How To Clean Hardwood Floors

How To Clean Hardwood Floors

How to Clean Hardwood Floors

For people who are curious as to how to clean hardwood floors, certain reminders need to be kept in mind. While cleanliness is the primary objective, it is also necessary to maintain the quality of the floor and ensure that the process used will not be damaging. Cost is also a consideration, and there is usually a compromise when cheaper cleaning agents are used. Here are some tips that may be helpful:

  • When cleaning surface sealed-floors. you should never use oils and waxes. Instead of cleaning the surface, it will result in a slippery floor and may lead to accidents. Using straight ammonia or abrasive cleaners, on the other hand, may end up scratching the finish. Instead, use a floor-cleaning item that is recommended by a professional floor finisher. Often, a professional knows how to clean hardwood floors in the most effective way.
  • Cleaning the floor with soap and water is a more cost effective way of cleaning your hardwood floor. Avoid using water alone, or even a combination of water and vinegar, because it will result in a dull looking surface that will make it accumulate dirt faster.
  • High traffic areas should be cleaned regularly by sweeping it daily and mopping at least once a week. A damp mop is preferred over a soaking one, as water is known to damage wood. Areas that are not often used or visited may be cleaned less often.
  • A commercial cleaner is usually needed to get rid of stains that are caused by food or grease. Cleaning it with water may not get you the results you wish for, and it may be a better option to spend a little on specialty products. For spilled grease, another way is to congeal it by using a frozen item, and then carefully scraping the hardened material from the floor. Wiping it off immediately may cause the grease to spread and may make it more difficult to clean.
  • Scuff marks may be removed by wiping the surface with a damp sponge with baking soda. Another option would be to use a pencil eraser on them.
  • Stains caused by dye may be hard to eliminate, but wiping the floor with a bleach solution may just do the trick. You have to be really careful not to soak an entire area though, or you may make things worse instead of better.
  • Oil spills will also make you wonder how to clean hardwood floors. It may be cleaned using paper towels. Once you are able to soak off as much oil as possible, clean it up with a detergent.
  • A professional’s help may be needed in order to get rid of more difficult stains such as rust or dark spots. This may also be the only option for stains that cover a significant portion of the floor.

Protection and maintenance is very important in order to avoid the need for extensive repairs or costly cleaning bills. To avoid natural damage from the sun, it may be a good idea to have window treatments to filter the sun-rays. Scuffing may be avoided by being extra careful when moving objects around. Furniture legs should be covered with flannel protectors to avoid damage marks and to avoid the problem of how to clean hardwood floors .

A coat of polyurethane finish may give additional protection to wooden floors, although this would give the floor a shiny finish. A regular coat of floor wax is also a good way of protecting the surface from damage and scratches. Finally, floor mats placed in strategic locations such as entry points and exit points will do wonders for the house. Wiping off small particles of sand or dirt may reduce the possibility of tiny scratches that could grow worse over time. Having a floor mat in locations that are prone to water splashes, such as bathroom doors and near kitchen sinks, will also reduce the chances of floor damage due to spills. Use mats that are specially designed for hardwood finishes, and avoid using rubber mats or rugs that are not ventilated.

Your floor may make or break the overall presentation of your house. You may have a big mansion filled with beautiful things, but having a dirty or stained floor will make all of that seem irrelevant. Knowing how to clean hardwood floors and how to maintain its quality is very important, and it will be a reflection of you as a house owner.

How to Clean Hardwood Floors

Determining the Finish

The first step in devising a method for cleaning a hardwood floor is to determine the type of finishing a hardwood floor has got or the kind of material the hardwood floor is sealed with. The most common type of finishing employed in hardwood floors is surface sealing. All they need to be cleaned is a mop and a sweep because these floors are stain resistant and hardly damaged by water. The oil treated hardwood floors need greater care and should be cleaned using wax, in either liquid or paste form. Lacquered and varnished hardwood floors should also be treated with wax. The same goes for untreated floors.

Another important factor that needs to be kept in mind is the condition the finish is in because it is mainly the finish and not the underlying wood that has to be cleaned. If the finish is damaged or worn out, water must not be employed as one of the cleaning agents while cleaning it. On the other hand, if the sealing is in a very good condition, it can safely be treated with water.

Stain Removal From Polished Floors

In order to remove water stains from a waxed hardwood floor, the stained area should be rubbed with No. 2 type steel wool. For more stubborn stains, sand paper should be used to sand the spot. It should then be cleaned using steel wool type No.1 or No. 00 and solutions known as mineral spirits. The refinishing of the floor should follow such a treatment.

In order to eliminate cigarette burns, the hardwood floor should be rubbed with steel wool that has been moistened with adequate amounts of soap and water. Marks left on a hardwood floor by heels and casters should be rubbed with fine type steel wool moistened with a floor cleaner. After wiping it dry, it should be polished once again. Ink spots should be dealt with steel wool type 2 and regular floor cleaners. Scuffmarks should be treated with a damp sponge on which a small quantity of baking soda has been applied. Food stains can be wiped with a piece of damp cloth followed by floor polishing or wax.

Ice should be rubbed against chewing gums and other sticky substances in order to remove them off the hardwood floor. Pouring flour cleaners around them can also loosen such substances. The most effective method of removing alcohol spots is rubbing them either with liquid wax or with paste wax. The best technique employed in removing the stains is to start rubbing from the edges and going towards the spots center in order to keep it from spreading. Care should be taken to remove the mud, liquids and spills immediately before they seep deep into the wood.

Regular Hardwood Floor Cleaning Methods

The equipment used for regular cleaning of hardwood floors is a canister vacuum, which has special attachments for bare floors that help absorb the dust effectively. The second important equipment is a dust mop having a cotton head ranging from 12 inches to 18 inches in length. It is used in conjunction with a treatment designed specially for the dust mob. The treatment is sprayed on the head of the mob, usually about 12 hours to 24 hours before the commencement of mopping.

The fastest and most effective method employed to deep clean hardwood floors is damp mopping. The frequency of damp mopping needed depends on the usage of the floor. Places that are used more often should be mopped once a week. Areas that are not in frequent use should be mopped only once during a month. A wood cleaner having a neutral pH or the products recommended by manufacturers should be used with water for damp mopping. To ensure safe and proper cleaning, the mop should be twisted after wetting it so that it is almost half dry. This is necessary because water can prove harmful for the wood.

Heavy duty mopping employs extra water for cleaning. It is suitable only for properly sealed hardwood floors.

Using Vinegar on Hardwood Floors

The use of vinegar is regarded as one of the best methods for cleaning hardwood floors. The main advantages associated with this technique are its low cost and high degree of effectiveness. White vinegar serves extremely useful for removing grease and eliminating unpleasant odors. Plus it serves beneficial in removing wax deposits, multiple types of stains and mildew.

Usually half a cup of white vinegar is mixed with a gallon of adequately warm water and is used as a floor cleaner. Vinegar can also be employed for cleaning hardwood floors by using manufactured products that contain it as a large part of their ingredients. These products are highly effective in giving a shine to the floors.

Products That Should or Shouldnt Be Used on Hardwood Floors

It is advised to use cleaning products that are recommended by the finishers themselves. If these are too costly or not easily available, plain soap mixed with water can be used instead. The use of strippers for removing wax, chewing gums and other solid deposits is encouraged. Liquid wax and paste wax specially designed for hardwood floors is fit for use. Cleaners with neutral pH should only be used. The use of oils and furniture sprays for cleaning purpose should be avoided.

Strong cleaners like ammonia and alkaline solutions tend to damage or dull the floor finish and hence should not be used. Water should not be used alone for cleaning hardwood floors because it tends to discolor the surface. Besides, water alone does not clean very well either. Use of excess water is strictly prohibited because it can create swellings and cracks in the wood floor. Water based waxes are not recommended because they often tend to produce a white discoloration.

Urethane finished floors should not be treated with any kind of wax and need cleaners that do not leave a residue. Use of oil soaps should be avoided because they give rise to certain problems while putting on a maintenance coat. Vacuum cleaners having beater bars should not be used because they are likely to produce dents on the wood surface.

Related Cleaning Tips

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