Hardwood floors are a popular choice for many, especially in 2023. Both durable and elegant, hardwood floors come in many different styles and colors and can be custom-treated to match almost any design choice. However, as with all floors they require regular cleaning and maintenance, and in this day and age, there are thousands of products available to use. This means finding the right product for the needs of the floor and the environment. For folks with pets or children, something gentle might be a good option. For a restaurant kitchen with lots of grease, perhaps something with a little more oomph is required. As a professional wood floor cleaning company, we’ve pulled together some resources to help homeowners maintain their hardwood floors the right way in between regular professional cleanings. Keep reading for some expert tips on hardwood floor cleaning in 2023.
Understanding Your Hardwood Floor Finish
Before you start cleaning your hardwood floors, it’s essential to determine what type of finish your floor has. There are two main types of hardwood floor finishes: surface finishes and penetrating finishes.
Surface finishes such as urethane and polyurethane form a protective, waterproof barrier on the surface of the floor. When liquids come into contact with surface finishes, they pool rather than penetrate the wood. It’s safe to use water and water-based cleaning products on surface finishes.
Penetrating finishes such as linseed or tung oil soak through the surface of hardwood floors and then are usually topped with a wax coat for added sheen. These finishes are easily damaged by water and should only be cleaned with solvent-based cleaning products.
To determine your floor’s finish, take a sharp knife blade to a small, hidden area of the floor and scrape off a tiny amount of finish. If the scraped material is clear, your floor probably has a surface finish. If scraping the floor finish smudges it, but no clear material comes away, the floor likely has a penetrating finish.
Regular Maintenance: Sweeping, Mopping, and Vacuuming
One of the most crucial things to keeping hardwood floors looking beautiful is regular maintenance. Even in 2023, hardwood floor cleaning includes sweeping or dusting your floors regularly. This will save time in the long run, since you won’t have to wet-clean them as frequently. As a general rule of thumb, hardwood floors should be swept or dusted every few days, vacuumed weekly, and deep cleaned every one to two months or as needed, depending on how much daily use your floors get.
When sweeping, use a broom or microfiber dust mop to pick up dust, dirt, and crumbs that accumulate throughout the day. This will help prevent your floors from scratching. For deeper cleaning, mop with hot water and vinegar or a diluted dish soap solution. Avoid using chemicals that may contain toxic ingredients, such as formaldehyde, perchloroethylene, phenols, phthalates, ammonia, bleach, 2-butoxyethanol, and coal tar dyes. It’s surprising but there are still a lot of products widely available, marketed as hardwood cleaning products in 2023, that contain many of these chemicals.
The best mop for wood floors is usually one with a large, flat head affixed with a microfiber cloth pad, such as the Swiffer Sweeper. If you have pets, use a pet hair-specific vacuum cleaner to pick up pet hair and dander. Be sure to vacuum slowly and use a soft-bristled attachment to prevent scratching your floors.
Removing Stains and Scuffs
Scuffs and stains can happen at any time and unfortunately are caused by common things like pets and shoes. Even pushing furniture around can leave scuff marks and stains on hardwood floors. Here are some tips for removing them:
For light scuff marks, buff them out with a sock or a clean, fuzzy tennis ball.
For heavier scuffs, apply a solvent-based cleaning product to a damp sponge and gently rub the mark until it disappears. Rinse with a damp paper towel and buff dry.
For water-based stains, such as coffee or juice, blot the stain with a clean, damp cloth. Avoid using too much water, as it can damage your floors.
For oil-based stains, such as grease or butter, use a solvent-based cleaning product and a damp cloth to remove the stain. Rinse with a damp paper towel and buff dry.
One more thing to consider when cleaning wood floors of scuffs and stains is the depth of the damage. Sometimes scuffs may actually be deeper than they initially appear, or the stain may have soaked through the finish. In either of these cases, the suggestions above may not provide the exact results you desire. For this kind of situation, we recommend looking into hardwood floor refinishing. This kind of service is very specific to your floor and your floor’s needs, so be sure to choose a company you trust, like JP Carpet Cleaning Expert Floor Care.
Pet-Friendly Hardwood Floor Cleaning Products
There are dozens upon dozens of products available that are labeled as hardwood cleaners. It’s important to understand what these products are and how they will affect the floor. Some products, for example, might damage the finish of the wood over time, while others may leave a sticky residue behind. It’s important to make sure the products used to clean the wood floor are the right products. A lot of folks might actually prefer some “mix-it-yourself” methods. Here are some options that might fit the bill for hardwood floor cleaning in 2023:
- Vinegar and hot water: Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a bucket. Mop your floors with the solution and then rinse with clean water.
- Dish soap and hot water: Add a couple of drops of dish soap to hot water and mop with the solution. Rinse with clean water.
- Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner: This water-based cleaner is safe for pets and leaves no residue on your floors.
Professional Hardwood Floor Cleaning Services
If you don’t have the time or resources to clean your hardwood floors yourself, consider hiring a professional cleaning service. Professional cleaning services have access to specialized equipment and products that can deep clean your floors and remove stubborn stains and scuffs. Additionally, many professional cleaning services use eco-friendly and pet-safe hardwood cleaning products.
Hardwood floors are beautiful. Hardwood is timeless and durable and it has a life that can be dressed again and again to suit ever-changing style choices. However, much like every other floor and floor covering, hardwood floors require regular cleaning and maintenance. We’ve provided some tips in this guide to help ensure the hardwood is being taken care of. If ever there is an issue or question, or it’s time to schedule professional wood floor cleaning, consult with a professional cleaning service like JP Carpet Cleaning Expert Floor Care. With the right care and attention, your hardwood floors will stay beautiful for years to come.
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