How to Clean Different Wood Floors
Learning to clean hardwood floors is essential to protecting and maintaining your beautiful investment. Once you establish your own routine, the best way to clean your hardwood floor won’t seem so difficult.
The floor should be swept recurrently with a mop or microfiber cloth, this will be your best daily defense against scratches and surface damage. Microfiber cleaning pads often use static electricity to trap dirt, particles and other household allergens. Using a broom can also be effective, but using a broom only pushes dirt.
Wet vacuum cleaners and mops are ideal for removing dirt from problem areas such as corners and spaces between each piece of hardwood. Normally using a hardwood floor cleaner will be enough to give you a great clean.
Polishing your floor every few months is a great way to clean hardwood floors. Polishing renews and refreshes the finish that protects your hardwood floor. With floors that have some kind of protective sealer, it’s the finish that’s getting the most attention when we clean, not the real hardwood.
Other basic tips might be to clean your floor with a mop combined with a machine washable microfiber pad to remove dust and clean it. You can also try using rugs or short rugs to minimize the amount of dirt and debris that reaches your floors.
Make sure the protective covers you use are designed for wood floors. Also, don’t use soap, wax, or steam cleaners on your wood floors. Vinegar and water actually dull the floor finish over time, while soap and wax leave residue.
Steam cleaners place excessive heat and water on the floor, which can cause vacuuming and long-term damage. Similarly, you can invest in furniture pads to keep your wood floors looking new. In addition, adding pads makes moving your furniture much easier.
Cleaning Laminated, Plastified or Waxed Wood Floors
There’s a reason almost every designer on popular home television shows ends up installing laminate floors. It is made of wood composite (materials such as pressed sawdust), but looks like a solid wood floor. In addition, it is often cheaper, easier to install and (wait) comes with a clear protective coating on top.
For ideal cleaning, regularly use a cartridge vacuum on the surface to remove dirt from cracks and crevices. For one to two months, mop the floor with a damp mop for deeper cleaning, using a specialized cleaner. Keep the mop moist, not wet, so that it does not over-saturate the floor.
To avoid damage, do not polish or wax a laminate floor. Also, do not use abrasive cleaners, powder cleaners, or steel wool. They have the potential to scratch the floor and damage the protective finish.
Cleaning Antique Wood Floors
Discovering a wooden floor under an old, worn carpet is like winning a lottery. Wood floors are beautiful, add a touch of warmth to a home and require little maintenance. It is possible to restore a floor to its former splendor with a simple clean, even if it has been under a carpet for a long time.
Strong routine maintenance is the key to the longevity and durability of your floors. Staying active with a daily maintenance routine is the first line of defense. If you have a working knowledge of floor repair, these basic steps will make floors shine in no time:
Determine the type of surface finish used on hardwood flooring. Older hardwood floors generally have a wax finish, while newer hardwood floors have a polyurethane finish. To discover the type of finish on the floor, place a drop of water on the floor and wait for it to dry. If there is a white spot on the floor when the water dries, then the floor has been treated with wax. If not, then it has been treated with polyurethane.
Remove the debris from the carpet installation. This includes staples, nail-free strips and nails. Vacuum the floor to remove all dust and dirt. Mix a wood floor cleaner with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You can use a neutral cleaner or one made for the type of wood finish on your floor. Immerse a sponge mop in this mixture and then squeeze it until it is slightly damp. Mop the floor.
Examine the floor for stains. If there are small stains on the floor, remove them with alcohol or stainless steel wool. If the floor has large, persistent stains, it may need to be refinished. This involves sanding the floor and then applying a wood stain and wood finish. It is possible to complete the job yourself, but you may want to consider hiring a professional to handle the labor-intensive process.
Complete the cleaning process by applying a surface finish. Use wax on a waxed and polished wood floor with a polyurethane finish. Polish the waxed floor with plush rags to intensify the shine if it still looks opaque.
Cleaning Non-Plasticized Wood Floors
Wood is naturally porous and absorbs moisture. It can swell if it gets soaked and if it gets wet enough for long enough, sometimes it doesn’t return to its original state.
Simple, regular maintenance works wonders, helping your floor look beautiful longer and help protect it. Dry sweeping with a broom is perfectly acceptable and safe. A vacuum cleaner is your best friend. But special microfiber mops do an especially good job of collecting dust.
In our experience, it is logical to move away from supermarket cleaning products, which can be very aggressive in floor finishes and degrade the surface faster than the good quality patented products used by professionals. It is much better to invest in a suitable PH balanced floor cleaner, specially designed to clean wood floors.
First, sweep or vacuum the floor before cleaning to remove any loose dirt or gravel that may scratch the floor if dragged along the mop. Add the required amount of concentrated cleaner to a bucket of warm (not hot) water. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Shake the water well with the mop to make sure it is well mixed, and make sure the mop drains well so it is wet and not wet. Clean the floor evenly, with uniform movements, rinsing the mop regularly to keep everything fresh, clean and free of dirt. Dry the floor and, if necessary, paint it with a clean cloth or towel to make it shine.
Clean Floating Wood Floors
Whether you have wood floating floors or your floating floor is laminated, special care must be taken when cleaning it.
Proper care and cleaning will prolong the life of your floors and allow you to get a good return on your investment. Regular hardwood floors are protected with a sealer that allows for water cleaning, but floating floors are often placed over other surface media and this means that water or other liquids could seep into the boards and cause deformation, so conventional cleaning methods are not recommended.
Sweep floating floors regularly with a broom or mop to keep dust and dirt accumulated during daily traffic. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with a hose fitting to remove dust from corners. Clean up stains with a mild cleaner and a damp cloth in case of spills or other hard-to-remover dirt. Do not use an abrasive scouring pad when cleaning dirt and debris from the floor, as this can damage the surface.
Never flood the floor with water as this will cause permanent damage to the floor. Wipe off any puddles of water immediately with a dry cloth or sponge. Clean paint or food crust stains with a cloth sprayed with a small amount of alcohol. Gently wipe off debris until clean. Do not scrub. If gum or other items are stuck together, use a piece of ice to harden the gum and then scrape with a plastic scraping tool the same way you would scrape wax.
Consult the manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning the floor, as most manufacturers provide their own tips and cleaning instructions to help maintain the longevity of your floor.
Other Topics of Interest in ALPHAPEDIA
Image of How to Clean Wood Floors