How to Care for Your Hardwood Floors
August 31, 2015
Back to the Future
Even though there are lots of cool new products on the market to help you clean your hardwood floors, I have found that some of the things my great-grandmother used to use work just as well. You want to use soft cloths like cotton baby diapers or dusting brooms, and hardly any chemicals. Just by keeping it simple you can have your floors looking as nice and shiny as ever.
Clean Them Often
Even tiny dirt and dust particles can scratch the finish of your hardwood floors. Try to get into the habit of dry dusting the floors often. Once dust and grit get onto the floor, they are ground into the finish with every step people take on it. These tiny particles, when dug in over time, work to scratch the shine off your floor. You should dry mop the floor two to three times a week to keep the dust, sand and dirt from damaging your floors.
Less is More
Most hardwood floors get foggy when they come in contact with chemicals often found in cleaning products. Cleaning products with oil or other ingredients stick to the floor, and can actually attract more dirt to them. You are much better off using a cloth with water to clean your floors. If possible, use club soda or distilled water, as minerals often found in tap water can also leave your floors looking cloudy.
Rinse, Rinse, Rinse
If you must use a chemical-based cleaner, you need to make sure you rinse it off the floor thoroughly. As mentioned, cleaners actually attract dirt to the floor and can leave them feeling sticky, and nothing is worse than having your shoes stick to a clean floor. It may look nice and shiny when you are done cleaning, it’s going to get dirty much more quickly if you don’t rinse it off entirely.
Generations of people have suggested using distilled white vinegar to clean wooden floors, however it’s really not the best for keeping your floor looking shiny. Vinegar is a natural acid, and over time it will work to break down the floor’s coating. A tablespoon or two in a gallon bucket probably won’t hurt the surface, but most people use much more than necessary. Vinegar is great to use once in a while if your floor accumulates food or grease, but as a regular cleaner I would stick with simple water.
One cleaning product that really makes me laugh is a disinfecting floor cleaner. Just so you know – your floors will never bedisinfected. Even if you always leave your shoes and socks outside, your floors will always be filled with germs. The closest you can get to a disinfected floor would be to clean the hardwood with a steam cleaner. Even using steam, you will not get them disinfected, but instead partially sanitized. You don’t want to use too much steam on the wood, as it can get down into the seams and cracks which can do a lot of damage. If you like using steam, you should limit it to only a few times per year.
Hardwood Floor Cleaner
1 teaspoon dish soap
1/8 cup white vinegar
32 ounces hot water
Mix all ingredients and place in a spray bottle. Use a dry
microfiber mop after vacuuming the hardwood floor.
Spray the floor with cleaner and wipe with the dry
microfiber mop. This mixture will leave the floor, clean
without a waxy buildup.