Hardwood Flooring Experts in Carrollton and the Dallas / Ft. Worth Metro

Cleaning Hardwood Floors

What is the best way to clean a hardwood floor?

Hardwood floors are becoming more popular every day because many people want the resiliency that hardwood offers. That’s why so many home and business owners are choosing hardwood flooring these days. Another reason hardwood floors are so popular is that it doesn’t  absorb and hold allergens the way carpet and other flooring materials do, which is part of what makes it so easy to clean. 

Unlike the ceramic flooring that you might find in kitchens and bathrooms, hardwood floors are a little bit different because we all know that if you drop dishes or glasses on a ceramic floor, you know they are going to break! However, if you drop the same dish or glass on a hardwood floor, they may not break at all. 

The downside of having a bit of a softer material that may save a dish or glass from breaking will potentially dent or be damaged if you drop knife or a dish with a sharp edge. When this happens, some dirt and other debris can build up over time. 

So the question is, how do you properly clean a hardwood floor? 

The truth is that there is more than one way to clean a hardwood floor, but one of the easiest ways is with a plain old dust mop. A dust Mop is nothing more than a great big mop about two feet wide. The mop head is made of fibers such as microfiber, cotton, or some other kind of fabric.  To get the best results, you simply dust the hardwood floor like you would sweep and mop, paying attention to scoop everything together as you go. When you’re done, you just shake your mop, which will create a pile of dust and debris that you can then vacuum or sweep into a dust pan. 

Once all of the debris has been removed from your hardwood floors, it’s time to mop. If you don’t have a dust mop you can just go ahead and vacuum a hardwood floor if you have the right kind of vacuum. The main thing to pay attention to is what the wheels of the vacuum are made of. If the wheels are plastic, they are not going to scratch the floor as you move backwards and forwards across the hardwood floor. Be careful if you have a vacuum with metal wheels or anything else that may scratch the hardwood floor, even check for loose screws on the bottom of the vacuum before you begin. 

If you have a suitable vacuum, you can go around the corners and underneath cupboards and around pieces of furniture to pick up all of the debris and dust and dog hair that has collected around those areas. So once all of the corners and all of the furniture legs have been vacuumed around, then you’re ready to mop. 

The next question is, what kind of solution do you use? 

The answer to this question can be tricky because there are a lot of different chemicals on the market. In our experience, none of these chemicals gives an ideal result. Some of them may create a look that you particularly like, whether that be a more glossy, wet looking finish or a more dull waxy appearance, everyone has their own tastes. 

However, it is important to remember that we are talking about wood, which is a natural material and really doesn’t need chemicals to properly care for it. Also, the wood is treated to become hardwood flooring material, so there is quite a bit of extra protection already incorporated into the manufacturing process.

Hardwood Floor Broom
Hardwood Floor Broom

We have heard that many people are using rubbing alcohol to clean their hardwood floor. Remember, alcohol tends to dry things out and that is the same thing it will do to wood as well. The truth is that almost any chemical that you use on hardwood flooring will dull the finish pretty quickly, no matter how beautiful and shiny it may look in the short term. 

The one thing that we do recommend is using vinegar. Vinegar is a very useful, household friendly, non toxic cleaner that is great for cleaning up all sorts of things that tend to make a mess around the house, especially where pets are concerned. Remember that pets track in all kinds of things from outdoors even if you do not wear shoes in your own house. Vinegar works very well to remove these types of things. 

All you need is a mop bucket with a small amount of hot water and add about a cup of vinegar to make the cleaning solution. Vinegar also works very well because it doesn’t leave streaks or spots, 

What Kind Of Mop Do I Use? 

There are tons of really great mops on the market these days, so it really boils down to your personal preference. You may prefer to use a string ring mop, a microfiber mop or any other type of mop. We like string mops because the strings tends to clean out any debris that may be trapped in the texture or crevices of the hardwood floor. 

Start at one corner of the room and make your way backwards moving along with the grain of the wood whenever possible. You should use minimal vinegar solution so the floor should dry very quickly as you mop. There should never be standing water on the floor. Too much water can cause the wood to absorb water and swell, which can damage the hardwood floor. 

Steam Mops

There are a lot of steam mops on the market these days. Some steam mops are even designed specifically for hardwood floors. However, we do not recommend that you use steam mops on your hardwood floor.

Bissell Steam Mop
Bissell Steam Mop

Steam cleaners can cause the hardwood flooring finish to delaminate and the wood to swell.  Over time, swelling can also lead to peeling and give the finish a cloudy or whitening appearance.  Using steam mops on hardwood  is almost like leaving your wood floor out in the rainy weather. 

Stay away from steam cleaners! 

The truth is that it is very easy to clean a hardwood floor, but the real secret to hardwood floor cleaning is to do it frequently. If you are a homeowner and you have a hardwood floor area that is high-traffic like next to the kitchen sink, you can use a wet paper towel to wipe around the underneath the cupboards and around the area where you’ve been cooking. Doing this will prevent any buildup or things getting out of hand.

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