Looking after Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors add a beautiful touch to a room but they’re not a cheap alternative to carpet. Typically, you can expect to pay three times the cost of carpet for wood flooring. So, once you’ve spent the kid’s inheritance on your new wooden floor, you’re going to want to protect it.

First off, take your shoes off, especially the kids!  When you walk on a wooden floor with dirty shoes, you are leaving grit and dirt, this will ruin your floors, so put mats either side of external doors to help keep abrasive particles off your pride and joy. Rubbing dirt into your floors is never a good idea, it’s like using a scourer on it, use a vacuum or dust mop way before you think about floor washing. You can dust the floor with a mop that has been treated with a dusting agent (or use a microfiber duster) to pick up dust, dirt, and pet hair. 

A regular going over with a brush or dust mop will do loads for cleaning hardwood flooring, frequency depends on through traffic. Microfiber cloths are designed to trap dust and grime. For weekly or biweekly cleaning, vacuum with a floor-brush attachment. Do not use a vacuum with a beater bar attachment, which can scratch a wood floor’s finish.

There are many different mixtures to use for hardwood floors, and you’ll want to be sure to try any cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area first, a pretty fail-safe way is to use good old soap and water. Some hardwood floor manufacturers recommend using a mop dampened with water only and may even void a warranty on new floors that have been cleaned with any other cleaning solution.

Water is wood’s worst enemy, so use a just damp mop rather than a wet one.  You don’t want to let any water sit, so be sure to work in one small area at a time.

If you’re not using a floor cleaning product (check floor manufacturers guidance), try a cleaning mixture using 4 cups warm water and a few drops of castile soap or dish soap. Gently mix this, then mop or scrub small sections at a time, drying them with a clean cloth or dry mop after.

Allow floors to dry while you clean another area, always clean top to bottom in a room, which means that you should clean the floor last.

Do/Do Not

Do use a cleaning product recommended by the flooring manufacturer or opt for plain soap and water.

Do not use oils, waxes or furniture sprays. Oil leaves a residue; furniture spray creates a slippery surface and wax takes time to apply and makes re-coating tricky.

Stay away from straight ammonia, alkaline products or abrasive cleaners, these dull or scratch the finish.

Do not rely on lemon juice or a vinegar/water solution, at least not in large quantities. Vinegar can dull certain hardwood finishes, so test your solution (in an inconspicuous spot) before using it.

Mop the floor in the direction of the boards, so if it dries with a bit of a streak, it will not be as visible.  After mopping, use a soft, clean towel to dry it or let it air dry.