We love the rich warmth of natural hardwood floors, but they are delicate creatures to say the least. Prone to easy wear and tear, learning how to clean hardwood floors is so important for properly maintaining the finishing, and avoiding an expensive round of re-flooring a couple of years down the line.
These are some top dos and don'ts on how to clean hardwood floors and hardwood surface upkeep. You can thank us later when your hardwood floors is scratch-free and good as new.
DO: Clean them often
It might feel a little counterintuitive, but the best way to service your floors is actually to clean them often. Dirt and dust shows up faster on hardwood, so get in the habit of frequently sweeping and dry mopping the floor to keep it looking clean. Keep mats in high traffic areas of your home, like by the front door, to help prevent dirt from shoes etc from scratching the floor's surface.
DON'T: Overdo the water
When you're cleaning your hardwood floors, it's really important not to soak your floor with water or cleaning products, as it can cause the wood to warp. Wipe up any water or cleaner immediately if you have leftover drips from cleaning, as left untouched they can turn into water spots, marking your floor.
DO: Use vinegar over soap
Soap will do the trick for most cleaning jobs, but sudsy water won't cut the mustard when mopping hardwood floors. Keep the soap for linoleum, tiles and laminate flooring and opt for a mix of half a cup of white vinegar with a gallon of warm water, and work in small sections with a slightly damp cloth. Dry it immediately with a cotton towel, afterwards. If the smell of vinegar is too much for you, try a hardwood-specific cleaner.
DON'T: Use oil or wax
When you clean hardwood floors, you should never apply oil, wood polish or wax afterwards, particularly if they are floors with a Swedish finish (an alcohol-based varnish that gives wood a glossy look). Not only can it damage the finish on your floor (depending on the chemicals in the oil or wax), but it can also make your floors dangerously slippy. Eek! Best avoided.