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Get The Gleam Back: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

March 3, 2024
Get The Gleam Back: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Why Clean Hardwood Floors Regularly?

Hardwood floors add warmth and beauty to any home. However, they require regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them looking their best. Here are some key reasons why you should make cleaning hardwood floors part of your regular cleaning routine:

  • Removes dirt, dust, and debris: Hardwood floors attract dirt, dust, and debris from indoor and outdoor shoes, pets, kids’ toys, and more. Regular cleaning removes these particles that can scratch and dull the floor’s surface over time.

  • Prevents buildup of grime: Spills, sticky messes from food and drinks can lead to buildup of grime on hardwood floors. Cleaning prevents layers of grime that is much harder to remove later.

  • Makes floors shine: A good cleaning restores the shine and luster of hardwood floors. It brings back that just-installed gleam and makes the wood grain pop.

  • Extends floor’s life: Dirt is abrasive and can damage hardwood’s protective finish over time. Frequent cleaning protects the finish and extends the floor’s life significantly.

  • Improves indoor air quality: Sweeping and mopping hardwood floors regularly traps allergens like dust, dander, and pollen instead of circulating in the air you breathe.

  • Adds to home hygiene: Clean floors minimize chances of bacteria growth and ensure a more hygienic home, especially important if you have kids or pets.

Tips for Effective Hardwood Floor Cleaning

Follow these tips and techniques for a sparkling clean hardwood floor:

1. Vacuum or Sweep First

  • Use a soft bristle broom or vacuum with hardwood floor attachment. Sweep or vacuum the entire floor to pick up surface-level dirt, dust, and debris.

  • Pay attention to corners and under furniture to remove all loose particles.

  • Avoid vacuum beater bars which can scratch hardwood finish. Turn off or disengage the beater bar while vacuuming floors.

2. Mix Floor Cleaner Solution

  • For regular mopping, use a pH-neutral hardwood floor cleaner. Mix as per instructions.

  • Or make a DIY solution of 1 cup vinegar in 1 gallon warm water. Vinegar helps cut grease and grime.

  • For an extra shiny floor, add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil or almond oil to the solution. The oils condition wood and enhance the gloss.

3. Damp Mop the Floor

  • Dip a sponge or soft microfiber mop head in the solution and wring tightly to damp mop the floor.

  • Work in sections and rinse mop in bucket after each section to prevent redepositing dirt.

  • Go with wood grain – mop lengthwise along planks to avoid streaks.

  • Let floor air dry completely before walking over it.

4. Deep Clean Every Few Months

  • For a deep clean every 2-3 months, use a hardwood floor cleaner concentrate. Mix as directed for extra cleaning power.

  • Use a hardwood floor steam mop on deeper built up grime or stains. The steam loosens up the dirt for easy removal.

  • For old wax buildup, use mineral spirits applied lightly with a soft cloth in the direction of wood grain.

What to Avoid When Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Some common mistakes can lead to damaging your hardwood floors when cleaning:

  • Don’t use a wet mop or flood floor with water. Too much moisture can warp wood.

  • Skip the vinegar for finished hardwood. Acidic vinegar can dull or etch factory-applied finishes.

  • No abrasive cleaners, scouring pads, or stiff brushes which can scratch.

  • Do not use wax or oil soaps as they leave buildup over time.

  • Steam mops are great but too hot or long contact can damage the finish.

  • Avoid bleach or ammonia-based cleaners as they may discolor wood.

Maintaining That Clean Hardwood Gleam

  • Door mats inside and outside help trap dirt and moisture.

  • Install felt pads under furniture legs to prevent scratches when moving.

  • Keep pet nails trimmed to avoid deep gouges from scratches.

  • Reapply hardwood floor finish according to manufacturer’s recommendation to protect the wood.

  • Consider getting professional hardwood floor cleaning and refinishing every few years.

Regular cleaning and following these care tips will keep your hardwood floors shining beautifully for years. A little effort goes a long way in maintaining the gleaming investment of hardwood floors.

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