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The Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

The Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors

I often get asked what the best way is to clean hardwood floors. As a homeowner with hardwood floors throughout my house, keeping them looking their best while avoiding damage is a top priority. After years of research and trial and error, I’ve come up with a simple, effective hardwood floor cleaning routine.

Supplies Needed

  • Microfiber mops – Microfiber mops are perfect for hardwood floors. The microfiber heads attract dust and dirt instead of pushing it around.
  • Dust mop treatment – Spraying your microfiber mop head with a dust mop treatment helps to attract and trap dust.
  • Hardwood floor cleaner – Use a cleaner specifically formulated for hardwood floors. Choose a gentle, pH neutral formula.
  • Mop bucket – Use two buckets for mopping – one for clean water and one for dirty water.
  • Soft cloths – Keep some clean soft cloths on hand for spot cleaning.

Dry Dust Mopping

The first step in my routine is dry dust mopping. I do this once a day in high traffic areas and a couple times a week in the rest of the house. Dry dust mopping removes dust, dirt, pet hair and other debris from the surface of the floors before wet mopping.

Here are the steps I follow:

  • Spray my microfiber mop head lightly with dust mop treatment. This helps attract dust.
  • Use the treated mop to dry mop the floors. I use overlapping strokes to cover the entire floor area.
  • When the mop head begins to pick up less dust, it’s time to rinse and re-treat it. I just rinse the mop head thoroughly in clean water and re-spray it with dust mop treatment.
  • Continue dry mopping until the floors are dust and dirt free. Pay close attention to corners and under furniture.

Dry mopping before wet mopping keeps the water clean so floors get truly clean. It also reduces scratches by removing grit before wet mopping.

Wet Mopping Hardwood Floors

Once my floors have been thoroughly dry dust mopped, I do a wet mop to remove any remaining dirt and grime. Here is my process:

  • Fill one bucket halfway with warm water. Add a small amount of hardwood floor cleaner and stir to mix.
  • Dip the clean microfiber mop head into the water and wring thoroughly so it is just damp.
  • Use the damp mop to clean the floors using overlapping strokes. Work in sections so the mop doesn’t dry out.
  • When the mop head begins to look dirty, use the second bucket to rinse it. Wring it thoroughly again and continue mopping.
  • Change the water completely when it becomes cloudy. Rinse both buckets.
  • Allow floors to dry completely before walking on them.

The key is using very little water so moisture doesn’t damage the wood. Overlap strokes and frequently rinsing the mop also ensures dirt is picked up instead of spread around.

Best Practices

Here are some additional tips for keeping hardwood floors spotless:

  • Sweep or vacuum first to remove loose dirt and debris. This prevents scratches.
  • Use only cleaners made specifically for hardwood floors. Other products can strip the finish.
  • For spot cleaning, spray cleaner onto a soft cloth first rather than directly on the floor.
  • Place mats at entrances to prevent dirt, sand and moisture from being tracked in. Area rugs also help protect floors in high traffic areas.
  • Keep pet nails trimmed to avoid scratches and dents.
  • Avoid excessive water and immediately wipe up spills when they occur.
  • Consider re-coating floors every few years to renew protective finish.

The Results

By following these simple steps of dry mopping first and wet mopping with very little moisture, I’ve been able to keep my hardwood floors looking like new. They maintain their shine and have minimal scratches or damage. While it takes a little time and effort, it’s well worth it for gorgeous, clean floors. With the right supplies and techniques, you can easily keep your hardwood floors spotless too!

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