June 13, 2024

KJ Home

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How to Clean Hardwood Floors

3 min read

Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home, but they can be difficult to maintain. While cleaning them regularly will help them stay in mint condition, doing so incorrectly can lead to scratches, stains, and even warping. But with the right materials and technique, your hardwood floors will look as new as the day they were installed.

  • Mary Gagliardi, in-house scientist and cleaning expert for Clorox
  • Alicia Sokolowski, the president and co-CEO of AspenClean

How Often to Clean Hardwood Floors

Clean your hardwood floors once a week to maintain their quality and overall appearance. Note that you may need to clean your floors more regularly if your household has heavier foot traffic. “The more foot traffic, the faster dirt, grime, and pet hair build up on your floors,” says Mary Gagliardi, in-house scientist and cleaning expert for Clorox. Treat dirt, stains, and spills as they arise.

Preparing Your Floors for Cleaning

Always vacuum your hardwood floors before going over them with a mop. “Dirt and debris on the floor can act like abrasives, and when you clean the floors without removing them first, you may inadvertently cause scratches as you move the mop across your hardwood floor,” says Alicia Sokolowski, the president and co-CEO of AspenClean. “Also, vacuuming before cleaning ensures that the cleaning solution can work more effectively.”

Materials Needed

Make sure you have these materials on hand when cleaning hardwood floors.

  • Vacuum
  • Natural dish soap
  • Water
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • Microfiber mop
  • Bucket

How to Clean Hardwood Floors

The most important thing to remember when cleaning your floors is to avoid letting them get too wet. “Standing water can damage wood,” says Sokolowski. “If your mop becomes too wet, wring it out again.” Additionally, avoid using any harsh cleaners like white vinegar and lemon juice, as they are too acidic for hardwood floors. 

  1. Vacuum your floors.
  2. In a bucket, mix warm water with a few drops of natural dish soap. (Note: If you want to add a natural shine to your hardwood floors, you can include a small amount of olive oil in the cleaning solution.)
  3. Dip your microfiber mop in the bucket. Wring out excess liquid to make sure the mop is damp but not overly wet.
  4. Mop your floors, working in small sections at a time.
  5. Go over the floors with a dry mop to prevent water damage and ensure a streak-free finish.

How to Remove Stains From Hardwood Floors

Removing stains from hardwood can be tricky, as the material can be damaged by acids and abrasives like white vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. “For stains, the best thing is to wipe them right away so they don’t settle onto the wood,” says Sokolowski. “If you missed some stains, try a natural hardwood floor cleaner or a natural all-purpose cleaner. As a last resort, if you can, replace the stained board with a new one.”

How to Prevent Streaking on Hardwood Floors

To prevent streaking on hardwood floors, make sure you’re mopping with the grain of the wood, which helps distribute the cleaning solution more evenly. Not letting the floors get too wet when cleaning will also help prevent streaks, says Sokolowski. What’s more, avoid using harsh or abrasive cleaners, as these can leave behind residues and marks.

How to Maintain Hardwood Floors

If you want your floors to stay clean for as long as possible, maintenance is key.

  • Use entryway mats and leave your shoes at the door.
  • Attach rubber pads to the legs of furniture, which will prevent scratches and scuffs when furniture is moved, says Sokolowski.
  • Wipe up spills immediately to prevent stains from setting in.
  • Sweep and vacuum regularly to keep dust and debris off the hardwood.
  • Vacuum with soft-bristle attachment.

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