Have Hardwood? Not so ‘Hard’ to Clean

While you’re preparing for goblins, ghouls, and gourds to come a-knocking on your door politely asking for demanding candy at the end of this month, there is another part of your home that should be equally prepared: the floors. Sure, you may not plan to invite those trick-or-treaters in, but when your own youngsters get home, they’ll be crashing inside from the exciting sugar high. Having beautiful floors installed in your home are no good if the floors can’t continue to be beautiful.

Though you’d probably prefer to be the one going door-to-door asking for candy, don’t think of cleaning floors as a chore. Continuing our latest blog installments from last month, for the next entry in this floor-cleaning extravaganza, we’ve rounded up do’s and don’ts when going to clean a wood floor, specifically a solid hardwood floor.

1. Know the finish. Solid hardwood floors are sealed in different ways, or are not sealed at all. Consequently, that means a sealed versus an unsealed hardwood floor requires different cleaning methods. For the full list of sealant types and more wood floor cleaning insight, click here.

2. Whatever you do, don’t use ammonia-based cleaners on solid hardwood. The long list of cleaners you shouldn’t use to clean wood floors (of any kind) also includes wax-based cleaners, bleach, oils/oil-based cleaners, furniture spray, abrasive soaps, or acidic cleaners (vinegar). Each one of these off-limits cleaners has a different effect on wood floors. Making the finish look dull, scratching the floor’s surface, a slippery residue — these are all the adverse effects these cleaners can have on solid hardwood floors. So it’s best to avoid them at all costs.

3. Do know that you can vacuum solid hardwood. Sure, vacuums can be cumbersome and noisy when they aren’t running over insulated carpeting, but, vacuuming wood floors gets rid of any surface dirt, grime, or debris (much like mud your trick-or-treaters could track inside). Double check that your vacuum is set to the hardwood flooring setting for optimum cleaning. But if vacuuming isn’t an ideal option for you, dry mopping the floor gets rid of these elements as well.

4. You can mop, but be sure to only use a damp mop. Hardwood floors can trap in excess moisture (which is why it’s important to clean up any spills right away), even when cleaning with water. To keep your solid hardwood flooring in its best shape, a mop only needs to be damp for proper cleaning. This includes both when using a cleaning solution and when rinsing with water. NOTE: When mopping, mop following the direction of the wood grain — don’t go against the grain in this instance. For waxed wood floors, mopping is not recommended.

However, one of the best floor cleaning methods to keep solid hardwood floors at their pinnacle of pristine is to sweep. Sweeping often — at least once a week — not only gets you into a routine of maintaining your hardwood floors on a regular basis, but sweeping allows you to get rid of dirt and grime before any particles can collect on the surface.

Was there a hardwood floor cleaning method that we missed? Do you have some home remedies for wood floors? Let us know how you keep solid hardwood looking brand new in the comments below!


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