How to Clean Hardwood Floors the Right Way

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How to Clean Hardwood Floors the Right Way

If you want your investment to last for many years to come, it’s time to learn to clean hardwood floors correctly. Dousing them in soap and water is certainly not the way to go. By using the proper techniques, you’ll help your beautiful floors last a lifetime – and enjoy their original color and features over the years.

1. Sweep and Vacuum Regularly

sweep and vacuum hardwood floors regularly

Our first big tip for cleaning floors is to sweep and vacuum on a regular basis. This removes dust/debris that accumulates. Even if dust doesn’t seem particularly harmful, when left for too long, it can actually scratch/dull your floors’ surfaces.

On a daily basis, pick up a broom and remove the noticeable dirt. Then, at least once a week, thoroughly vacuum your hardwood floors. If possible, deactivate the brush roll on your vacuum, which can scratch the floor as you clean.

2. Clean Old Dirt Buildup

Over time, no matter how clean your family might be, dirt and grime will accumulate on the floor surface. It’s smart to give your hardwoods an occasional deep clean with a cleaner that is:

  • Wax-free
  • pH-neutral
  • Petroleum-free

If your floor has a penetrating finish, you’ll likely need to strip away the original wax coat and reapply a fresh one after you clean. We recommend using a solvent-based hardwood floor wax. Only apply the recommended amount.

deep clean hard wood flooring

At Floors by the Shore, we encourage our hardwood floor customers to “deep clean” their hardwood floors like this at least twice a year.

Even if you don’t see much of a buildup on your floors, the grime is likely there – especially in the most trafficked areas of the house like in front of the kitchen sink.

3. Polish Hardwood Floors Monthly

polish hardwood floors

Another element to add to your hardwood floor cleaning list: polishing.

The purpose of polishing is to renew and refresh the finish, which protects your hardwood floors. As microscopic scratches appear on your floor’s protective surface, the overall appearance and quality of your hardwoods may diminish.

As you polish your floors, you’re both rejuvenating and protecting them from wear and tear. We recommend polishing at least every three months.

4. Sand and Finish Floors Yearly 

sand refinish wood floors

Our cleaning team recommends refinishing your floors at least every five years. Hardwood floors need refinishing when they acquire scratches and gouges, which compromise the protective finish. Although polishing is helpful when it comes to extending your floor’s protection, eventually, the finish should be completely redone.

5. Avoid Using Water

never use water on wood floor cleaning

Remember that no matter when you’re cleaning your hardwood floors, you never want to apply water as a cleaning solution. Letting water sit, even for fairly short periods of time, can seriously damage your floors. Because the hardwoods are so porous, when water enters the material, it can cause the planks to swell.

Drying your floors when water is present is the quickest way to reduce the amount of permanent damage. If you’re worried about moisture because of the floor’s location (maybe in the kitchen or bathroom), consider applying a water-resistant sealer or wax. These will lessen the effect of water or wet materials.

6. Use the Right Ingredients

use right floor cleaning ingredients

  • Lastly, you should always pay attention to the components you’re using in your various cleaning solutions. Hardwood floors require specific components, including:
  • Solvents. These help speed up the drying process, which counteracts any risk of moisture buildup during the cleaning process. A good solvent minimizes streaks and film, as well.
  • Surfactants. A surfactant loosens grease and dirt on your floor, which then makes it easier for your mop to pick it up.
  • Chelators. These chemical compounds react with metal ions to form a soluble complex. They fight water spots, as well as areas that may have other moisture-related problems.
  • Citric Acid. This acid breaks up the dirt on hardwood floors and protects the finish. The oil from citrus fruits also prevents further discoloration and damage.
  • Oxidizer. An oxidizer release hydrogen peroxide, which then breaks up dirt on floors that really need some tough love. You’ll find oxidizers in many powerful, extra-strength solutions.

As professional floor cleaners, we recommend that you read the back of every product you use and conduct a bit of research. Don’t take ingredients at face value – do your homework to pick a product that will really protect and clean your hardwood floors.

When Necessary, Call in the Floor Professionals

At Floors by the Shore, we have been providing top-tier flooring and carpet cleaning services for years. Our Jersey Shore clients receive timely results at an affordable price. Whether your floors are a year old or 10, we’ll ensure that they regain their original shine and color.

Interested in scheduling a professional hardwood cleaning? Contact us today to receive a price estimate today. We’re ready to make your hardwood floors beautiful once again. 

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Adam Bissey

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