Whether it’s kitchens and dining rooms, or elegant bedrooms, hardwood flooring can add style and beauty to almost any home. There are dozens of types of wood flooring to choose from, which can make it difficult to know exactly the best ways to keep each type clean. Whether you have a gorgeous dark cherry wood floor, a light, harder oak floor, or one of the many other types, there are several important tips to keep in mind when cleaning your floors.
Why Should Hardwood Floors Be Regularly Cleaned?
From daily traffic to scuffs and spills, your hardwood floors can take a lot of damage. Depending on the type of wood it is made of, the appearance will change over time if not maintained. Hardwood flooring will get dirty, dingy, and will likely begin to fade. There are several benefits of regularly cleaning your hardwood flooring. When dirt, dust, grease, and other contaminants are removed on a regular basis it not only keeps the floor looking newer but can prevent permanent damage. Consistent cleaning that is done correctly can extend the life of almost any type of hardwood floor. The following is a list of do’s and don’ts for taking care of your hardwood floors.
How To Clean Hardwood Floors
- Follow the Floor Finishers Instructions – If the manufacturer or floor finishing company recommends a specific type of cleaning method, you should follow their instructions.
- Use a Microfiber Mop – If you don’t have any specific instructions to follow, a microfiber mop is a great choice for daily cleaning. Use a soft microfiber dust mop to keep debris off your hardwood floors. Use just enough water to keep the mop damp.
- Use a Homemade Cleaner – Sometimes the best method for cleaning a hardwood floor is a simple vinegar and water mixture or homemade lemon solution. Vinegar is strong enough to remove most stains and odors while still gentle enough that it won’t damage the wood. Vinegar is both organic and biodegradable. You’ll want to mix approximately one gallon of water with one cup, or less, of white vinegar. Hardwood floors can be cleaned with a solution that has a very light amount of vinegar in it or a mild cleaner with a neutral pH.
- Know What Kind of Wood You Have – While there are general tips for cleaning that apply to most types of hardwood, it’s important to remember that certain types of wood are very hard while others are softer. Knowing which kind you have will determine which specific cleaning methods are best. Oak, Maple, and Ash are considered harder types of wood flooring. Pine, Walnut, and Cherry are normally considered a bit softer. Cherry can scratch easily, requiring a very gentle cleaning method.
- Determine the Finish of Your Floor – It’s important to know what kind of finish, if any, your floor has before cleaning it. Many new hardwood floors are sealed with polyacrylic, polyurethane, or urethane. These are normally the easiest to clean since they are water and stain resistant. These types can be cleaned with a damp mop, using just a little water. Those with a shellacked or lacquered finish can be cleaned with a paste or liquid type of wax.
- Maintain Proper Humidity – It’s important to maintain the humidity level in a home with hardwood flooring. It’s recommended to keep humidity between approximately 30 to 50 percent. Too little or too much can cause the flooring to warp. Lack of sufficient humidity can also cause wood floors to crack.
How NOT To Clean Hardwood Floors
- Don’t Use Harsh Cleaners – Since some types of wood floors are softer than others, using the wrong cleaning method may potentially damage the surface. Almost any type of harsh cleaner, including ammonia, can easily dull or even damage the surface.
- Don’t Steam Clean – Steam cleaning a hardwood floor can potentially dull the finish. A steam mop can push excessive water into the floor which can cause the surface of the wood to bubble. It may also cause delamination, which is the process of wood layers separating.
- Don’t Use Oils or Furniture Spray – Oils can leave a thick residue that may accumulate over time. Furniture spray can leave a hardwood floor extremely slippery and dangerous.
- Don’t Use an Excessive Amount of Water – Even the gentlest method has the potential to cause damage if you’re using an excessive amount of water. It’s always best to use a damp cloth or mop, no matter what type of liquid you’re using.
- Don’t Vacuum Using the Bar Beater – This is basically a fluffing mechanism on your vacuum that is used to fluff up matted carpeting. The only safe way to use a vacuum cleaner on hardwood floors is if there is a setting specifically for wood flooring.
Why Do You Need A Professional Cleaning Service?
When it comes to keeping your hardwood floors looking good, it’s best to use a professional cleaning service. It’s also important to occasionally refinish your hardwood floor. You’ll want to hire a professional to make sure to get the job done right. A hardwood floor will stay protected and last longer if regularly cleaned by a professional cleaning service. A professional will know what types of cleaners and equipment will work best on each type of flooring to enhance its natural beauty while keeping it strong and protected. Properly cleaning a hardwood floor can also be time-consuming. Hiring a professional service is a great way to keep hardwood floors looking their best.