Moving into a home with hardwood floors means moving into a home built around natural beauty. Learning the best way to clean wood floors can help their natural beauty last longer. Proper care of your flooring ensures fewer visits from a contractor to repair problems.
That's not an overstatement since how you clean wood floors affects the wood's ability to keep its shine and can influence whether it develops wood rot. Read on to learn how to deep clean wood floors, so you can keep the natural beauty of your home looking great.
Frequency of Deep Cleaning Wood Flooring
To keep your floors looking great, whether you use softwood, hardwood, or laminate wood flooring, you'll need to deep clean them once per month. Deep cleaning too often can result in damage to the flooring as well from the high moisture exposure to the topcoat. Wood flooring requires a little extra work because of its composition. Here's the process you'll need to follow each month.
First, use a soft bristle broom to sweep your floors. This broom type gathers all the dirt, and the bristles work their way into the crevices between the boards. Sweep everything into a dustpan and dispose of it in a trash can in another room.
Pro Tip: Use a Swiffer-type dry dust mop daily to remove surface layer dust.
Vacuum Once Per Week
Use a floor brush attachment with your vacuum cleaner before a deep clean to ensure that the deep clean does its job effectively and minimizes the risk of the flooring being scratched from sliding dirt and debris during scrubbing or vacuuming. Address the moderate to high-traffic areas at least once per week and every other week in low-traffic areas. Avoid using a vacuum cleaner designed with beater brushes since these will damage your wood floors.
Pro Tip: Excessive deep cleaning (because of the use of water and/or liquid cleaners) can be bad for hardwood floors the same way it would be for vinyl floors and can shorten the life of the installation.
Damp Mop with Hardwood Cleaner
In the third step of deep cleaning, you mop. Most people think the mopping part offers the easiest step in cleaning, but you need to follow some specific rules to avoid harming your floor.
Only damp mop wood flooring. Using a wet mop causes wood to become too wet. Wood rots. It needs a dry or damp cleaning process.
Damp vs. Wet Mopping
The difference between a damp mop and a wet mop comes down to how much water remains on the mop. No water drips off when you raise a damp mop a few inches above the floor. If you wring a damp mop, no water drips off. With a wet mop, water would drip onto the floor either way. That's dangerous for flooring since excess water damages it.
If you notice water pooling in any area on the floor as you mop, sop it up quickly. Use a fan to help circulate the air so it dries quicker. If the room features a ceiling fan, use it to aid in drying, too.
Use Cleaner Developed for Wood Floors
Only use a cleaner designed for wood. Choose a cleaner designed for the type of wood flooring in your home – hardwood, softwood, or laminate.
Although some individuals enjoy using all-natural cleaners, avoid some homespun cleaning methods, such as vinegar. Avoid using vinegar because it harms the wood's finish by dulling it.
Pro Tip: Use our From The Forest Wood Floor Cleaner. Most commercially available cleaners have harsh chemicals that strip the wood of its natural luster, but our eco-friendly cleaner is designed specifically to keep your wood and your family safe.
Once the floor dries, examine it thoroughly for stains and dirt collected between the floorboards where the finishing putty eroded. Let's tackle stains first. You might have thought you avoided the potential of stains when you avoided installing carpets, but wood can stain, too.
Removing stains from wood proves relatively easy. Mix warm water and vinegar (one-to-one ratio) and use a soft cloth. The area should be dried immediately after with another cloth to avoid any standing water remaining on the flooring.
Another method that poses an equally low risk to the floor is baking soda and vinegar (following the same application and drying conditions mentioned before).
To remove dirt and grime collected between floorboards, use a putty knife to clean the area. Once you've cleaned it, you can re-putty the area so future dirt doesn't collect there.
Pro Tip: Avoid spot-cleaning wood. Stick to the above-mentioned options so you don't alter the wood's color in one tiny spot, which looks unnatural.
Solving Larger Cleaning Problems
Larger scratches and big stains require more serious measures than even a deep clean provides. Investigate the viability of using touch-up, repair, or scratch patch kits on your floors. Check the manufacturer's website for products made specifically for your floors first.
For homes with natural hardwood flooring that's been there for decades, you may need a professional flooring expert to re-sand your hardwood floors and apply a new finish to them. Sometimes, sanding down a floor and re-staining it offers the only solution to the problem.
Check with the Manufacturer First
If you built your home, you probably chose the materials and have the manufacturer information handy. Consult it for cleaning information and only use products the manufacturer recommends to avoid voiding your warranty. If you recently moved into a home with wood flooring, find the flooring manufacturer from the real estate documentation and follow those instructions.
If, after cleaning, you find that you need to replace some flooring, shop From The Forest for new hardwood floors or laminate or engineered hardwoods. Let us help you restore the beauty of your home.