How & How Often to Clean a Hardwood Floor

How & How Often to Clean a Hardwood Floor

Hardwood floors are beautiful, there’s no doubt about it. They can be classy, stylish, timeless, and warm all at the same time. So how do you make sure you’re taking the best care of the floors that work so hard for your home?

The best way to keep a hardwood floor in good condition is to keep everyday grit and grime from being ground into it by shoes.  Sweeping wood floors daily is a good place to start, but it takes more than that. It also takes a good floor care routine.

Some may laugh, but if we all learned from the Japanese and vigilantly removed our shoes before entering our homes, then our wood floors would last for many, many years. Shoes are the number one hardwood harmer, followed by the tapping toenails of our furry friends. Most of us are not going to go shoeless or get rid of our furry babies, so learning how to clean hardwood correctly is a huge step in the right direction.

Getting Started: Protecting Your Floors

Hardwood flooring is a huge investment. You want to treat your floors well. The cleaning process begins with protection. Place a small carpet over the floor at all entrances to catch the moisture and grit that gets tracked in from outside.

Another protection is putting felt pads on the bottom of all furniture that will sit on the floor. While you may feel these pads will keep your floor from being scratched when sliding a couch or chest of drawers across the floor, don’t test it. It’s unlikely that they’ll actually keep all the scratches off so be extra careful and always pick up anything being moved over wood, or use gliders. There are inexpensive plastic discs made for just such an exercise. Make sure you put the fluffy covers over the plastic discs before you move anything on wood, even the plastic can make a nasty scratch in softwood floors like pine and in engineered flooring.

Getting Rid of Daily Dirt: A Clean Sweep

It is good to give your floor a daily once over with a broom or a vacuum, especially in high traffic areas. Make sure that the vacuum is made to work on hard surfaces. A lightweight stick works the best, but an upright is fine as long as it has a hard surfaces setting. If you have pets, ensure that your vacuum has good suction to get up all the fur.

Once a week, wood floors should be cleaned in high traffic areas with a damp mop. Low traffic areas can be done less frequently, like once a month or once a quarter. Unsealed wood floors are more susceptible to water, so make sure that the mop is just slightly damp.

Getting Floors Clean: A Five-Step Process

Our expertise are not just in installing and designing the perfect flooring, we also know the secrets to upkeep. Follow these five steps for the best floor clean of your life.

  1. Remove rugs and furniture. Most people only move smaller pieces of furniture and smaller area rugs when they clean weekly, but do a deep clean about once a quarter, and clean under the rugs and heavy furniture.
  1. Sweep and/or vacuum. It is a good idea to sweep up large pieces and then vacuum up the dust and pet hair. You can also do one final pass with a Swiffer to attract the last bits of dust.
  1. Wet a bar towel (one of those white terry cloth towels used by bar keeps) and squeeze out any excess water until it is just damp. A good cleaning solution is water and a few drops of dish cleaner, like Dawn. Attach the rag to a Swiffer “mop” stick,then run it over small areas of the floor. Be sure to rinse the towel frequently to ensure maximum clean. While this seems time consuming, it works really well. The floor will not get too wet, and dry quickly.
  1. Bona the floor. Once the floor is dry, put a thin coat of Bona on the floor. It is worthwhile to invest in a Bona cleaning kit to get the best application. There is an application “wand” that comes with the kit that makes the whole process 100x easier. Squirt Bona on to the pad that comes with the wand, and then apply it to the floor in small sections. When it is all done, your floor will have its shine back.

  1. Return rugs and furniture to their regular locations. Then enjoy your beautiful floor.
Getting Rid of What’s Bad for Your Hardwood Floors
Beware that there are products out there that are not good for your hardwood floors. Never use harsh chemicals or abrasives. Vinegar, ammonia, lemon juice, and alkaline soap-based cleaners are out. So are oils and furniture sprays. All of these items can damage the shine and the seal on your floors.

Getting the Most Out of Your Wood Floors
With care, wood floors can last for years and years. Just remember, like anything, the more you take care of them, the longer they will last.