Hardwood floors are an aesthetic symbol in modern homes. It’s easy to see why; they’re classy and stylish in a minimalist way, they’re durable and can last for decades with proper care, and cleaning them has never been simpler with their contemporary finishes.
Usually, all you need is a quick mop sweep every day or two or a vacuum once over every week to maintain your floor. However, considering how much the floor has to withstand, it all builds up and requires a thorough or ‘deep’ clean every once in a while to prolong its lifetime.
Aside from cleaning up a spill immediately, you’ll need to develop a routine for regular maintenance. Refer to the schedule below for guidance on the best times to do different cleans. As always, remember to check back here on WoodFloorsCleaner.com for ways to clean your floors.
Every 1-2 Days
Sweep the floor with a dry mop or dust it with a broom. Make sure you go over high traffic spots well enough. Try not to use a wet or steamy mop, as those can damage the wood and its finish, which will accumulate over time.
The best option for a broom comes with spit tips, which have thin hairs to pick up debris stuck between the floor planks. For mops, look for one with a microfiber head, as they’re designed to collect larger debris, such as hair and grime, and they’re quite convenient since they suck up the dirt instead of pushing it around.
Make sure you have a vacuum cleaner designed to work on hard surfaces. A lightweight stick is recommended, as those are made to be convenient for quick and effective cleans rather than deep cleans, but any stick will be fine as long as they’re made for hard surfaces.
As for the vacuum’s head, you want to avoid using a beater bar—the spinning cylindrical bar commonly used to clean carpets—as it’ll most likely scratch hardwood floors. Canister-style vacuum cleaners are recommended; they’re robust with good suction and are perfect for bare floors.
If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner apt for your floor, you can use a mop with a microfiber head. Fill a spray bottle with water and spray the floor very lightly so that the water collects debris, then sweep it up with the mop right away before any water sets in on the floor.
Every 1-2 Months (Deep Clean)
When we say deep clean, we mean attacking the dirt that’s been building up over the months. Like we said, cleaning hardwood has never been easier, but you still must ensure that you’re using the right techniques to avoid any damage to your floor.
What to Avoid:
Some products are outright bad for hardwood floors, such as harsh or abrasive chemicals. Here are the common things you should avoid:
- Vinegar and lemon juice: Since they’re acidic, they cause corrosion to wood. Over time, make hardwood lose its luster and look gloomy.
- Ammonia and alkaline products: They’re harsh on the floor and can discolor it or harm its finish.
- Oils and oil soaps: Oil can make the wood shine temporarily, but it also over-moisturizes the wood, can leave a residue that dulls the floor and can have a pungent smell that can last for days.
- Furniture sprays and waxes: Furniture sprays aren’t made for wood and will make it too slippery. Many waxes contain chemicals that are harmful to hardwood floors.
- Water (except in tiny amounts) or steam: Wood is porous, meaning it absorbs moisture, leading to warping (tenderness and shrinkage).
The Deep Cleaning Process
Dusting It up
You start by using a vacuum cleaner or mop and going over the floor once (or twice for high traffic areas) to eliminate any loose debris. You can do this drily or by spraying a small amount of water (with or without soap) and mopping it immediately. Let the floor dry afterward if you used water.
Tip: Make sure you pick the right soap for the floor, such as dish soap.
You can also use a towel or rag with water. Soak the cloth in water, then squeeze it out entirely so that your fabric is slightly damp. Use it directly or attach it to a stick and go over the floor. We recommend re-rinsing it frequently to clean it from the dust, which might be time-consuming, but it works well.
Mopping With the Right Product
For this step, you want to identify your floor’s finish type so you can use the right product. Luckily, there are only two types of finishes—penetrating and surface—and you can quickly identify your floor with a quick water test.
Pour a few drops of water on your floor and observe: if the wood soaks up the water quickly, it’s a brilliant finish, but if the water rests, it’s a surface finish.
Next, get a cleaning product for your hardwood finish. These products will help you in the long run, and they’re made specifically for hardwood, so they don’t cause damage.
Finally, spray the product (without water) on the floor and mop it up, going over your house one area at a time. It’s best to mop in one direction as it’s a good countermeasure for swelling in wood.
Tip: Remember to remove furniture and carpets as these tend to collect vast amounts of dirt and dust under them. Usually, you’d only move lighter pieces of furniture for cleaning, but we recommend moving the larger ones for this once-in-a-while sweep.
A clean home equals comfort. Fortunately, it’s as easy as ever to maintain that good look in your house. Hardwood can last for decades, but make sure you go about cleaning it using the right techniques and take preventative measures to keep your home sparkling. Just like anything, they’ll last as long as you take proper care of them.