By Amy DeYoung
Updated Nov 22, 2022
Did you know that 54% of homebuyers will pay more for a home with hardwood floors?
Hardwood floors are an investment, and keeping them clean is one way to protect your investment. When you care for your hardwood floors regularly, you can enjoy the beautiful shine and know that you’re keeping the value of your home high.
Keep reading to learn more about how to clean hardwood floors based on the floor’s finish.
If you don’t know what kind of finish your hardwood floors are, rub your finger across a clean spot on the floor to determine the finish.
If a smear forms on the floor, your floor has likely been treated with a penetrating seal, varnish, lacquer, or shellac, then waxed. If a smudge doesn’t form, the hardwood floor is surface sealed.
You’ll also want to consider when your hardwood floors were installed because most new hardwood floors are surface sealed.
Regular vacuuming removes dirt and dust particles that can accumulate and dull or scratch the surface of your hardwood floors. Vacuum your hardwood floors daily, or at minimum once a week, with a specialty vacuum cleaner fitted with a wood floor attachment. Turn off interior rotating brushes or beater bars if your vacuum offers this option.
Sweeping is another excellent option for maintaining hardwood floors. Choose a dry dust mop or broom with “exploded tips,” otherwise known as synthetic fiber ends, to pick up dirt without scratching or dulling the hardwood floors.
Use a damp mop with a simple, mild cleanser if your floors require additional cleaning. Dampen your mop in the cleaning solution, wring it out thoroughly, then mop following the direction of the wood grain. Repeat as necessary until the floor shines. Immediately change the water in the bucket when it appears dirty and refill it with clean water.
An alternative to mopping is scrubbing the hardwood floors with a damp microfiber cloth, which gives you a clean finish. However, this may be impractical for individuals with knee problems or large areas of hardwood floors.
Regardless of what cleaning tool you choose, make sure the product is never dripping with water. If you spill water on the floor, immediately wipe and dry the floor with a clean cloth. Standing water on your flooring is a surefire way to damage the finish and wood.
After cleaning the floor, follow up with a dry cloth to absorb any remaining water.
If you’ve cleaned your floor and it isn’t shiny, don’t fret. We recommend trying a different type of cleaning product to increase the floor’s shine. However, you should never wax with a polyurethane finish. If this doesn’t work, it might be time for you to have the floors refinished or recoated professionally.
The best way to pick hardwood floor cleaning products is to use the cleaning products recommended by the hardwood flooring manufacturer. It’s crucial to note that if you use other products not recommended by the manufacturer, you may void your warranty.
We also recommend speaking to the technician or company that installed the flooring for their product recommendations. If you can’t gather a recommendation from the manufacturer or installer, look for a generic hardwood floor cleaner at your local retail flooring store or Amazon.
Preventing your hardwood floors from getting dirty and grimy is the best way to keep your floors clean for longer and prevent the need for deep cleaning:
For many homeowners, hardwood flooring is worth the extra time and effort because of the beauty it adds to their homes and the increased property value. If you’re thinking about installing hardwood floors, consider the added expenses and time needed to maintain the flooring properly before finalizing your decision.
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