How To Safely Clean Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are beautiful, durable, and can add tremendous character to a home if they are taken care of. While they look great, they do; however, need to be cleaned regularly. You need to be sure to clean them in a way that will not damage the integrity of the wood and keeps them lasting for years to come. 

The first thing you must find out is what kind of finish your hardwood floors have. Surface-sealed floors are sealed with polyacrylic, urethane, or polyurethane. They are stain and water damage resistant and easy to clean. Second are penetrating seal treated and oil-treated floors. The penetrating seal or oil finish will soak into the grain of the wood and harden. These require a little more TLC. The last category is lacquered, varnished, shellacked, and untreated floors. These are not as resistant to moisture, spills, or wear as the other, though they are technically considered to be surface finishes. 

Not sure what kind of finish you have? Take the smudge test. Rub your finger across the floor and watch to see if a smudge appears. If you don’t see one, your hardwood floor is sealed. If you do, your floor has been treated with a penetrating seal, oil finish, lacquer, shellac, or varnish. Of course you could always leave it to the best maids in LA and let MYA take care of your hardwood floors for you. 

Let’s tackle the sealed floors first. First, a couple of things not to do. Do not use oils, waxes, or furniture sprays. Oil leaves a residue. Waxes take a lot of time and recoating the floors with them is a headache. Furniture spray will make you slip and slide all over the place. Don’t use anything particularly abrasive as it will dull or scratch the finish of the floor. Water is all well and good, but too much is bad for your floor and using it alone will just make your floors dingy. If you find a product recommended by the floor finisher, that’s good. Soapy water is also good, but don’t overpower the floor. It’s good to clean sealed floors regularly, but mopping is just fine if the mop is damp and not soaking wet.

Now to the seal treated, oil treated, varnished, lacquered, shellacked, and untreated floors. Waxes are key here. Do use a stripper to prevent wax buildup. Do use a liquid or paste wax specifically designed for hardwood floors. Do not use one made for tile or vinyl. It won’t work well. Liquid wax is easier to use, but it leaves a thinner coat of wax which translates to less protection for your floor, so choose wisely. Do not use acrylic, water-based, furniture, or one-step waxes. Acrylic and water-based waxes can turn your floors white. Furniture waxes create far too slick of a surface. One-step waxes can trap dirt, so don’t buy into to the advertising. Replace the wax once or twice a year. One important tip from a Fort Collins cleaning service says that you should never mop waxed floors. Vacuum and sweep regularly instead. You can also buff these kinds of hardwood floors with a cloth or with a buffer machine, but always remember to buff with the grain of the wood.

If you have additional questions or need help cleaning you hardwood floors, give us a call or book a clean online today!