When we started the journey to pull up the carpets and reveal the hardwood floors under them I may have been a bit over-optimistic about how much easier hardwood would be to care for than carpet with the kids. Yes, I can care for it with lightweight brooms and mops instead of heavy vacuums and carpet cleaners but I also have to be more mindful of what I am using. I had to learn how to clean hardwood floors because it really is different from any flooring I ever had before.
Whether you are looking to get your floors really clean during spring cleaning or looking for advice before selecting flooring for your remodel it doesn’t hurt to take a look at the cleaning process for hardwood floors.
How to clean hardwood floors
How you clean your floors will largely be affected by the finish applied to them. Plyurithin finishes are easy to maintain and can often be treated like other flooring options if the finish is well maintained. Unfinished, waxed, or oiled floors take more work overall to maintain. We currently have unfinished that we are using a wood conditioner on until we have time to sand, stain, and refinish the floors. For now, we are still pulling the carpet from several rooms so it will be a while.
When it comes to daily maintenance of your hardwood flooring you can’t get much better than simple tools like a good broom and a dust mop. These will help you keep things clean daily or several times a day if you have kids in the house. We got a big push broom to make sweeping quick and easy for our 1500 square feet and have several smaller brooms around the house for quick pickups during the day.
Sometimes even with the best maintenance with a broom and dust mop, your floors are going to need a regular mop. When it is time to mop your floors you will need to be careful about how you do it. Water can warp the floor even a well-sealed one can see warping from wet mopping. When you have to mop take your time and work section to section. Use a damp but not wet mop and dry the floor as you go with an old towel to keep the water from sinking into the floor.
If you can avoid the mop and bucket cleaning method with a spray and mop option and a microfiber mop you can make your life so much easier. A great option for mopping sealed floors is to use a dry microfiber floor clothe and a green biro degradable floor cleaner like the method squirt and mop wood floor cleaner. On my unfinished floors, I have to be even more mindful about what I use. I fell in love with the Real Simple Clean Hardwood Floor Cleaner. This cleaner works well because it hydrates the floor with oils and helps reduce how often I have to polish the floors. Avoid using steam mops on your floor. This can damage the finish and push moisture into the wood.
When your finish starts to look dull take the time to polish, wax, or use a wood finish restoring cleaner on your floors. For sealed floors a great option is Rejuvenate. It is designed to reseal the floor as you go while cleaning to hide scratches and protect the wood. On the unsealed floors in the house, I love to use Old English Lemon. It is designed for polishing furniture but it does a great job hydrating our wood floors and making them shine while leaving a lemon fragrance behind that I love.