How to Clean Wood Floors

You may be wondering how to clean wood floors. Don't fear! Cleaning hard wood floors couldn't be easier.

It is most important to keep dust, dirt, and grime off your floors. Use a dust mop or soft bristled broom often. Be careful should you choose to use vacuum cleaners. Wood floors require a canister vacuum with a bare floor attachment. Upright vacuums or attachments with beater brushes will dent your floor and should be avoided at all costs.

When learning how to clean wood floors, it is important to know the type of finish you have. Most floors installed and refinished today have a urethane finish, but some older floors are either waxed or oiled. Caring for each of these finishes is different, but it's all easy.

First, let's look at urethane finishes, since they are the most common. The market has been flooded with commercial cleaning products and you may be wondering what wood floor cleaning product is best. If you're going to use a product off the store shelves, make sure you read the labels. Never use products with ammonia, wax, or bleach. They will dull your finish and make it impossible to simply recoat your floors.

If your urethane coated floor needs more than sweeping or vacuuming, the best wood floor cleaner is one that is water soluble. Damp mop the floor with a solution of ¼ cup white vinegar and a gallon of warm water and the finish will stay clear and shiny. Keep a towel handy to wipe the floor down if the mop is leaving it too wet. Never leave standing water on your wood floor. Always wipe up any spills as quickly as possible.

This vinegar and water solution works well whether you are cleaning laminate wood floors or solid hardwood flooring. Not only is the solution safe for your floor's finish and inexpensive but it is all natural and not harmful to the environment.

Cleaning oiled wood floors is different, but it is also easy. After you sweep or vacuum as directed above, you will need to apply Murphy's Oil Soap or a similar oil-based cleaner with a clean rag. Change to a new rag every time the one you are using gets damp and/or dirty. After you give the oil ample time to soak in (about two hours) buff it out with another dry clean rag.

If you have an older floor that has been waxed, you will want to wax and buff the floor approximately twice a year. It is important, however, not to use oil soap of wax on your floor if you have a urethane finish. Oil soap will make a urethane finish hazy and both oil soap and wax will make it impossible for you to simply recoat your floor with urethane.

Now that you know how to clean wood floors, you should know that protecting hard wood floors from dents and scratches is just as easy. Here are a few tips:

The number one enemy to your hardwood floor is water. Only damp mop when necessary and make sure you wring as much water out of your mop as possible. Never leave standing water on your floor; this will cause your floor to buckle.

Stainless steel or felt glides should be placed on the bottom of all movable chairs, tables, or any furniture that will move on the floor. This will protect your floors from scratches. Do NOT use plastic, nylon or wood. They will scratch your finish.Cleats, sports shoes, and high heels can dent any floor surface and should be removed before walking on your wood floor.

Now that you have learned how to clean wood floors, by taking these few precautions and following these easy steps, your wood floors will shine and future maintenance coats will be as painless as the day to day care.

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