How to Deep Clean Wood Floors

When you decide to swap out your wall-to-wall carpet or laminate flooring for beautiful hardwood floors, it’s essential to know how to keep them clean and well-maintained. While a basic run with a microfiber mop and cleaning solution is crucial for their longevity, it may not tackle all types of messes and grime.

Interestingly, the best way to clean wood floors involves avoiding products that claim to polish, shine, rejuvenate, or revitalize the wood. These solutions might make the floors look pretty temporarily but are not designed for long-term wear.

Here are tips to maintain the luster without damaging the finish:

Choosing the Right Cleaning Product

Different finishes require different treatments, so there’s no one-size-fits-all rule. When in doubt, stick to basics. For a DIY cleaner, mix four cups of warm water with a few drops of Murphy Oil Soap. Alternatively, you can use an essential oil-based cleaner for a touch of aromatherapy.

Avoid Certain Cleaning Products

While old-fashioned solutions are reliable, it’s crucial to avoid some cleaning products. Steer clear of chlorine bleach, even if diluted, as it can weaken the wood structure. Harsh chemicals can create hazing, especially on floors with a polyurethane finish. If hazing occurs, a clean cloth dipped in warm water is effective in removing the cloudy film.

Some suggest a homemade solution of water and white vinegar. However, there’s debate about using acid on floors, as it may potentially dull the surface over time.

How Often to Deep Clean Hardwood Floors

Keeping hardwood floors in top condition requires regular cleaning. High-traffic areas should be cleaned with a dust mop or vacuum frequently, ideally daily. It’s important to address spills and water puddles promptly to prevent staining and attracting more dirt. With consistent upkeep, a thorough cleaning using a damp mop is typically needed every few months.

Essential Tools and Materials

  • Dust mop
  • Vacuum
  • Wet mop with a cleaning pad
  • Hardwood floor cleaner
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Putty knife
  • Mineral oil

Steps for Deep Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Dust and Debris Removal

Start by eliminating surface-level dust and debris using a dust mop with a microfiber cloth or a vacuum, similar to your regular cleaning routine.

When using a vacuum, adjust the setting to bare floors to avoid scratching or dulling the hardwood over time.

Damp Mop Application

Wet the cleaning pad on the mop with warm water. Ensure the mop is damp rather than soaking wet, or use a floor spray specifically designed for hardwood floors with a dry cleaning pad.

A soft cleaning pad traps dirt effectively. Be cautious with liquid usage; if the floors become damp, go over them with dry cleaning pads.

Addressing Stains and Buildup

While mopping, check for stains or buildup between floorboards. Use a putty knife to gently scrape away grime and spot clean areas that need extra attention. Optionally, use an antibacterial wood floor cleaner for disinfecting.

Removing Stains from Hardwood Floors

  1. Mineral Oil Application: Apply mineral oil to the stained area.
  2. Buffing the Stain: Use a dry microfiber cloth to buff away the stain. Avoid using the oil as a spot cleaner; instead, distribute it to a larger section around the stain. Let it sit or “cure” for several hours, then wipe away with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.

Tips to Prolong the Cleanliness of Hardwood Floors

While indoor carpets offer protection to hardwood floors, the decision to cover them may raise the question: why have hardwood floors in the first place? To maintain the beauty of your hardwood floors, consider having guests and family remove their shoes before walking on them.

This simple practice can significantly reduce the amount of dirt and debris brought in on shoes, which, if left unchecked, can act like sandpaper on the finish, potentially causing dullness or scratches to the wood.

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