Home » Best way to Deep Clean Finished Hardwood Floors: Guide

Best way to Deep Clean Finished Hardwood Floors: Guide

Proper cleaning adds more life to your wood floor besides making it more beautiful all time. We also need a clean environment for a healthy leaving. Deep cleaning your home is a simple way of dealing with allergens, germs and bacteria that can cause harm to human and pet. In this guide, learn on how to deep clean hardwood floors effectively.

The floor is the most exposed section of our homes and is a place where almost all indoor activities take place. Think about the daily traffic from both humans and pets, inevitable spills, wear and tear and other mishaps all taking place on your floor. Protecting your floor is also key for durability and ease of maintenance.

Cleaning a hardwood floor properly is not a walk in the park. There are many things you need to deal with such as the best technique to employ and the type of product to use. Even though hardwood floor is known to be the strongest, it is the most delicate when you don’t take good care of it.

When a floor is too dirty or scratched, you will spend a lot of time and energy to clean it. But you can always prevent that from happening. Here are few tips to make your floor remain clean and clear for long:

  • Put a mat on both inside and outside of any exterior door. This is a way of preventing debris such as stones and soil from getting on the floor.
  • Remove your shoes or heels to prevent cracks, dent and marks on your floor.
  • Areas with high traffic such as where kids play should be covered with rags.
  • Use floor protectors on furniture to avoid scratching and do not drag them while moving them around. Lift them off the floor while repositioning them.
  • Wipe off spills immediately to avoid black stains that are always hard to remove.
  • Protect the floor from any spill of water or oil which easily ruin the boards
  • Always use recommended products on your floor and strictly follow the instructions.
  • Safety is important, use products that are safe on human and pets.

How to Deep Clean Sealed Hardwood Floor Properly

Regular floor cleaning is highly recommended as a way of preventing build-up of dirt and grime. This will help in conserving your wood floor as well as giving you easy future cleaning time. Depending on the amount of traffic, schedule a cleaning routine for dealing with dust, debris, pet hair and any other dirt that is recurrent.

When dirt accumulates, it not only become difficult to clean but also become a threat to floor itself. Accumulated dirt and grime can act on your wood finish and deplete it and no sooner you realize, the wood has already been affected. The polyurethane seal only protects the wood against water or oil for a shorter time. Walking on debris such as sand or small hard particles causes dents and scuff marks.

Water or oil based spillage are the worst scenarios to happen to your floor. While water can seep through wood seams or minor openings to reach the wood, oil can react with the seal and penetrate the wood. The end results are detrimental and the only thing you may end up doing is to replace your damaged hardwood floor.

When floor boards absorb water, they get wet, swell and warp. Sanding and refinishing can’t be done at this level. All you need to do is replace the wood. On the other hand when oil penetrate the wood and it makes it difficult to conduct future re-coats because the finish will not adhere to the wood anymore.

For proper regular cleaning you can use broom for sweeping or a mop with a microfiber head that easily attract and pick dust and debris. You should also consider vacuuming on a regular basis to suck even the finest dirt such as pet hair because they are too sticky to be swept or be mopped away.

Vacuum is much better than using a traditional broom since it cleans the air around and also pick every debris. Sweeping alone is a way of pushing dirt on the floor and the dust will be all over the house. Always use a vacuum cleaner designed for hardwood floors to avoid scratching your floor. Avoid a traditional vacuum with beater bar that can damage the floor.

A regular cleaning is simple and does not require use of any solution or high tech cleaning method. It is the easiest way of maintaining a hardwood floor. However, to clean and sanitize your home you will also need to schedule a deep cleaning routine to remove dirt and grime buildup. This can be on a biweekly or on a monthly basis. Methods used include mopping, steam cleaning and stain removal.

How to Mop a Hardwood Floors Correctly

You will need a suitable wood floor cleaner and a wood floor mop. A cleaner is a commercial product that contains ingredients that dissolve dirt and grime faster for effective cleaning. A mop is a device with loose thread fiber or sponge on one side and a handle on the other side used for wiping the floor.

A good cleaning product must meet the user expectations. That is, being effective and gentle on the floor. The product must also be safe and can be used with pets around. Example of a good floor cleaner is Bona. Be sure to read the user instructions before use.

On the other hand a good mop should also be versatile and durable. It should either be hand washed or machine washed or both. The head should also be gentle on the floor and be a material that can attract and hold dirt. A good example is a mop with a cloth microfiber head. It must also have a rinsing bucket for easy use.

Mopping Steps

  1. Use a dust mop or vacuum to remove dust, pet hair and small debris. Moping without removing them can cause your floor to scratch or dissolve to form mud on the floor.
  2. Saturate your mop with a cleaner and wring out the excess solution so that it does not damage the wood.
  3. Mop the floor along the wood grain as you put more pressure in areas with sticky grime.
  4. Rinse your mop with clean water and wring out the excess and damp mop the floor to remove the cleaner.
  5. If there is any excess water standing on the floor, dry out using a dry towel.

Some types of cleaners are used directly by spraying them on the floor, mopped and let them dry without rinsing.

You can also make your own natural cleaning solution using vinegar and the results will be awesome. This will not only save you money but also safely way to clean your floor. Mix ½ cup of vinegar with a gallon of lukewarm water. Dip a mop in the solution and wring out the excess solution then mop your floor. Damp mop to remove the vinegar. Use a dry towel to completely dry your floor.

Before using a DIY solution like vinegar always test on a small hidden area. Do not use it if it dulls the finish of your floor. Most companies discourage use of wax or oil based cleaners and DIY solution. If you go against it the warranty will be deemed null and void.

How to Steam Clean a Hardwood floor

Steam is a great way of deep cleaning and sanitizing your home. It is a natural way of clearing dirt and grime and also killing household germs and bacteria. Steam is purely natural water heated to higher temperatures. Therefore no harsh chemicals to worry about.

Some wood floor manufacturers discourage the use of this method since they are concerned about the effect of steam on wood. Steam has a high potential of penetrating the wood through any small opening on the finish or through seams. Steam cleaning is perfect if carried out professionally using the steam mop cleaners designed for hardwood floors.

The secret is to use dry steam so that no excess water is left standing on the floor. To prevent the heat generated from reaching the surface directly, use a thick microfiber cloth over the rectangular tool that comes with your steam cleaner. Here are the steps to use:

  1. Begin by vacuuming or dusting the floor using a mop. This helps in removing dust and debris that can scratch your floor in the process of cleaning.
  2. Assemble your steam cleaner machine by ensuring that the microfiber cloth is well fitted on rectangular floor tool. The microfiber cloth helps in insulating the steam and wiping excess moisture as the high steam temperature sanitizes and attract dirt.
  3. Set your steam cleaner at a low or medium level of steam pressure for faster drying. High moisture pressure will cause a film of water on your floor hence a possibility of damaging.
  4. Slowly pass the machine on floor so that dirt and grime can be cleared as the germs and bacterial are also killed.
  5. When the cloth is saturated or look soiled, throw it in washing machine or replace it.

You should consider using distilled water in your steamer. Tap water may contain mineral elements that may not be friendly to your floor. You may end up with a dull or cloudy looking floor.

Steam cleaning is faster and gives you a sparkling clean floor within few minutes. Steam is highly effective in removing tough dirt and grime naturally. It is unfortunate that steam or mopping will not remove scratches, stains and dark marks on hardwood floor. Therefore you need to figure out on what to do next. But if your floor has no any mark or scratches then you should maintain the spirit of protecting it.

How to Remove Stains (Black Marks) and Scratches on Hardwood Floor

Most wood floors have stains, marks and spots. They are mainly caused by pet urine, wear and tear, reckless or accidental spills. Such stains and marks are not easy to remove since any method used can damage the finish of your wood floor. Sanding and refinishing may be part of the process of removing stains and dark marks from wood floor.

To remove dark spots, water stains and pet urine, use NO.000 steel wood or fine grit sandpaper to rub the spot. If the stain is still intact, apply vinegar and allow it to soak into the wood for 1 hour. Rinse with a damp towel. Refinish the spots if the seal was removed during the rubbing.

Oil based stains can be removed easily a glass cleaner such as Windex. Apply the solution on a microfiber cloth and rub the area. Use a damp cloth to remove the solution. If the process did not work, repeat the procedure. Windex is toxic and should be used carefully away from pets and children.

You can also use 3% hydrogen peroxide to remove tough stains. Soak a piece of cloth in peroxide and cover the spot overnight. Use a damp cloth to remove the solution and dry the area. Hydrogen peroxide may bleach the spot, therefore prepare to sand and refinish the seal.


Good care after deep cleaning a hardwood floor makes it remain beautiful and last long. Do not leave dirt and grime to build-up on the surface as that will give you tough times of cleaning. Deal with a spillage immediately it happens to avoid stains. Regular cleaning and preventing outdoor debris from getting in will prevent scratching and scuff mark. The good thing is that you can prevent that from happening.

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