, opt for a gentle wood cleaner that is mostly water-based and has a good pH balance. 

6. Remove scuff marks appropriately

Don’t be too harsh or rough when trying to remove scuff marks. What you want to use is a soft cloth or a magic eraser to delicately remove scuff marks. It may take you slightly longer to work these marks off but you can definitely buff them away gently.

7. Place doormats or rugs at entrances

If this were an article about preventing a home from being too dusty, I would be talking about how carpets, rugs, and doormats trap dirt and dust. But, the same flaw or problem with them can actually be helpful if used correctly. By placing doormats or rugs at entrances, people can wipe their shoes before entering your home or a room. This should trap some of the dirt, dust, or debris under their shoes which will keep your hardwood floors cleaner for longer. 

8. Use indoor shoes

Call me weird but I feel gross about using shoes that I’ve worn outdoors inside my home. We walk on floors and places that could be exposed to all sorts of liquids, stains, pathogens, and dirt. Even using urinals or bathrooms while you’re out will expose your shoes to all sorts of nasty surfaces to walk on. For this reason, it’s much better to have sandals or indoor shoes to slip into when you re-enter your home to protect the floors.

9. Blot and wipe up stains immediately

Due to the fact that wood is a natural form of flooring, its structure is known to be porous. This means that it has space to absorb liquid or moisture causing it to warm, buckle, discolor, or stain. When liquid spills onto hardwood floors, don’t prolong or procrastinate with cleaning it up. Blot and wipe up those liquid spills immediately. If something has dried, immediately apply a paste using a wood cleaner and water to break down the stain and then wipe it clean.

10. Don’t use steam cleaners

As far as possible, avoid the use of steam cleaners on your hardwood floors because the pressure and steam may be too intense and cause damage to the finish of the floor.

11. Use furniture pads

As I’ve mentioned above, shard edges with a force or weight associated with them can damage hardwood floors. This is definitely going to be a problem with furniture since they are heavy and have solid legs with sharp edges. To prevent them from damaging your floors, especially when they are being moved around, fit pads onto the legs or glide underneath them as a protective layer.

12. Minimize direct sunlight exposure

There’s nothing wrong with sunlight in a home. In fact, it contributes to a healthy and warm environment. But, too much of a good thing can sometimes cause a negative side effect. Hardwood floors have the propensity to discolor and fade when exposed to excessive sunlight, especially during summer. I know that this isn’t really a direct tip on cleaning hardwood floors but if you want to avoid having to wash and refinish them, it’s best to install some blinds, shutters, or curtains to windows as a means of controlling the amount of sunlight entering your home.

13. Avoid wearing high heels indoors

Hardwood floors may be resilient and strong but the surface is actually prone to scratches, chips, and dents when sharp objects or surfaces presses against the floor with a certain amount of force or weight. High heels are an overlooked reason why wood floors suffer such blemishes and damage. It’s advisable to remove these shoes when you’re walking indoors.

14. Dust frequently

People who have an issue with their sinuses or respiratory system should get in the habit of removing dust and fine particles from their homes. Obviously, it’s impossible to completely eliminate them but you can reduce them by dusting the floors frequently and using an air purifier to capture dust particles from the air before they fall onto the floors.

15. Dry the floors thoroughly

Due to the fact that wood floors are not waterproof, you need to make certain that they are properly dried after mopping or spills, particularly during cold days when the temperature isn’t warm enough to promote drying. Invest in an oscillating floor fan or heater to dry up floors and remove moisture from the wood. This should prevent your floors from rotting or being infested by mold and mildew.

16. Control humidity levels.

While we’re on the topic of protecting hardwood floors, I should draw your attention to the risk of buckling, shifting, and warping that can occur due to expansion and contraction caused by excessive humidity and moisture in your home. If your wood panels or floors were to experience this issue, it will make it significantly harder to clean them and maintain them. For that reason, I think it’s important that you measure the humidity levels in your home and invest in a dehumidifier when necessary. Alternatively, optimize your HVAC system and regulate the temperature at an optimum level throughout the day and night.

17. Refinish the floors

Most wood floors have a top coat or protective sealant that prevents discoloration, damage, and fading. If you want your floors to look good and be more resistant to stains and issues, it may be a good idea to refinish the floors if it’s been a decade or more since they were installed. Once refinished, you’ll notice that it’s a lot easier to clean and shine wood floors.

Final Thoughts

I’m honestly so glad that you took the time to read this article all the way to the end. Hardwood floors require special care and extra love to withstand the toll of time and high foot traffic but it’s worth the effort.

They look better with age and have a positive impact on the market value of your property if maintained correctly.

If you follow these tips on how to clean hardwood floors, I’m more than certain that you’ll be able to maintain pristine and beautiful wood floors for years to come.

Be that as it may, if you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about wood floors, be sure to check out some of the links that I have selected for you below.

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