How to Clean Wood Floors

Tips on How to Clean Wood Floors in Denver, CO & Beyond

A+ Hardwood Floors’ Guide to Cleaning Hardwood Floors

For residents in Denver, CO, and surrounding areas wondering how to clean wood floors effectively, A+ Hardwood Floors offers expert advice and services. Are you struggling with maintaining the gleaming sheen of your hardwood floors? Are you drowning in a sea of do's and don'ts regarding the proper care of your precious wooden surfaces? We’ll address all the hot-topic questions on the care and maintenance of your hardwood floors, offering advice that keeps them pristine without harming their quality or your environment.

Understand Your Hardwood Floor Type

The first thing you need to do is ascertain the type of hardwood floor you have. Do you have sealed or unsealed hardwood floors? The sealed types are coated with a protective layer of polyacrylic, urethane, or similar substances. This sealant creates a protective barrier on the floor, allowing you to use water and different cleaning agents without worrying about water damage.

On the other hand, unsealed hardwood floors lack this protective barrier and, therefore, require extra caution during cleaning to avoid moisture damage. For such floors, you'll need to avoid using water and use specific cleaning solutions and techniques instead.

 What Is the Best Thing to Use to Clean Wood Floors?

A crucial thing to remember is that not all wood floors are created equal. They can vary from solid to engineered, prefinished to site-finished, sealed to unsealed. Knowing what type of wood floor you have in your home will significantly influence the kind of floor cleaner suitable for use. Here’s a breakdown of the suitable cleaners for sealed, unsealed, and oil-finished wood floors:

  • Sealed Wood Floors – Sealed floors have a protective coating of either polyacrylic, urethane, or polyurethane, creating a barrier between the wood and its surface. This type of wood flooring is most common in contemporary homes, and they are water and stain-resistant. Cleaners with a neutral pH are generally best for this kind of wood floor. They are strong enough to tackle dirt and grime without damaging the wood or the sealant. Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner is one popular choice when it comes to brand-specific cleaners. This Greenguard Gold-certified product is safe and effective for sealed, unwaxed floors. Similarly, Murphy's Oil Soap also enjoys an excellent reputation for its gentle cleansing power.
  • Unsealed Wood Floors – If your wood floor is old, it might not have a protective sealant layer. In such cases, it's critical to avoid any moisture-based cleaning agents to prevent water from seeping into the wood and causing damage. Instead, consider a wax-based cleaner like SC Johnson Paste Wax. It provides a layer of protection, adds shine, and helps repel water and stains.
  • Oil-finished Wood Floors – Some high-end hardwood floors have an oil finish for a matte, elegant appearance. The oil penetrates the wood, enhancing its grain pattern. Cleaners for these floors should be specially designed for oil finishes, like WOCA Oil Refresher. It both cleans and rejuvenates your oiled floors.

What's the Best Way to Clean and Maintain Hardwood Floors?

Hardwood floors are a beautiful and durable choice for any home, but they do require proper care to maintain their natural charm and elegance. The longevity and appearance of your hardwood floors heavily depend on how they are cleaned and maintained. Understanding the right techniques can protect your investment and keep your floors looking their best for years to come. Hence, here are some essential tips on how you can clean and maintain your hardwood floors effectively:

  • Daily Dusting and Sweeping – The first rule of thumb for maintaining hardwood floors is to keep them free from dust and debris. Regular dusting with a microfiber mop or soft broom prevents scratches and helps maintain the floor's natural luster. For a deeper clean, consider using a vacuum with a soft bristle attachment to reach those tricky corners.
  • Wipe Spills Promptly – Accidents happen, but prompt action is key to preventing damage. Wipe up spills immediately using a soft, absorbent cloth. This prevents the liquid from seeping into the wood and causing stains or warping.
  • Gentle Cleaning Solutions – When it comes to cleaning, less is more. Opt for a pH-neutral hardwood floor cleaner that is specifically designed for wood surfaces. Mix the solution according to the manufacturer's instructions and apply it using a damp mop or cloth. Avoid excessive water, as standing moisture can damage hardwood.
  • Protective Measures – Prevention is key! Use rugs and doormats at entrances to trap dirt and prevent it from being tracked onto your hardwood floors. Felt pads under furniture legs can also minimize the risk of scratches. High heels and pet claws can be particularly abrasive, so taking off shoes and keeping pets' nails trimmed will go a long way in preserving your floors.
  • Regular Polishing – Periodic polishing helps maintain the shine of your hardwood floors. Use a hardwood floor polish recommended by your flooring manufacturer to enhance the natural beauty and protect against minor scuffs. Be sure to follow the application instructions to achieve the best results.
  • Maintain Humidity Levels – Hardwood floors are sensitive to changes in humidity. Keep your home's humidity levels between 35% and 55% to prevent the wood from expanding or contracting, which can lead to cracks or gaps.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals – Harsh chemicals, including ammonia and vinegar, can strip the finish and dull your hardwood floors over time. Stick to products specifically formulated for hardwood floor care to ensure longevity and a gleaming appearance.
  • Professional Care – At times, despite our best efforts, hardwood floors can show signs of wear and tear, and this is where professional maintenance services step in. From refinishing services to intricate repair works, we’re dedicated to restoring the original beauty of your hardwood floors. Don’t take our word for it. Check out our reviews to see for yourself. With a skilled and experienced team, we provide prompt and efficient services, ensuring your floors always look their best.

Is it Better to Vacuum or Sweep Hardwood Floors?

It's generally better to vacuum hardwood floors rather than sweep them. Vacuums can pick up fine particles and allergens that sweeping might leave behind. However, you should use a vacuum cleaner designed for hardwood floors to avoid scratching or damaging the wood. Some people prefer to do a quick sweep of larger debris before vacuuming to ensure the best cleaning. However, microfiber mops or cloths are the best things to use to clean hardwood floors since they effectively trap dust, dirt, pet hair, and other forms of allergens. Unlike regular brooms or vacuums, microfiber cleaning tools don't push dirt around. They lock it in and protect your floor from unsightly scratches.

How Do I Deep Clean a Wood Floor?

Every now and then, your hardwood floor requires a thorough cleaning to remove residue build-up. For sealed hardwood floors, use a damp mop and a cleaning solution that is PH-neutral, such as mild dish soap diluted in warm water. The secret here is not to oversaturate your mop with water, as excessive moisture can warp or stain your floor. Remember to dry your floors with a towel immediately after damp mopping.

For unsealed floors, avoid using water or oil-based cleaners. Instead, use specialty hardwood cleaners or make a simple DIY solution using equal parts white vinegar and vegetable oil, which will clean and shine your floor. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using commercial products.

Can Vinegar and Water Be Used on Hardwood Floors?

Using a vinegar and water solution on hardwood floors can be a controversial topic. While some people swear by this natural and cost-effective cleaning method, others caution against it, especially for certain types of finishes. Here are some considerations if you're thinking about using a vinegar and water solution on your hardwood floors:

  • pH Level – Vinegar is acidic, and using it undiluted or in high concentrations can damage the finish of your hardwood floors. The recommended approach is to dilute the vinegar with water to reduce its acidity. The common recommendation is to mix one cup of white vinegar with one gallon of warm water. This dilution helps reduce the acidity of the vinegar and makes it safer for wood surfaces.
  • Spot Testing – Before using the vinegar and water solution on the entire floor, perform a spot test in an inconspicuous area to ensure that it doesn't cause any adverse reactions or damage to the finish.
  • Quick Application and Wiping – Apply the vinegar and water solution sparingly to the floor and promptly wipe it dry. Avoid leaving excess liquid on the wood, as prolonged exposure to moisture can damage the wood and finish.
  • Check Manufacturer Recommendations – Some hardwood floor manufacturers may advise against using vinegar or other acidic substances on their floors. Always refer to the care and maintenance guidelines provided by the manufacturer to ensure that you're using products that are safe for your specific type of wood floor.

Will Hydrogen Peroxide Damage My Wood Floors?

Hydrogen peroxide can potentially damage wood floors if it's used improperly. High concentrations of it can bleach the wood, resulting in discoloration. However, when properly diluted, hydrogen peroxide can be used to help clean wood floors. So, hydrogen peroxide can be used to clean hardwood floors, but it's important to do so with caution.

For routine cleaning, it's generally recommended to use a pH-neutral hardwood floor cleaner. Hydrogen peroxide should be reserved for specific stain removal or disinfection needs. Its mild bleaching properties can help lighten stains without damaging the wood. Plus, it has mild antibacterial and antifungal properties, so the diluted solution can be applied to eliminate germs and bacteria.

The Don’ts of Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Cleaning hardwood floors requires care to avoid damage and maintain their longevity. But, when it comes to cleaning and maintaining hardwood floors, it's important to know what not to do. If not treated carefully, the durability and charm of hardwood floors can be compromised. During the cleaning process, there are certain practices and substances that can do more harm than good. Ignoring these precautions could result in unnecessary damage and expenses in the long run. So, here are some major "don'ts" to remember when cleaning your hardwood floors:

  • Don't Use Excessive Water – Avoid using a wet mop or excessive water when cleaning hardwood floors. Water can seep into the wood, causing warping, swelling, or cupping.
  • Don't Use Harsh Chemicals – Avoid using harsh chemicals, ammonia, or abrasive cleaners. These can strip the finish, dull the wood, and potentially cause long-term damage.
  • Avoid Vinegar and Acidic Cleaners – While some suggest using vinegar and water, it's essential to be cautious. Undiluted vinegar is acidic and can damage the finish of your hardwood floors. If you choose to use vinegar, dilute it properly.
  • Don't Use Steam Cleaners – Avoid using steam cleaners on hardwood floors. The heat and moisture from steam can damage the wood and finish.
  • Avoid Oil-Based Cleaners – Oil-based cleaners can leave a residue on hardwood floors, making them slippery and attracting dirt. Stick to pH-neutral hardwood floor cleaners recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Don't Let Spills Sit – Promptly clean up spills to prevent moisture from penetrating the wood and causing damage. Use a soft, dry cloth for immediate cleanup.
  • Avoid Using Scrub Brushes or Abrasive Pads – Scrubbrushes or abrasive pads can scratch and damage the finish of your hardwood floors. Stick to soft-bristle brooms, microfiber mops, or soft cloths.
  • Don't neglect regular maintenance – Dust or sweep your hardwood floors regularly to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris. Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to scratches and a dull appearance.

Expert Hardwood Floor Repair and Maintenance Services

If you’ve done any of the don’ts before knowing how to clean wood floors or if you’ve noticed your hardwood floors becoming dull, warped, or discolored with age, A+ Hardwood Floors can help those in Denver, CO & the surrounding areas. We provide comprehensive hardwood floor repair and maintenance services to address these issues. Our professional services encompass refinishing for restoring luster, repairing water damage, sanding and resurfacing for severe scratches, stain removal, color matching, and the installation of protective measures to prevent future damage. Contact us today to have your hardwood floors expertly restored.