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Home » Blog » A Dirty Hardwood Floor? Here’s The 1-2-3 Method To Clean It!

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By: Rain City Maids
Sep 06, 2021

Hardwood floors never go out of style. They can give your home a natural feel without sacrificing convenience, as hardwood floors are durable and easy to clean! However, you need to clean them the proper way, or you can end up dulling and damaging the finish and wood!

Keep your floor looking shiny and healthy! Here you'll learn how to clean hardwood floors!

How do you clean a dirty hardwood floor?

Cleaning a hardwood floor often looks like this: A busy homeowner rushing with a broom or vacuum, getting rid of loose dust and crumbs in just a few minutes!

Although regular cleaning is essential, dust, soil, and oily residue will eventually build-up, and dusting won't be enough. 

How do you clean a visible grimy hardwood floor? If you only have one minute, here is a quick overview of the entire process. 

  1. Dust: Remove loose dust and debris with a soft-bristle broom, a dust mop, or a vacuum cleaner with a hardwood floor attachment.
  2. Choose a cleaner: Pick a cleaning solution following your floor's manufacturer guidelines. 
  3. Mop: With a well-wrung and slightly damp mop, clean the floor following the grain direction. Wipe tough stains with a microfiber cloth if necessary.

You can check the details and considerations below!

Step1. Start by removing loose dust and debris 

Even if you are deep cleaning your hardwood floor, the first step is always removing the loose dust and debris. It is mportant for two reasons:

  • It is easier to remove the dust before wetting it. After dampening it with your mop, you'll have a mess!
  • Accumulated dust could "sand" the finish when wiping or mopping the floor.

The best way to dust a hardwood floor is with a soft-bristle broom or the hardwood floor attachment of your vacuum cleaner. 

Step 2. Choose a cleaner for hardwood floors

When you clean your hardwood flooring, you are cleaning the finish and not the wood itself. Choosing the right cleaner means picking a cleaning solution that won't damage or dull the finish on your hardwood floor!

Common picks include commercial hardwood cleaners, oil soaps, or even dish soap. If you are looking for a green and natural option, white vinegar or castile soap are the way to go.

However, the best cleaning solution for one type of floor could completely wreck another. 

For example:

Diluted white vinegar can help you remove tough stains, and it's more convenient, as you don't need to rinse the floor afterward. However, vinegar is acidic, and it could damage some types of polyurethane finishes and wax.

Mild dish soap is regularly a safe option, but it can also remove wax from your floors.

Then, what is the best thing to use to clean wood floors? 

Most manufacturers will recommend a specific cleaner for your hardwood floor. If you want to go for the safest option, use only the product they recommend. 

However, if you take the DIY route, you can get the same results while saving money with these two methods:

  • Cleaning hardwood floors with vinegar: Make a cleaning solution for your floor by mixing one gallon of warm water and a cup of white vinegar. 
  • Using soapy water (mild dish soap or castile soap): Put a few drops of castile soap or mild dish soap in a gallon of warm water and stir it. 

Important!

As mentioned above, every floor reacts differently to cleaning solutions. Read the manufacturer's guidelines to ensure they don't advise against a cleaning product. It could damage the finish over time or void your floor's warranty! 

Also:

Before using vinegar or any other cleaner, spot-test it in a hidden area of your floor to see the reaction. You can't be too careful!

Step 3. Wash the floor with a slightly damp mop

Can you mop hardwood floors? Let's get this straight: mopping a hardwood floor can hurt it badly. Wood and water don't mix, and a mop can get your floor really wet. However, if you avoid excess moisture, mopping is an effective way to clean your hardwood floor.

It also depends on the mop you are using. For example, a microfiber pad mop can clean your floor while being almost dry. 

After choosing and spot-testing the cleaning product you are using on the hardwood, mop the surface following these guidelines:

  • Wring out the mop before using it: As already mentioned above, moisture can damage your hardwood floors. After submerging your mop in the bucket, wring out the most liquid you can until it is slightly damp.
  • Mop one small area, then dry it: The last step in cleaning your hardwood floor is drying. However, it's better if you don't wait until you finish with the entire chore. Mop a small section of your floor and dry it before continuing to the next section. 
  • Follow the wood grain: To avoid streaks in your hardwood floor, mop it in the direction of the wood grain. Most hardwood floors have an easily identifiable grain!
  • Use a microfiber cloth to scrub tough stains: The safest way to remove a tough stain from your floor is by getting down to your knees and applying some elbow grease. Use a microfiber cloth slightly damped in soapy water or the cleaning solution you are using.

How to keep hardwood floors in the best shape (and for longer)

Keeping a nice and clean hardwood floor is a matter of routine cleaning and daily maintenance. With proper care, hardwood floors can go without refinishing for years, and they can last decades looking great! 

Here are some key practices you can do from now on!

Tip 1. Make dusting part of your daily routine

Don't wait until your floor is dull or soiled to clean it. Dusting should be part of your regular cleaning routine. Dust heavy-traffic areas using a soft-bristle broom, a dust mop, or a vacuum cleaner with a hardwood floor attachment! Any other thing could scratch your floor!

Tip 2. Protect it from furniture

Furniture like couches, tables, and chairs can easily scratch the hardwood if placed directly over the floor surface! Furniture pads are an easy and inexpensive way to protect your floors from these potential scratches!

Tip 3. Place rugs and mats in high traffic areas

Not only furniture could scratch your floors—some high heels are a nightmare for hardwood!  Also, people walking directly over the hardwood will get it soiled in no time. You can avoid soil and scratches by placing rugs and mats on entryways, hallways, and other high-traffic areas.

Tip 4. Clean spills right away

As mentioned above, liquids can wreak havoc on your hardwood floor. Keep a microfiber cloth always at hand to clean any liquid spill before it has a chance to filter and set in the wood. 

Tip 5. Avoid steam mops and steel wools

If these two cleaning tools seemed like a good idea, forget them immediately! Steam mops will fill your hardwood floor with hot steaming water (not good,) while steel wools can take away the wood's finish. 

Cleaning services in Seattle: learn what Rain City Maids can do for you!

Hardwood floor maintenance and care can be overwhelming! In Rain City Maids, we are ready to help you with the chores! We can take care of your floor in both our regular cleaning service or our one-time deep cleaning!

Visit our homepage to get your instant price!

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