You have this new home and installed hardwood floors.
now you need to clean them.
So how ?
There are debates about the best ways to clean hardwood floors.
So if you want to know more about :
- What tools are best?
- What chemical mixtures should you use?
- A mop or a vacuum?
- What about brooms?
- How can you control the moisture?
You will love my article.
Let’s dive in!
I - The Basics: How To Clean Your Hardwood Floors
To make things easier (don't thank me), I will teach you the simplest routine for cleaning your hardwood floor.
But first. Back to basics.
You already know some mixtures you can use to clean hardwood floors? Alright!
However, it’ll be smart if you test out a new cleaning product on a hidden area first.
And if you still haven’t found the perfect cleaner, try the good old soap and water instead. This is pretty much a fail-free mixture.
If you just installed your hardwood floors, check with your installer or manufacturer for some cleaning tips.
Some hardwood floor manufactures will endorse using a dampened mop only (with water).
Some manufacturers might even void your warranty if you cleaned with anything else but water.
So, be cautious and ask questions.
Nevertheless, throughout my article, I provide tips on the best ways to clean your hardwood floor without damaging it and making it look bright and clean.
Because of course, there can be a lot more than just using water, a broom, or a mop.
Basic Steps To Clean Your Hardwood Floors
There is more than just using a mop or broom.
And if you’re not doing it correctly, you might be harming your hardwood flooring every time you clean it.
It’s more than important that you remember that water in large quantities is wood’s arch-nemesis, even if you have a sealed flooring.
This is why you would use a damp mop rather than a dripping one.
Avoid having water sit as you’re cleaning. Same for puddles or standing water.
You will need to work in smaller areas at a time.
Of course, this isn’t the 1800’s, so you won’t have to be on your knees.
Get a spin mop instead, make sure it’s dry enough to work with the floors.
Before doing any of this, make sure you sweep and dust the floors well.
For a basic cleaning mixture for beginners, mix the following ingredients:
- 4 cups warm water
- Castile soap (a few drops)
- Or dish soap (a few drops)
Don’t shake the mixture, instead, mix it gently.
Scrub or mop small areas at a time. Dry them off with a cloth and then dry mop.
It’s important that you allow hardwood floors to dry before you move on to the next high-traffic areas.
Clean top to bottom per room, meaning to clean the floors last.
So, basic steps : check!
Now, let's discover the do's & dont's,
Basic Do’s & Don'ts
- Use floor-cleaning mixtures and products recommended by your floor finisher.
- Opt for water and plain soap instead.
- If the recommended product is too expensive or hard to find, but other cleaners go against your hardwood floor’s warranty, go for soap and water.
- Try ¼ cup of pH-neutral soap (mild) every bucket of water.
- Don’t use waxes, furniture sprays, or oils.
- Oils will leave residue while furniture spray creates greasy surfaces. Wax takes loads of time to apply and recoating is a hassle.
- Don’t use any alkaline cleaners, ammonia, or other abrasive mixtures. This will result in the scratching of the finish and create a dull look.
- Don’t use vinegar and water or lemon juice for hardwood floors. This damages your floor’s seal.
You need now some tools.
What are the best tools then ?
Discover it in the next chapter.
II - Best Tools to Clean Hardwood Floors
Let’s start off with floor protection:
Once you learn more about your hardwood floors, you’ll want to protect it.
This is what felt pads and furniture coasters are for.
Make sure you apply these to legs and frames all over the home.
These are must-have objects for deep cleaning and to have when you need to tackle the dust bunnies living under the couch.
- Furniture coasters are inexpensive and will allow you to move furniture around swiftly while protecting your pricey flooring from gouges and scratches.
- If you still don’t have any, use a blanket instead.
Nevertheless, here is the list of tools I recommend you to use to protect your floor :
- Furniture Sliders - Available in a variety of sizes. Adaptable to any furniture size. They can be hidden under furniture for amazing floor protection and movement. Longlasting. Available at any hardware or home decor store.
- Felt Furniture Pads - Great for a variety of sizes of furniture. Amazing for general floor protection. Available in colors that match your furniture. You can slide items with it by it may fall out. These may need more frequent replacement compared to the sliders. Widely available in stores.
- Moving Blankets - A bang for your buck. Great for larger furniture. These can be used with some help for moving. Longlasting as their heavy-duty. Protects your furniture during cleaning. It can be hidden if placed under furniture.
Now let's see if a vacuum is suitable.
Vacuums for harwood floors
Using a vacuum is what I recommend you to use to clean your hardwood floor.
Nonetheless, you should just use any vacuum.
You’ll need vacuums designed for hardwood floors. If you have hardwood floors and carpet at home, purchase a vacuum designed for both.
My advice?Look for a vacuum cleaner that has just the right suction for lint and dirt.
It’s also important that the vacuum is lightweight and the wheels are soft enough to not scratch or scuff the floor’s finish.
If you have a vacuum with a beater bar, this has to be removable or adjustable, this can also harm the finish.
So....the best options are:
- Lightweight upright vacuums,
- Cordless stick vacuums,
- Canister vacuum
To help you out, I made a list of the best vacuums for hardwood floors.
If you prefer an automated vacuum, that’s also a good choice. However, if you have pets, it might not be the best idea.
Maybe you weren’t fully aware, but there have been incidents with automated vacuums and pets.
Accidents like these are spread all over the living room creating some odor-nightmare which you will not want to come home to.
Ring a bell?
I also made a list of the best brands of vacuum cleaner for hardwood floor.
- Shark Navigator Professional Lift-Away Upright Vacuum - It’s comfortably upright. Includes a detachable canister, as well as an adjustable beater bar. No bag plus washable filter for comfort. And a pet brush!
- Bissell Hard Floor Expert - Lightweight. It’s a canister style for simple portability. You can easily expand the wand. No bag, washable filter, powerful suction, and corded.
So, vacuum are the best fit.
You don't have vacuum or don't want to invest in one ?
Ok, let's study the broom option.
Even if I have the techiest vacuum in the world, I will always have a good old broom.
Because, some days, I just don’t feel like vacuuming a smaller room.
Better known as dust mops are the microfiber brooms. These microfiber wrapped heads are reusable, disposable, and washable in machines.
Dust mops pick up and attract dust, hair, dirt, dust bunnies, instead of pushing it all around into a pile.
Here is my list of recommended Brooms for Hardwood Floors:
- O-Cedar Dual-Action Microfiber Sweeper - Microfiber and heavy-duty chenille for great dirt, hair, and dust pick-up.
- Bissel Smart Details Lightweight Dust Mop - Comfortable jointed handle. It includes adjusting edges great for cleaning floors and baseboards. Attracts any dirt and dust without the use of chemicals.
The most basic cleaning tool for hardwood floors is probably my mop.
However, it’s not just any mop.
If your floor is in need of some real good scrubbing, you’re going to need a damp mop to erase that grime and extra dirt.
Here is where the prodigious microfiber makes a stunning entrance - once again.
Some damp mops are designed similar to dust mops and include a washable and removable microfiber head.
The most popular ones are the yarn-looking mops, but these are made with microfiber strips instead of yarn.
Fiber captures dirt.
That’s what’s so magical about it.
Plus, the microfiber won’t hold as much moisture like a regular mop. This is perfect for hardwood flooring.
So here is my list of recommended mops for Hardwood Floors :
- Bona Hardwood Floor Premium Spray Mop - Secure for any polyurethane, unoiled, or unwaxed finished hardwood floors. It comes with a large mop head. It includes a microfiber cleaning pad as well as a cleaner cartridge.
- Temple’s Pride Professional Microfiber Mop for Hardwood - Includes 3 types of drag-resistant, washable pads for wet/dry, dry, and wet, applications. Lightweight and made of aluminum.
Hardwood Cleaning Products
As mentioned, you only need some water to clean your floor.
Nevertheless, if you find your floor to be extra filthy or grimy, you can take advantage of powerful floor cleaners.
Which is the best hardwood cleaning product?
There are so many on the market preaching a brilliant, almost mirror-like hardwood floor finish.
In order to find out, there are a few guidelines you can follow to grab the best one.
- Your hardwood cleaning product has to be pH-neutral. These need to be specifically designed for hardwood floors that are urethane-finished. So read the labels.
- If you know for a fact your floors are finished with Monocoat, oil, or wax. Avoid water.
- Some manufacturers prefer their own line of cleaners made specifically for these finishes. These should be used as conducted.
- if you can’t find a good cleaner, dilute some drops of dish soap in water. This is the most effective, cheapest, and eco-friendly way to any other cleaner out there. If you left soap residue on your floor, make sure you clean it up with a damp mop before drying out.
- Distilled water for hardwood floor cleaning is the safest. Chlorinated water, well water, and tap water are most likely administered with softeners. This causes discoloration and mineral deposits. You don’t want this.
Here is my list of 3 Recommended Hardwood Cleaning Products
- Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray
- Weiman Wood Floor Cleaner
- Method Squirt + Mop Hardwood Floor Cleaner
These 3 options are your safest bet for all of the above guidelines.
III - Step By Step: Best Ways to Clean Hardwood Floors
Ready to work ?
Step 1 - Remove Furniture
Use the furniture coasters and other tools you’ve purchased to remove furniture from the cleaning space. If there are heavy items to lift, call a friend or family member - you don’t want to pull a muscle!
Step 2 - Dust Mop or Vacuum Action
Next, you’ll want to get rid of all the dust and dirt. Check the wheels beforehand. Sharp crumbles of salt, coffee grounds, or gravel can really damage your hardwood flooring. Do this before plugging it to electrical power.
Pay attention to the joints, this is where the most dirt accumulates over time. Get to the edges of the walls, where more gust gathers and stays around the baseboards.
If you don't move your furniture but still want to reach under the couch, use the upholstery attachment or stair wand on the vacuum or grab a trusty dust mop instead. Too long to reach? Get one with an extendable handle.
Step 3 - Time to Shine
Now that your floors are dirt-free it’s time to shine. Grab your preferred cleaner and mix it with water in a spray bottle. Follow the instruction when diluting. If there’s too much of something, this can ruin your floor’s finish.
Step 4 - Test it Out
Before testing out the mixture, head over to a hidden area of the home and test it out. Spray the cleaner, wait, and wipe. Just a couple of minutes. Check for residue, discoloration, bubbling or clouding. If all is good, move forward!
Step 5 - Spray Time
Start from top to bottom. Back to front. Work in small areas at a time. Spray a small area, mop working backward. This will help you capture more grime instead of just shoving it around.
Do this to avoid overwhelming your wood with the product but get enough on there to get a good clean. You need your floor to dry as fast as possible.
Still too wet? Dry it with a buff or dry mop. Have some air circulate by opening windows.
Step 6 - Do The Time
If you have a big home, keeping your hardwood floors looking brilliant can be either be an obsession or just really hard work. However, the best way to keep your flooring looking spotless is to do it as often as you can.
Step 7 - Relax
Once you’re done, relax, grab a drink and admire your gleaming hardwood floor. This is actually the best part!
Now I Would Like To Hear From You...
So that’s it for my guide on how to clean your hardwood floors.
Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:
- Do you plan to clean your hardwood floors very soon ?
- Will you apply my tips & advice ?
- Or maybe, you have your own cleaning routine.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.