wiseGEEK: What is the Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors?
Hardwood floors are one of the easiest flooring types to keep clean. Unlike carpeting, hardwood floors require minimum maintenance and can last for many years. Clean hardwood floors that run throughout a house can make the house look both beautiful and spacious. Maintenance methods to clean hardwood floors should not differ among types, but some finishes may require extra care when removing stains.
The quickest and most effective way to clean hardwood floors is with a damp mop. Before mopping, make sure that you have removed all surface dust from the floor. This can be done with a soft broom or lightweight vacuum cleaner. Then, simply mop, rinse and repeat. It is important to remove grit and dirt from hardwood floors. Dirt and grit are the biggest enemies when it comes to scratching or scouring the floor finish.
There are many hardwood floor cleaners available, but a neutral cleanser (i.e. neither too low or too high a pH level) and water will do the job just as effectively. The hardwood floor must be properly sealed before any mopping. If there are worn patches, do not use water, as the liquid can penetrate the wood and cause warping.
Most hardwood floors are now finished using a surface finish called polyurethane. These floors look glossy and shiny. Polyurethane looks like a plastic coating over the wood and is extremely hard wearing. Another finish, called penetrating seals. consists of wax or
oil finishes that penetrate the wood and protect from within.
You may wish to go that extra mile and finish off the mopping with a wax or polish. If you find that your clean hardwood floors still look dull, then buffing them with wax may help. It may take some extra elbow grease in order to clean hardwood floors in this way, but the end result will be worth it. Some people also use a floor polish to add a shine to the floors. If wax or polish is used regularly, there may be a problem with adhesion when it comes to recoating the hardwood floors.
All floors are susceptible to stains, whether they are hardwood or carpeted. A very fine steel wool can be used to remove a majority of the stains. A little alcohol can also be used to remove stains from clean hardwood floors. Finish off by polishing and buffing. If the stain remains, then sanding down the area may be the only option in order to remove it.
Depending on the amount of traffic in your house, you may only have to clean hardwood floors once a week. An extra precaution used in order to maintain clean hardwood floors may be to have people remove footwear when they enter the house. By doing this, you may limit the amount of heelmarks imprinted into the floors and the maintenance required in the future.Source: m.wisegeek.com