Cleaning Wood Floors

Wood Floor Cleaning Tips

How To Clean Wood Floors

Wood floors are beautiful, but they are a lot of work. The key is to keep them as clean as possible so you don’t have to refinish your floors. It’s not only incredibly difficult, expensive, and time-consuming; it will eventually ruin your floors. Every time you sand, you’re taking off a layer of the wood. Frequent refinishing of your floors is not a good idea. With proper care, you can avoid having to refinish your hardwood floors.

The Dust Mop is Your Friend

You should have a dust mop and use it what might seem like constantly! A disposable cloth mop (like Swiffer) can actually damage your floor. A dust mop is softer, and will pick up particles that you might be scraping against the floor with a Swiffer or other disposable cloth dry mop.

Innocent little particles can do serious damage to wood floors. Every time you walk on them, you are grinding them in and scraping the floor. Spills can also be quickly grabbed with a dust mop. Get a dust mop where you can remove the mop part and wash it regularly.

Damp Mop for Cleaning

Chemicals can damage your wood flooring. Your best bet is to use a damp mop with clean water as often as possible when you clean your floors. If the floor is still dirty, only then should you move up to a stronger cleaning solution than water. You have to be careful even with water!

Water is the enemy of your wood floors. When you use a mop, don’t apply it like you’re in the navy and your job is to clean the deck – sloshing water all over the place. Any excess water can damage your floor. You should get a mop that you can wring, and you should wring it twice. Your mop should be damp, not wet.

For Cleaning Epoxy Finished Wood Floors

You can try a homemade mixture of not more than 2 TBL or 1 cap-full of white vinegar to 1 gallons of warm water. Cider vinegar is different from white vinegar, and you should not use it as a substitute. Apply it with only a damp mop, and then you should wipe it clean with a dry cloth or clean sh-mop.

Clean Your Wood Floors with Tea!

Grandma’s secret for cleaning unvarnished, unsealed wood floors was to use tea. The tannins in the tea would lessen the visibility of scratches and slightly darken the floor. You can’t use instant; you have to brew it. And you have to brew it STRONG. We are talking anywhere from 5-20 tea bags in 2 quarts of water. Experiment with the number until you find a solution you like. If you’ve never heard of cleaning wood floors with water, you’ll probably be amazed with the results. It cleans, brings out the grain of the wood, and adds a nice shine. No rinsing with water is required and remember – damp mop only!

Remember this is an old style tip only to be used on unfinished floors, this will not work with today’s modern floors, pergo floors, or laminated floors.

Removing Stains on your Wood Floor:

Remember that once you have wood flooring, your goal in life is to keep from refinishing it. Large stains, especially water stains (be sure to put something under a live Christmas tree if you’re going to have it on a wood floor) can cause you to have to refinish the entire floor. Any spills should be wiped up immediately to avoid damage to your floors. If you end up with stains on your floor, your first job is to determine what the stain is! If you’re not sure, try cleaning it with a bit of wood floor cleaner on a cloth. If that doesn’t work, guess what the stain is and try one of the following stain tips:

  • To remove crayon, freeze the stain with an ice pack then scrape off very gently with a credit card
  • For burns, try rubbing alcohol or a tiny dab of turpentine
  • For pet stains, use an enzymatic cleaner that is safe for wood floors (the label will say)
  • Use mineral spirits for scuff marks
  • If you spill oil on the floor, get up as much as you can with paper towels. Try icing the residue and gently scraping with a credit card (also works for crayons and chewing gum)
  • Water spots can cause you to have to completely refinish the floor but if you have a tiny one that’s bothering you, you CAN try really fine steel wool and then “cheating” with a dab of clear nail polish to make it look finished like the rest of the floor if you scraped off a bit of the finish