How To Get Buildup Off Hardwood Floors

There is nothing worse than spending a whole day cleaning only to see that after all your hard work your hardwood floors still look dirty. This type of flooring can get dull or cloudy really easily, and it can be difficult to fix once this happens to your floors.

How To Get Buildup Off Hardwood Floors

But there is a way to bring back the shine to your hardwood flooring. Read on to find out how.

How To Remove Buildup From Hardwood Floors

Most buildup is usually caused by the wrong cleaners being used on the floors. This can make your hardwood floors appear cloudy and dull. There are a few options you can try to get rid of this effect on your floor.

Ammonia Solution

For an easy way to dissolve buildup on the floor, make a solution of 1 cup of ammonia per 1 gallon of water. This will easily cut through the grime and leave your floors looking new.

Make sure when you made this solution that you don’t overdo it with ammonia, as a lot of exposure to this can cause irritation to your eyes, nose, and throat.

Also, this is a cleaning technique that should only be used very rarely, and only when it’s absolutely needed. This is because excess water can be damaging to hardwood flooring.

Ammonia Free Glass Cleaner

For this cleaning method, you will need ammonia-free glass cleaner, a non-scratch scrubber, and some microfiber cloths.

Instead of cleaning your floor all in one go, for this method to work it’s best to clean it in small sections, each one being around 2 sq. ft. in size. Start by spraying the glass cleaner liberally over the area, and let it sit for at least a minute. This gives the cleaner time to eat through the tough layer of buildup.

Next, use the gentle scrubber to clean the area. The scrubber will be able to cut through the buildup that has been loosened and dissolved by the glass cleaner.

Once you have finished scrubbing, wipe the area with the microfiber cloth straight away. This will remove the dirt and the glass cleaner from the floor. Then you can move on to another section of your floor.

Use A Cleaner That Is Designed For Hardwood Floors

With so many floor cleaners on the market, buying the wrong one for your hardwood floors is very possible, but this can cause more harm than good to your flooring. Make sure that you buy one that’s made specifically for hardwood floors to give them a spotless shine without causing any damage.

cleaning wooden floor

Remove The Finish

This is an extreme cleaning method that should only be used if you have tried the ammonia solution, and you have changed the cleaning product you use on your floors to see if that makes a difference to the finish.

With this approach, you will have to sand down and refinish the floor to get it looking back to normal.

While this is a lot of effort, it does give you the opportunity to finish your flooring with a different varnish if you want to change the look of your floor.

What Can Cause Buildup On Hardwood Floors?

Many things can cause buildup on your floors. By identifying what is causing this buildup and cloudiness you will be able to find the right solution faster without wasting time with trial and error. If surface damage is your problem, then take a look at our article on how to get surface scratches out of hardwood.

Here are the most common ways you will get buildup on your floors:

Using The Wrong Cleaners

This is the most common reason why hardwood floors end up looking cloudy or grimy. With so many floor cleaners on the market, it can be very easy to use the wrong one for your type of floor.

To keep your floors clean, avoid products like furniture polish, oil soaps, and paste wax, as these are known for leaving a sticky and cloudy build-up on the floor.

You may have heard that vinegar is a good product to use when cleaning your floors, but unfortunately, this is not the case. Vinegar can leave marks on your wood that won’t come out no matter how much you polish it, and it can also eat away at the wood itself.

When you’re cleaning your hardwood floors, you’re not actually cleaning the wood but rather the protective finish layer on the top of the floor. As vinegar is acidic, it can slowly break down this finish, leaving your floor looking dull over time.

Cleaner Buildup

Always remember that less is more when it comes to cleaning your floors, as using too much can cause hazy floors. All you need is a small amount of cleaning solution on a microfiber mop is all you need to clean your floors well.

Too Much Moisture

While you will need to use water in the cleaning flooring, too much can cause damage to the floors and change how it looks. To stop yourself from using too much water, avoid using a sponge or string mop as these can spread too much water on the floor.

Wax Buildup

If you have a polyurethane finished flooring in your home, then do not wax it. This type of floor does not need to be waxed, and wax will react negatively with the finished used on the floor, creating a cloudy look. This is nearly impossible to reverse once done, so don’t be tempted to do this to your floors.

The Finish Has Been Applied Wrong

While you may think that adding the finish is the easiest part of installing or changing the look of hardwood flooring if done wrong it can create a cloudy look on the floors, or the floors will always look like they have buildup on them.

Make sure that that you do not apply a finish over a layer of stain, and that you let the previous coats of finish dry before adding another. If they have not dried properly then solvent vapors can become trapped in the flooring, which creates a cloudy look.