Cleaning Hardwood Floors Advice:
Keep the Shine and Prolong their Time

Cleaning hardwood floors should be a priority if you have bought a house that has hardwood floors or spent a small fortune having them installed. Hopefully you're pretty impressed with just how great they look and want to keep them that way.

The greatest thing about hardwood floors is how little effort is needed in cleaning wood floors to have a big impact on keeping them looking great!

Let’s look at how to keep clean hardwood floors and what you might need to do the job. Then, read more about hardwood floor cleaning tips and flooring mistakes to avoid.


Use Rugs and Doormats!

Dirt on your hardwood floors not only dulls the sheen and means you have to clean them more often, but it can also scratch the finish. Area rugs and doormats are a good for prevention of wear and tear. Just do me a favor and don’t cover too much of the floor with area rugs… it’s so painful to see a beauty of a floor covered in a huge rug with the floor itself barely visible… I know you won’t let me down!

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It is a very good idea though to place rugs or mats at all entrances, as well as strategically throughout your home. Spots where dirty shoes are coming in from outside or from the garage or basement, or perhaps even in your child’s play area or around your pet bed – these are ideal places; anywhere where high traffic or excessive dirt may ware your finish.

Fortunately, rugs and mats can be taken outside to be shaken or even washed clean – we can’t say the same for carpet though. Wood floors are cleaner than carpeting. Remember to shake out the mats regularly and vacuum under them as dirt obviously builds up there.

Thanks to your mats and rugs you’ll keep dirt from being tracked all over the floor. Not only will cleaning hardwood floors be easier and done less often, but you will be preventing potential damage! Do not use rubber backed or non-ventilated rugs though – they can do more damage than good to your floors.


Sweep and Vacuum Regularly

As we have already established, dust, grit and dirt are your hardwood floor's worst enemies! When cleaning hardwood floors, use a soft bristled broom and vacuum cleaner with the right features. Get to know which wood floor vacuum cleaner is best for your floor.

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If you remove the light dirt and dust regularly, you probably will not have to do deep cleaning all that often and you will prolong the life of the finish. You might be able to get away with vacuuming once every week, perhaps spot cleaning or damp mopping every couple weeks and then deep cleaning hardwood floors every month or so with a special floor product like Poly Care.


Deep Cleaning

Even if you vacuum or sweep your floors regularly you will still need to be cleaning hardwood floors every once in a while, to preserve the shine and appearance. If your floors have become dull or have developed spots, here's how to clean hardwood floors that have lost their lustre and tips on buffing hardwood floors back to life without fully refinishing.

If you decide to buff your floors you might want to get a buffer of your own, or just rent one. Here's what you need to know about hardwood floor buffers.

The best advice here is to use a soft terrycloth mop with a rotating head, and to wring it out almost completely before you start to mop. When it comes to cleaning wood floors, damp is the name of the game! A wet mop will do far, far more harm than good, so don't ever use a wet, dripping mop on your floor - or a steam cleaner!

Now what products will give that deep clean and shine?


Which Products to Use: Commercial and Home Remedies

Commercial Products

There are plenty of commercial products for cleaning hardwood floors out there. What you choose will depend on the type of finish you have. There are endless cleaning tools and gimmicks.

Cleaning-Quickie-sweeper

If you need to clean floors that have a polyurethane finish, then you want to remember that you should never use wax. Don't fall into this or any other hardwood floor maintenance myths. Professional hardwood floor cleaning products are often the best choice because they are non-abrasive and they do not contain harsh chemicals.

The best cleaners, such as Poly Care, also dry to a shine that does not leave a residue on your floor, which is what you want when you clean hardwood floors. Without noticing it many people use cleaners that are either slowly wearing away their finish or are adding another layer of residue each time they clean.

Got laminate flooring? Follow your manufacturer's clean recommendations - and check out these tips for how to clean laminate flooring the quick and easy way.

A spray bottle with a little professional floor cleaner in it, along with a soft cloth, should be enough to clean up individual scuffs and marks on your floor and a damp sponge should take care of sticky marks. Since the product is diluted, you aren’t using much of it so the bottle will last for cleaning hardwood floors for months.


Home Remedy Products

If you would rather not use commercial products when cleaning hardwood floors you probably have the alternatives in your kitchen already! Some people only want to use simple home remedies and find that mild liquid dishwashing detergent or white vinegar, mixed into luke warm water and used on a damp mop is a good cleaner for your floors.

Another use for a common product: a little sprinkle of baking soda and a damp sponge should remove any scuffmarks from your floors. Lemon juice and rubbing alcohol also work as cleaners for stubborn marks on your hardwood floors but are to be used very sparingly...or you might take more layers than you expected off your floor.

Each of these home remedy suggestions is not ideal for different reasons. A bottle of professional floor cleaner really doesn’t cost much for the length of time it lasts when diluted. I still like to mention these suggestions though because they do work in a pinch.

Whatever you do, remember to clean up any excess liquid or water as it can cause your floors to crack or buckle if it is left to lie on the surface.


What to Do When Cleaning Doesn’t Work

In most cases, if you catch messes early enough and use one of the methods described above, you should be able to clean hardwood floors yourself.

There may be times when there are deep stains, when the surface is scratched or patches are worn and the dirt just will not come out anymore. Refinishing could be an option in this case. With proper care though these drastic measures would only be after a long time or a lot of traffic.

When they're past the point of cleaning and the floor just doesn't look its best and might be time to sand and refinish your floor or part of the floor, or even have a professional take over. There’s no shame in getting a helping hand to protect your investment!


Hardwood really is a low maintenance option especially compared to carpet. Take care of your floors and they'll take care of you!


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