How do you deep clean hardwood floors and make them sparkling neat and shiny? Here are some of the best natural cleaning methods for this type of flooring.
An increasing number of homeowners are going for hardwood floors due to the touch of elegance they add to a home.
Hardwood floors are also cost-effective, durable, and are long-lasting, and don’t fade out easily. The benefits derived aren’t contested.
Instead, we are more interested in taking care of such floors with a special focus on cleaning.
If you have a hardwood floor, you might have come across lots of information on how to care for or clean them. While some of these are useful, others aren’t.
We don’t seek to debate such claims but rather provide you with comprehensive information on how to clean your hardwood floors effectively.
If you are rather interested in laminate floors, here is a guide.
How to Clean Old, Heavily Soiled Hardwood Floors
When hardwood floors are installed, it looks beautiful and creates a feeling of warmth. This won’t remain for long if it isn’t taken care of. The best way to do this is by cleaning it the right way. So, what is the right way to clean?
First, you need a floor brush, a vacuum cleaner as well as a broom.
Each day, depending on human and pet activity as well as the weather, dirt settles on hardwood floors. These will have to be cleaned off to prevent scratches due to friction and to also improve their appearance.
The tools you use for cleaning will depend on the floor’s condition.
Use either a vacuum cleaner, a broom, or a floor brush to clean off the hardwood floors. When using a vacuum cleaner, ensure you disable the beater bar attachment or use one without it. This is necessary to prevent damage to the surface of your hardwood floor.
Now, there are lots of ways to clean hardwood floors.
We will discuss some of these which include how to clean hardwood floors with vinegar and olive oil, ways to clean grime off hardwood floors, and finding out if it’s safe to clean such floors with vinegar.
These and several other related hardwood floor cleaning strategies will be discussed shortly.
Traffic Determines Cleaning Frequency
Areas with a lot of foot traffic will require more frequent cleaning than those with lesser traffic. This splits cleaning frequency into periodic and frequent hardwood floor cleaning.
Periodic cleaning is more thorough as you’ll need to spend more time on making your floors free of dirt, scratches and improve their appearance.
Frequent cleaning, on the other hand, takes care of excessive dirt by getting rid of dirt in whatever form it may be. This could range from dust, liquid spills, sand or pet hair, and droppings. You want to keep the floor condition optimal at all times.
How to Clean Hardwood Floors Naturally
Cleaning Hardwood Floors With Olive Oil
When cleaning hardwood floors, olive oils are mostly used for polishing. This gives it that shiny feel which enhances its beauty. Olive oil can either be used alone or mixed with a solution of water and vinegar.
First, you need a cleaner before applying this method. Floors should be swept or vacuumed as usual. Always remember to raise the beater bar to avoid damage to your hardwood floor.
Get a mop bucket and pour in a gallon of hot water. This should be followed with 3/4 cups of olive oil as well as half a cup of white vinegar and stir. Get your clean mop, immerse, and wring out water as much as you can.
Mop starting from the interior parts of the room as you gradually move towards the exit.
Throughout this period, ensure you re-wet and wring your mop. Also, change the water when dirty, but such must include the same contents as the water you dispose of.
We must mention the need to not wet the floor excessively. Your mop must only be wrung damp to avoid getting the wood wet. You should have a glowing hardwood floor when dry.
How To Clean Hardwood Floors With Vinegar
Vinegar is a cheap and readily available multipurpose product. This is non-toxic and effective in getting the job done. An advantage of using this substance is that it helps such floors glow.
Asides from that, white vinegar has disinfecting properties. It helps kill viruses, molds, and bacteria.
So, by all means, you should go for a product which not only cleanses and shines but helps protect you from diseases.
If you choose to go with this option, we recommend the use of white vinegar. This is because it is colorless and doesn’t compound your problem by staining your hardwood floors.
Step 1: Preparation
First, you need to clear the floor space for cleaning. There could be heavy objects like cupboards, drawers, or tables. Move these aside in readiness for cleaning to commence.
Step 2: Cordon Off The Area
During cleaning, there’s a tendency for kids and pets to step on such floors.
Hardwood floors could be slippery and lead to accidents. In addition to that, footprints are likely to be left behind when the area isn’t cordoned off.
Hence, the need to keep this area out of bounds until the floor is cleaned and dry.
Step 3: Get Dust And Dirt Off
Dust is the most common type of dirt found on hardwood floors. Dry mopping or vacuuming will take care of this and other types of dirt. This helps ready the floor for the next phase which is mopping.
Step 4: Mopping
This is where your vinegar will be used. First, get a mop bucket and mix a gallon of warm water to half a cup of white vinegar. This mixing ratio should be used for the needed amount of mopping solution. Get a clean mop, immerse and wring until damp dry.
It is important to avoid using a soaked mop on your hardwood floor.
Mop and rinse frequently to avoid messing up the area by recycling dirt. Also, pay attention to your mop water and change when needed. Too much water mustn’t be left on the hardwood surface. This is why we mentioned the need to wring your mop properly.
You can also use a dry towel to wipe off water from the floor surface. Now, you should have a shiny and germ-free hardwood floor.
Buffing Dull Hardwood Floors
Over time, hardwood floors are likely to get dull. This could result from high foot traffic or when not cleaned or taken good care of. Having a dull hardwood floor isn’t a hopeless situation as it can be worked. As always, you’ll need to clean the dull area before buffing it.
Get a lint-free cloth and apply some drops of olive oil into it. Olive oil should only be applied to the cloth and not directly to your hardwood floor. Thoroughly polish this dull area by continually applying olive oil to the cloth as needed. After covering the dull hardwood area(s), allow sitting for an hour.
Now, you need a clean cloth to remove the excess oil on the floor. Clean the area continuously until it begins to give a uniformed glow like other areas of your floor. This process might need to be repeated several times (not the same day of course) for the best results.
Avoid Steam Mops
Steam mops are great for other floor types but a no for hardwood floors. Water and wood don’t mix. Steam is heated water and when it is applied with a steam mop, it penetrates the hardwood easily. We earlier made mention of using a solution of hot water, olive oil, and vinegar.
However, that should only be used in very rare cleaning situations. Especially during the deep cleaning.
Consult the Manufacturer
The need to consult a hardwood floor manufacturer arises when there’s confusion about the type of hardwood floor installed.
Certain hardwood floors are best cleaned with particular products while others get ruined completely. You want to find out what cleaning products are best for your floor type.
The recommendations of your hardwood floor manufacturer will help in no small measure in getting the perfect job done. There are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to hardwood floor cleaning. Most of our focus has been on the dos.
Let’s discuss a few things you shouldn’t do when cleaning such floors.
i. Avoid Using Abrasive Cleaners
Not every cleaner is ideal for use on hardwood floors. Certain cleaners cause abrasion which is the last thing you want for your floor.
In order not to deface it, consider inspecting whatever cleaning product you’re purchasing. Ask questions if you still have doubts.
ii. Never Apply Wax And Furniture Spray
Applying wax or furniture spray onto hardwood floors creates some unpleasant conditions. After a while, waxed hardwood floors will need to be re-coated. This is a difficult experience as it takes a lot of time to apply.
On the other hand, applying furniture spray onto hardwood floors makes it slippery.
Slippery floors are things you don’t want to mess with.
Knowing how to cleaning hardwood floors depends on what you know. We have included useful tips that have proven helpful in helping people maintain and care for their hardwood floors. The same applies to your situation if done properly.
The extent of care and maintenance can significantly increase the longevity of hardwood flooring.
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