Terry's Blog

Cleaning Hardwood Floors – Which Supplies Should I Use?

If you’re a homeowner with hardwood floors, you’re probably worried about the best way to keep them clean and healthy. Day-to-day living can really take a toll on them, and if you have children or pets, chances are that your floors are in need of a tune-up. But with so many products on the market, which one gives you the most bang for your buck? This article will help you to decide which cleaners are the best for hardwood surfaces.

Which Type of Floor Do You Have?

The first step in determining what works best for your floors is to figure out what type of hardwood floor you actually have. More specifically, you need to know if they are finished or not, as this can drastically effect the type of cleaners you need to use. To tell what type of finishing you have, just run your finger across the surface of the floor; if you smudge the floor, you have a penetrating seal, oil finish, varnish, shellac, or lacquer. If your finger does not smudge the floor, you have a surface sealed floor. (KonaKart, 2016)

Surface Sealed Floor Care

Surface sealed floors are easy to care for; because they are covered with a thicker seal, it’s much more difficult for dirt to penetrate into the crevices in the hardwood. For these types of floors, the best product to use is a soft rag attached to the end of a mop- just sweep and you’re done!

Other Types of Flooring

If you have any of the other types of floor sealing listed above, you’ll have to put a little more care into them because the sealing is not as thick as surface sealed floors. These types of flooring have a much thinner coat, so they must be carefully cleaned with a mixture of water and white vinegar. Mix a small amount of vinegar with water and sweep the floor with a warm rag coated in the mixture. Then, “finish with a liquid or paste wax for extra protection.” (Pinkerton, 2016)

Quick Tips

Need some fast tips? The following are generally agreed upon ideas by experts on how to most effectively protect your floor:

  • Many people like to use a flexible mop system (like the Swiffer Sweeper) in order to get into hard-to-reach places. These types of mops also give the added advantage of not requiring you to move furniture.
  • Don’t use alkaline soaps- they can cause scuffing and increase future damage.
  • Dark spots can be removed with a dab of Murphy’s Oil Soap Wood Cleaner and a block of steel wool.
  • Experts agree that your best line of defense is prevention- clean up spills and scuffs immediately to prevent future damage. (Gordon)
  • Mats or rugs can be placed in the most-frequented areas to protect from scratching.
  • A good hardwood floor vacuum is a must have.

Best Cleaning Supplies For Hardwood Floor

At the end of the day, the best supplies to use on hardwood floors are your skills of prevention. By taking steps to prevent the damage in the first place, you will save both time and money on future cleaning. However, if you find yourself needing to give your floors a little more shine, the best supplies heavily depend on which type of hardwood floor you have.