Hardwood flooring imparts a lasting beautiful, high-quality, look to your home. Like any other type of flooring, however, it’s important to clean hardwood not only to keep it looking beautiful, but to save it from damage.
Prevention is key in keeping a wood floor clean, flooring experts agree. Use rugs and floor mats in high traffic areas, such as at doorways, to prevent damaging dirt and water from being tracked in. Always clean up spills as soon as they occur, since liquid soaks into wood fibers. Additionally, keep anything that will stain from contacting a wood floor. Sweep daily with a dust mop or soft-bristled broom. These measures will make your occasional deep cleaning infinitely easier.
The best mop for hardwood floors is one with a microfiber head, which catches dust and dirt, advises This Old House magazine. This material is designed to trap dust and grime. You can also vacuum once a week, but avoid using the beater bar attachment.
If it’s time to do a thorough cleaning, avoid using wet mops and steam cleaners as too much water causes damage. If your wood floor has a polyurethane finish, avoid using strong vinegar or baking soda solutions, as well. They can damage polyurethane. Using a spray bottle apply a just enough cleaning solution made especially for hardwood and damp-mop with a flat-head mop and microfiber pad or a microfiber string mop that has been thoroughly wrung out, says This Old House, which advises to always move with the grain.
If your hardwood floor is older, with an oiled finish instead of polyurethane, you can use fine steel wood to remove any stains and water or heel marks. Use dish detergent to remove oil-based stains, advises Better Homes and Gardens. Then wax and buff. For overall cleaning use a hardwood floor cleaner, following directions.