Cleaning Your Hardwood Floors: A Beginner’s Guide To Do’s and Don’ts

Cleaning your floors can be a chore, especially if you don’t know how to clean them, and if you do, they end up looking even worse than before. With so many cleaners on the market, and information to dig through, how do you know what to do and what to use? Start with some advice from a hardwood flooring expert. They will know what type of finish you have, and what the best products are for your floor. However, here are a few general tips that are true for all hardwood floors:

vacuuming wood floorsVacuum or Sweep

Start with a simple vacuum or sweeping of the floor. This will help to remove large pieces of grit or dirt, and remove them from the surface. Dusting/sweeping your floors with a microfiber cloth is a great idea if you don’t need a full vacuum or sweeping; make sure the microfiber cloths are soft and regularly cleaned so they don’t push dirt and grit over your floor. Daily cleaning is helpful, but may not be necessary for your lifestyle; keep in mind whether or not you wear shoes, have pets, or have high traffic on your floors.

When using a microfiber mop, you should keep it touching the floors so the dirt stays on the cloth; microfibers use static electricity to trap dirt. At least once a week, you should vacuum or sweep them to get those hard to reach areas and give your floors a deeper clean. Be careful when doing this, because the vacuum wheels may damage the floor. Ensure the beater bar is raised, and/or the wheels are in good shape. If possible, use an attachment with brush bristles to keep your floors from plastic or metal scratches.

mop going over wood floorMop without Water

When mopping, remember that you should never clean hardwood floors with water, and/or never ‘damp mop’ using a bucket or old fashioned wring mop. Instead of water, use a special hardwood flooring cleaner, like Swedish Summit Rena Cleaner. A cleaner that is specifically designed for hardwood floors is important. Your hardwood floors are not a piece of furniture, and do not require the same maintenance techniques.

You should never use steam mops or wax or oil soaps on your hardwood floor if you have a urethane floor finish. Steam mops, oil soaps and waxes are not necessary, are especially hard on your floor, may damage your finish and will most likely void your finish warranty. Using excess water can cause cupping, gaps, staining and long term damage to both the finish and the wood itself. Avoid using water, vinegar and soap based cleaners.

rug in front of doorUse Walk Off Mats

To help with keeping your floors in great shape and looking like new, try to place walk off mats on the floor in places like the entryway or back door, to catch dirt, grit and excess water. Try to get mats that are specific for hardwood floors, so they don’t trap moisture or dirt, which can damage the floors over time. You can also use felt floor protectors on your furniture to prevent scratches and dents. Make sure to maintain felt pads as well, as they can also trap dirt and debris, acting like a small piece of sand paper on your floor. Depending on your wear level, you may need to replace these every few months.

Make sure to keep pets nails trimmed, and if you wear shoes in the house, make sure they are well maintained, clean, and without metal or plastic pieces that can scratch, gauge or dent the floors.

If you plan to move furniture or other items across the floor, make sure to pick them up completely, rather than slide them across the floor. Even clean floors can be scratched by plastic, metal, or wood. Don’t rely on paper or fabric, as these can trap dirt and debris while movement is occurring over the top.

Use a Good Quality Wood Floor Cleaner

We suggest you also use a cleaner like Swedish Summit ‘Rena’ hardwood floor and laminate cleaner. Its quality that can help maintain without wear, and is great for your floors; Rena cleaner provides a ‘no-residue’ alcohol based detergent, designed for urethane floors. This cleaning system will protect and maintain the life of your floor, not add to the grime! To use, spray a small mist of Rena cleaner on the floor or microfiber cloth, and then use the mop to clean periodically in small sections at a time.

Develop a Routine

Developing a cleaning routine can be confusing with all of the different brands of cleaner, and requirements of different surfaces. You want to protect the investment of your hardwood flooring by using the right products and methods from the beginning! Contact Treadline to hear about Rena Cleaner, mops, microfiber cloths and other products to keep your floors looking great for years!

Author Kelly Ragalie is a National Wood Flooring Association Certified Wood Floor Inspector, Sander/Finisher and Sales Advisor; she and her husband have owned and operated a hardwood flooring specialty contracting/retail company for over 10 years.

For more information, contact Treadline Hardwood.