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How do you Clean and Shine Old Damaged Hardwood Floor?

Dirt and debris accumulation occurs in the finish of the floor rather than in the wood itself and therefore regular cleaning is the only guarantee for a long lasting floor. Almost all old floors can be salvaged or refurbished through very many ways. Termite-damaged planks, delaminated strips and insect-infested boards can be replaced, holes can be plugged and squeaky floors can be tightened and quieted, at least temporarily, with nails or dry lubricant.

Also, a complete floor refinishing surely needed to be done for the sake of appearance. A finish does more than just making the wood floor beautiful. It also seals and protects the wood’s open pores, which if left exposed, will absorb water, dirt and spills and will be more likely to be scratched and dented.

Moreover, recoating can also be done on old damaged floors. Recoating is addition of a new layer of protection that will adhere to the previous finish. Recoating is easier, safer and faster than refinishing.

Now, how do you gloss up or shine your old damaged hardwood floor without doing all this or refinishing? In this article, find more details on how to clean and shine your floors naturally and maintenance tips that need to be followed in this regard.

Cleaning and Shining of Old Damaged Hardwood Floors Naturally

There are many home owners who have discovered the ease and efficiency of homemade hardwood floor cleaners such as vinegar, olive oil, lavender, baking soda and lemon in cleaning hardwood floors.  These home remedies are just as perfect in cleaning as commercial products and they are also cheaply available.

Another factor that makes these home remedies the best choice in cleaning hardwood floors with any type of finish is that, they lack harmful and highly potent fragrances that are found in many commercial cleaning products. This means that they are safer for environment as well as humans.

Clean with Diluted Vinegar

Vinegar is an acid and therefore when mixed with water, the solution’s acidity is drastically lowered and it becomes an effective cleaner for old damaged floors. The solution of water and vinegar cuts through debris, dirt and grime, leaving a streak-free and a naturally clean floor.

However, before using vinegar to remove dirt from your old damaged floor, ensure that you sweep the floor clean. Now, mix vinegar and warm water, by adding half a cup of white vinegar to half a bucket of warm water and stir thoroughly. You can also add at least 6 drops of essential oil such as lavender or olive oil for a pleasing smell.

Place a mop inside the mixture, then wring out excess water before use. This is very much important because it avoids water on the floor. Now, go over the whole floor with the mop and ensure that all the dirt and debris is being removed. You will also need to change the cleaning mixture (Vinegar, water and few drops of lavender) once it appears dirty.

Lastly, after moping, you will need to check the floor for water pooling. In case there are traces of water left on some areas of the floor, use a clean, absorbent towel to quickly pick up excess water.

Cleaning with Diluted Lemon Juice

Mix warm water, olive oil and lemon juice in a bucket and then stir the whole mixture thoroughly. The main purpose of olive oil is to shine the floor whereas lemon is to remove dirt, grime and debris from the floor.

Dampen a cotton mop in this cleaning solution and then thoroughly wring out the mop so as it does not leave pools of water on the floor. However, instead of a cotton mop, you can use a spray bottle or use a cloth mop, so as to better control the amount of water you use.

After moping the floor, pick up the excess water with a clean towel in order to avoid water from soaking in and damaging the wood. Allow the floor to air dry for a few minutes.

Cleaning with Vinegar and Baking Soda

Mix equal amounts of vinegar and baking soda to form a paste. The paste is usually powerful in removing marks, dark spots such as pet stain without scrubbing the floor. Apply the paste to the stain using a sponge or cloth. Allow the paste to sit for some time till it dries. After drying, wipe it up to clear the stain completely.

Alternatively, you can enhance the shine and color of your old hardwood floor by making a spray of olive oil, 1 cup of vodka and 15 drops of essential oil (Use lemongrass and lemon for scent). Buff with a dry microfiber mop by working in small sections.

Care for old Damaged Hardwood Flooring

A good care and maintenance is the best way of ensuring that your old wood floor does not get damaged. Maintenance involves regular sweeping and moping among other things as discussed below. Consider the following:

Sweeping Your Floor on Daily Basis

Sweeping on daily basis is the best way of maintaining your hardwood floors. Sweeping or mopping removes dirt, dust, pet hair, and debris and other harmful substances that can easily worsen the condition of your old damaged floors.

During the sweeping or mopping process you should use a soft bristle broom, dust-mop or a microfiber mop, also during mopping or sweeping, you need to ensure that you are sweeping or mopping in the direction of the wood grain, so as to prevent dirt and grime from getting stuck in cracks between planks.

Mop the floor using a Hardwood cleaner at least once per Month

During moping it is recommended that you only use cleaners labeled for hardwood floors. You need to avoid ammonia, vinegar or products with harsh chemicals. You will also need to avoid using water-based hardwood floor cleaners.  More importantly, in case your wood floor finish is badly damaged, avoid using a wet mop; always use a mop with a little moisture as possible during cleaning. In this regard, just spray a small amount of hardwood cleaner directly onto the floor, and then wipe the floor down with a dry terry cloth mop.

If you floor riddled with spots, stains, scuff marks or unsightly debris, you will need to remove them with mineral spirit and then mop the area thoroughly.

Wipe Up Spills as Soon as Possible

Spills from ink, coffee, tea, juices, paint, chemicals or met messes can cause unsightly stains on your wood floor. Use a slightly dampen mop to remove these spills immediately. Always ensure that the mop is not over-saturated with water. Excess water on old wood floors can worsen the situation you are trying to control.

Avoid Sanding unless it’s absolutely necessary

In case the wood floor is very old (at least 20 years old), you should avoid sanding it. When you need to clean and shine the floor appearance, sand only if it’s riddled with stains or marks that chemicals such as mineral spirits cannot remove.

Consult an expert with restoration experience

Get an expert with sufficient experience to help restore your old hardwood flooring. The professional expert will be in a position to advice you whether the entire floor requires re-finishing, patching or replacement.


Moisture is the enemy of hardwood flooring, but keeping your floor clean is also a priority. When it comes time to clean and shine your old hardwood floor, you can use home remedies like vinegar, lemon juice, baking Soda, olive oil, and lemongrass. You will only need to use a very damp mop (that has been almost completely rung out). In case you accidentally spill a large amount of water on your floor, quickly soak it up with towels to avoid stains and wood damage.

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