Your wood floors can take a real beating. From dirt, mud, food, pets, and more, all of this can wreak havoc on the polyurethane finish. But taking care of your wood floors can be tricky; the products you use on your other floors, like tile, could really damage wood. There are some big dos and don’ts when it comes to cleaning your hardwood floors. Check out how the best ways to clean hardwood floors below.

1. Use the right cleaning tools

The best way to get clean wood floors is to start with a microfiber dust mop. This will help remove dirt, dust and any other particles tracked into your home. A microfiber dust mop is soft enough that it won’t ever scratch your floors, unlike some brooms and traditional vacuums. You can even help lower your carbon footprint by using a dust mop that doesn’t use disposable pads.

If you’re short on time, though, a robot vacuum like the Ecovacs Deebot is a great option as it vacuums and mops. If you do use a robot vacuum, be sure that the wheels are free of debris and dirt every time you use it.

2. Cleaning hardwood floors naturally

If you have pets or small children, chemical cleaners might be out of the question. Luckily, there are cleaning solutions that are both safe and natural! Vinegar is a great natural option. Mix a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar with about a gallon of warm water. White vinegar can also be used, just add a few drops of essential oils to mask the smell.

Vinegar helps clean the floors thoroughly and it also won’t leave a film and you don’t have to rinse it off like store-bought or chemical-based cleaning products. Plus, using vinegar is a quicker way to clean because you don’t have to rinse afterwards. Before mopping with the vinegar, dust off the surface of the wood floors to remove dust particles, then, with the vinegar solution in a bucket, use a microfiber dust mop to begin cleaning. Be sure to not get the floors too wet as this could remove the finish or even cause deterioration or warping.

3. Cleaning wood floors without water

If you’re worried about warping your floor, however, it might be worth investing in a chemical product that will allow you to clean the floor without water. For instance, Method Squirt and Mop Hard Floor Cleaner from Amazon is a product that doesn’t require any rinsing and won’t leave any residue.

4. Keeping wood floors clean

It only takes the smallest spill or a dirty dog to take your floors from sparkling clean to completely filthy. Not to mention, there’s the everyday wear and tear that comes from people just going about their day. The best way to deal with both of these things is to prevent messes in the first place. You can do this in a number of ways: make it a shoe-free home, use doormats and rugs at all entrances, and wipe down pets’ paws when they come inside.

5. Cleaning unsealed wood floors

If your hardwood floors are unsealed, you will need to be much more careful with what you use to clean it. Don’t use water since it can be absorbed through the wood. Instead, dust mop regularly to avoid build-up. If you ever do need a deeper clean, use a damp microfiber cloth and dry it immediately with a dry microfiber cloth.

Final Tips

  • Clean your floors at least four to six times a year.
  • Don’t ignore wet or sticky spills.
  • Avoid floor-cleaning machines designed for tougher flooring.
  • Research your products before using to ensure they work for wood flooring.
  • Don’t use too much water.
  • Never steam clean.
  • Do use a solvent that dries quickly.
  • Try a surfactant that can loosen grease and dirt.
  • Check for chelators like in Method’s cleaner, it will fight water spotting.
  • Look into oxidizers like Bona’s PowerPlus to release hydrogen peroxide to help bust up dirt.

Overall, the key to keeping hardwood floors sparkling is cleaning them often and methodically. Clean wood floors a couple of times a week to prevent dirt build-up and from your floors getting really dirty. If you have a professional install your floors, you can double-check with them what products and methods they suggest. This is a smart approach as they know what could ruin or help keep your floors clean and protected.

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