Learning how to clean hardwood floors is essential for protecting and maintaining your investment. Since dirt and grime can’t hide on hardwood floors like they can on carpet, cleaning your floors may seem “high maintenance.” However, once you establish your own routine, the best way to clean hardwood flooring won’t seem so difficult.
Weekly Schedule - Dust/Sweep
Giving your floors a good dusting with a microfiber mop or cloth will be your best weekly defense against scratches and surface damage. Microfiber cleaning pads often use static electricity to trap dirt, particles, and other household allergens. Using a broom to can be effective as well, but using a broom only pushes the dirt around. When you want to clean your floors without damaging them, avoid lifting your microfiber mop up off the floor when you clean—this way you keep the dirt trapped on the pad.
Monthly Schedule - Vacuum/Mop
Monthly maintenance will deal with the harder to reach areas that a daily dusting can’t reach. Vacuums and wet mops are ideal for getting dirt out of trouble areas like corners and the spaces between each piece of hardwood. However, using vacuums and mops come with extra caution when you want to clean floors without damaging them. If your vacuum has a beater bar, make sure it doesn’t hit the bar floor. Also, the wheels on a vacuum might damage the floor. When you’re using a mop, remember that water and wood don’t mix! Avoid putting excess liquid on your floor. Lightly misting your floor with a hardwood floor cleaner will be enough to give it a great clean. A gentle touch is one of the best ways to clean hardwood flooring.
- Using a mop paired with a machine washable, microfiber pad for dusting and cleaning. Electrostatic action attracts dirt, microparticles and common household allergens.
- Use Mats. Place mats or rugs at entryways or other traffic areas to minimize the amount of dirt and debris that gets onto your floors. Make sure the protective coverings you use are designed for wood floors. Some rubber-backed mats can trap moisture, damaging floors in the process.
- Avoid using water and vinegar, soap-based cleaners, wax or steam cleaners on your hardwood floors. Vinegar and water actually dull the floor’s finish over time, while soap and wax leave residue. Steam cleaners put heat and excessive water on your floor, which can lead to cupping and long-term damage.
- As you come up with your maintenance routine, remember that the overall use of your floors will dictate how often you need to clean. High-traffic areas may need to be mopped or polished more often, while less-frequented floors can go a bit longer between more intense cleanings.
Finding the best way to clean hardwood floors will take some time and patience, but with the right tools and techniques, you’ll be able to keep your floors looking their best. Remember that the time you spend maintaining your floors pales in comparison to how much time you’ll spend enjoying your floors.