Hardwood floors are an investment and with any investment, you want to maximize your return. If you’ve recently installed a hardwood or engineered wood flooring you’ll need to regularly clean it in order to keep it in tip-top shape and extend the floor’s life span.
Simple deep cleans done on a semi-regular basis can add years to the life of your floors whilst keeping them pristine and sparkling. It’s a pretty basic premise, but there are some key points you have to hit in order to achieve the best results. We consulted flooring & cleaning experts from around the globe to compile the most effective way to keep your wood floors clean, from parquet to plank, chevron to herringbone and everything in between.
Hoover & Sweep Often
You’d be surprised just how much damage loose debris, dust and dirt can do to your floors if left to build up. Just walking across a piece of dirt on your floor can end up scratching the surface, so it’s best to keep the floor as clean as possible. Sweeping on a daily basis is recommended, combined with a dry mop in order to get rid of any lingering bits and pieces. You should also be running your hoover over the floor at least once or twice a week as this will pick up any of those very fine particles you may have missed with the brush. Hoovers are also fantastic at removing all of that excess dirt and gunk that can often become stuck in-between the floorboards, just be careful to not use your hoovers brush roll (if it has one) on the floor as this could lead to scratches, use a flat attachment where possible as bristles can scuff up your pristine surface.
“A decent vacuum cleaner is the best tool for removing dirt and tiny debris from a wood floor’s cracks and crevices. A canister vacuum is an ideal option because it has an attached long, oval floor brush that can fit in tight spaces. Make sure to switch off the rotating brush if your model is solely an upright one to prevent the bristles from damaging your floors”Dean Lee, Sealions
Don’t Overclean (Keep things Dry!)
One of the most common mistakes we see people make is grabbing a mop and bucket and then soaking their floors – This is a hugely costly error as hardwood floors are not designed to take on this much moisture, leaving you with a warped surface.
“When mopping wood floors, avoid using too much water. Too much water can damage the wood by causing it to warp or swell. Instead, use a damp mop or a slightly wet cloth to clean the floor.”Jennifer Spinelli, Founder, Watson Buys
Microfiber mops work best as opposed to the traditional cotton mops as they won’t drench the area, they’ll also save you a bit of time as you won’t be wringing out the mop every couple of minutes. On this note, avoid steam cleaners at all costs! The heat produced by these steam cleaners may give you a good clean, but it’s also going to severely warp and damage the floor.
“Steam cleaning is inadvisable: though there are some types of steam cleaners that you can use, it is recommended to use a well wrung out mop, wet pad or spray and mop product”Gabrielle Martin, Supervisor, Bio Recovery
Choose the Right Cleaner
With all of this in mind, it’s important that when you are cleaning that you choose the right type of cleaning product to suit your needs. There are no set rules here as every floor is different, grain, pattern and finish type all come into play so generally the best advice is to listen to your manufacturer and follow whatever advice they give. However, there are some definite things to avoid – mainly harsh chemicals.
“Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners, as these can damage the finish. Stick to gentle, pH-neutral cleaners specifically designed for wood floors.”John Linden, Interior Designer, MirrorCoop Design
“You should never use harsh chemicals, abrasives or scouring pads on your hardwood floors because these can leave scratches and dull the finish. You should also avoid using furniture polish on your hardwood floor because this can leave an oily residue that attracts dirt and dust.”Kamil Kowalski, LimakWay Remodeling
If you’re wary of using any form of store-bought cleaner on your floor, you can always go back to the basics. Warm water and a few drops of white vinegar goes a long way, but don’t overdo it.
“Since vinegar is an acid, it will breakdown the finish on the surface of your floor, and over time it will reduce theshine and leave a dull appearance.”Leah Bradley, Senior Brand Manager, Bona
Prevention Is Key
Scratches, dents, scrapes, and dings are inevitable when it comes to owning a wood floor, it’s just a normal part of the process. A lot of these small scuffs can be easily fixed with something like a stain marker from your local hardware store. However, in most cases, it could be as simple as laying a rug or doormat in order to shield the floor from potential damage.
“Put down rugs in high-traffic areas and use floor protectors under furniture to prevent scratches.”Jason Farr, Owner, Aviara Pavers.
It’s also essential to just be aware of your surroundings and react to even the smallest of changes. One of the best things about having a natural, wooden floor is that it’s a natural material so it’s able to pretty much tell you when things aren’t right. Things like temperature and humidity can affect the floor in different ways, so try and understand how they affect the surface. As we’ve already mentioned, excess water can damage the floor but if you’re living in a particularly dry area you may have some issues with splitting and cracking. – this can be easily solved by introducing a humidifier.
“Wooden floors are sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. For example, if you live in Dallas, you might notice that your floor dries and even develops creaks and squeaks. This might happen with very low moisture in the air.”Alex Varela, General Manager, Dallas Maids of Frisco
Recoat & Refinish
Having an all-natural wood floor or an engineered wood floor means you could sand and refinish the surface when it starts to become tired looking. If you don’t feel like going through the process of sanding you don’t necessarily have to, by just recoating the floor you’re layering on another coat of a finish to the floor in order to bring back some of that vitality and breathe some new life into it.
“Eventually, your floor’s sealed surface will wear, but fortunately, real hardwood flooring can be lightly sanded and a new finish applied to restore the floor’s natural beauty.”Mohamed Ali Daher, Home Improvements Advisor, Royal Infinity Interior Company
“I believe, that because of the amount of wear and tear that is placed on hardwood flooring because of foot activity, it is recommended that you give your floor a thorough cleaning or even sand it down and refinish it every three to five years. When you refinish your floor, the previous protective finish is fully stripped away and replaced with a new one.. Sanding and refinishing your hardwood flooring can repair damage to the floor caused by deep scratches or gouges. After the repairs are complete, you will have perfectly clean hardwood flooring.”Adam Wood, Co-Founder, Revenue Geeks
The Wrap Up
Keeping your floors in pristine condition doesn’t take a massive amount of effort. By following our guide you’ll be able to ensure that your floors will stay gleaming and sturdy for years to come.