Floors are abused regularly— from the daily traffic it endures to the inevitable spills and pet accidents. Just think about all the dirt, grime, dust and debris that the outside brings and adding pets and kids to the mix creating a whole new level of mess and dirt. Read Here: Best Multi-Surface Vacuum Cleaners – The Ultimate Guide
And a dirty hardwood floor is not simply unhygienic. It can also be damaging to the wood itself, which is quite expensive to repair or worst, replace. Keep your hardwood floors polished, clean and always looking fresh with these smart cleaning methods. Read Here: How Often Should You Change Your Vacuum Bags?
1) Preventive Measures
The best way to clean your hardwood floors starts by following smart preventive measures. This does not only help protect floors but also reduce the time that you spend cleaning your floors.
Place floor mats both inside and outside exterior doors in order to reduce tracked-in dirt. During rainy or snowy weather, make sure to set up a boot removal area in order to avoid damaging the hardwood floor with tracked-in de-icing agents and water.
Adding a small bench to sit down and a place to store shoes, you can also keep a cleaning cloth or rug tucked away next to the shoe organizer in order to clean up puddles. Always remove shoes outside. This is to prevent grime, dirt, and germs from getting inside all over the house. This is especially true for cleats and heels that can scratch hardwood floors.
You can also prevent marks on your wood floors by using floor protectors and placing rugs in play areas, ensuring that your kid’s toys will not scratch the floor.
2) To Vacuum or To Sweep?
To keep your floors clean and maintain its integrity, you will need to do both, vacuum and sweep with a broom.
- Weekly Vacuuming
One of the most popular ways to clean your hardwood floor is to use a vacuum cleaner. And there are a variety of vacuum choices suitable for hard surface flooring.
The vacuum needs to have enough suction to easily suck dirt and dust. Also, it needs to be lightweight with wheels in order to prevent scratches on your floors. Thus, cordless stick, canister vacuums, and upright vacuums are the most popular choices.
When vacuuming, make sure to pass on the same area multiple times and in different directions. This is to ensure that all dirt and dust are removed effectively. You can vacuum your hard floors weekly or biweekly.
- Daily Sweeping
Now, for the days that you would just rather not deal with the vacuum or only need to clean a smaller room, your broom can do wonders or cleaning your hardwood floors.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with using the old-fashioned broom but there are more efficient ones available to sweep your hardwood floor more effectively. Also known as dust mops, microfiber brooms replace the standard bristle head with a microfiber cloth. This can be reusable and machine washable or disposable.
Dust mops are great in attracting and picking up dust, dirt, and hair rather than just pushing it around the floor. Regardless of what you use, daily brooming is a must. And when you do, make sure to sweep your floor a couple of times in order to ensure that all dirt and debris are removed.
3) Mopping Wood Floors
Vacuuming and sweeping your hardwood floor don’t remove all dirt and grime on your floor. Over time, this dirt, grime, and oil accumulate, making them harder for vacuums and brooms to fully remove them.
The best way to remove them? Mopping your floor.
In a bucket of water, add a few drops (or according to the manufacturer’s instruction) of wood floor cleaning products.
If you want to clean your floors naturally, you can also use ingredients from your kitchen and baking soda. Just add half a cup of vinegar and some baking soda to a gallon of water. Take note, however, that vinegar can dull some hardwood flooring finishes so make sure to test the solution first before completely cleaning the entire flooring.
Saturate the mop and wring it almost dry. Mop the floor while being careful to prevent standing water on the floor. Then, rinse with a clean mop. You can wipe the excess liquid since standing water can damage wood surfaces or just place a ceiling fan to speed up drying times.
4) Removing Stains
When trying to remove stains from your hardwood floor, you need to consider the floor’s finish first.
If the stain is just on the surface, your floor probably has a hard finish like urethane. However, if the stain has penetrated through the wood, then your floor might have a soft-oiled finish. For a hard finish, wipe the surface stain with a clean and soft cloth or rag. Don’t use steel wool, sandpaper or any harsh chemicals since it can damage the floor finish permanently.
Now for the hardwood floors with soft-oil finishes, we included some remedies to try. If needed, consider ending each treatment by staining the floor then waxing and buffing the spot in order to match the rest of your flooring.
- Removing Oil-Based Stains
Rub the spot with a soft rag and dish detergent in order to break down the grease. After that, rinse with clear water. In case one or more application didn’t work, you will need to repeat the procedure. Make sure to keep pets and kids out of the room until you are done. Allow to dry and smooth the raised grain with fine sandpaper.
- Removing Pet Stains and Dark Spots
Rub the affected area with floor wax and a No. 000 steel wool. In case the spot is still dark, make sure to apply vinegar or bleach. Allow the liquid to soak into the floor for at least an hour. Then, rinse with a damp cloth.
- Removing White Stains or Water Marks
Similar to removing dark spots and pet stains, use floor wax and a No. 000 steel wool to remove white stains and watermarks. In case the stain goes deeper, sand the floor lightly and clean with odorless mineral spirits and fine steel wool.