Countless homeowners fantasize about having luxurious hardwood floors that complete their home’s aesthetic and cause everyone who enters their house to sigh with envy. On the maintenance front, however, most people are unaware of all of the maintenance work that comes with hardwood. Continue reading to learn how to clean grime off hardwood floors or give our hardwood flooring experts a call with your questions.  
how to clean hardwood
How To Clean Old Hardwood Floors

How To Deep Clean Hardwood Floors

When it comes to the question of how to clean and shine hardwood floors, here are three main steps for how to properly clean hardwood floors.

3 steps for how to clean dirty hardwood floors:

  1. Thoroughly Remove Dirt. Vacuum or sweep in order to remove debris that has accumulated on your floor.
  2. Mop Your Hardwood Floors. Once you have dealt with the dust and debris, mop your floors by applying a cleaning solution to your floor and using your mop to remove streaks and stains.
  3. Polish Your Hardwood Floor. The final step in your how to clean your hardwood floors tutorial is to polish your newly swept and mopped floors. Attach a polishing cloth to the end of your household mop and use a shine solution to restore a glossy finish to your floors.
  how to clean hardwood

Three Steps for Cleaning Old Hardwood Floors

Let go into depth a bit more and explore the process of cleaning your hardwood flooring.

1. Remove Dirt and Debris

Start by sweeping up any loose dirt and dust that accumulates on your floor. Hardwood floor experts highly recommended that you use a vacuum designed for cleaning. Look for a vacuum that does not use a rotating beater brush that can scratch and damage the finish, so you can clean up any dirt and debris safely. Using a broom or traditional carpet vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors may cause sand, grit, and dirt to scratch the finish of your floors. This could expose the raw wood to moisture during the cleaning process or through daily traffic. Vacuuming up the debris eliminates this potential problem helps to keep the finish intact for as long as possible.  

2. Apply Mop

After you remove all the dirt and dust off the floor, you are ready to apply your cleaning solution. Think of this as giving your floors a mop bath. The type of floor cleaner you use largely depends on the finish. Modern wood floors are sealed with polyacrylic, urethane, or polyurethane upon completion. This protects the wood underneath, and it makes cleaning a much easier task.

a. Determine The Type of Finish You Have

Older or original hardwood is usually sealed with a penetrating sealant, shellac, lacquer, or an oil-base finish before being waxed. These older floors require different cleaning products than a modern or recently installed hardwood floor. An easy way to determine what kind of finish is present is by running a finger across a plank or strip of the floor. If it smudges, you have an older finish and sealant. If it doesn’t smudge, your wood floor has a hard, modern finish. Never, ever use a floor cleaner that contains ammonia, abrasives, or alkaline products. These chemicals strip that sealant right out of the wood and dull your floor’s finish. Always use a hardwood floor cleaner with a pH-neutral soap, such as Murphy’s Oil Soap mixed with warm water and a mop.

b. Fill Your Bucket

Once you have the appropriate cleaner for your floor, mix up a bucket according to directions or apply the spray from a bottle as directed. There are many all-in-one spray mops designed for cleaning hardwood flooring. These tools simplify this task by removing the bucket from the general cleaning process. You still need a bucket of cleaner and a damp mop to do really deep cleanings.  

c. Wring Out Your Mop

Wring the mop out so it is only slightly damp before applying it to the floor. Begin cleaning from far edges of the room and work your way towards the entry or doorway in a consistent pattern that covers the entire floor. Remove water rings or stains from modern hardwood finishes with a little elbow grease and a cleaning cloth. Older, soft oil finishes for hardwood floors may require you to remove stains and rings with some steel wool dipped in floor wax. If this doesn’t work, try sanding it gently before applying mineral spirits and fine steel wool before waxing the affected area. Never use steel wool on a modern urethane or acrylic hardwood floor finish. This creates an expensive repair that most people cannot complete on their own.  

3. Polish and Shine

Apply the finishing touch when you clean your hardwood flooring with a polishing cloth attached to a mop. It is highly recommended that you use a wood floor shine refresher solution, or floor restorer in the case they are older, to give your floors a high gloss, like-new shine. You should apply a restorer at least every three to six months to keep your hardwood floor looking its best. Finally, you should protect the high traffic areas of your home – like doorways, entryways, and staircases – with rugs or runners to prevent long-term damage. This also makes cleaning much easier.  

Tips For How To Keep Hardwood Floors Clean

What are some practical tips that can be used to keep your hardwood floors clean? Let’s take a look at three different types of hardwood flooring and the best tips for keeping them clean and maintained.
  1. Vintage Hardwood Floors. When it comes to tips for how to clean old hardwood floors, you should avoid harsh chemical-based cleaning solutions and instead opt for a water-based solution.
  2. New Hardwood Floors. When it comes to the question of how to clean new hardwood floors, you should always follow the directions listed by the hardwood flooring manufacturer. Different new hardwood types may require different cleaning methods so it’s important to learn what’s best for your hardwood floor before attempting to clean it.
  3. Dark Hardwood Flooring. Now comes the question of how to clean dark hardwood floors. Dark hardwood floors are generally less forgiving than lighter shades of hardwood as dust will show up more easily. Make sure that you always remove your shoes and use felt pads on furniture to prevent scratches and stains on dark hardwood.

How To Best Clean Hardwood Floors: Call An Expert

Don’t have the time to deal with maintaining your hardwood floors? Give our flooring experts a call today. Here at Carpet To Go, we have years of experience helping homeowners install, clean, and maintain their hardwood flooring. If you are too busy to take weekly time out of your schedule to clean your hardwood floors, get in touch with our team of hardwood floor specialists today. We’d be happy to offer you advice or send our flooring specialists to your home to help you with hardwood flooring maintenance issues.  

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