How to Clean Wood Floors So They Look Beautiful for Years!

My home is mostly hard wood floors.  Everywhere except the kitchen and bathrooms, in fact.  I love the look of them, but they are heading towards 50 years old!  It’s important that I take care of them properly so that they stay looking lovely.  Here’s how to clean wood floors to keep them in great shape for years to come!

How to Clean Wood Floors

Prevention

The first step in cleaning your wood floors starts with prevention.  Dust, dirt, hair and other forms of yuck will damage your floors.  Here in the Northeast, our shoes can drag all manner of dirt, including salt that is used to melt ice in the winter months.

This stuff, dirt, salt, rocks… it will do a number on your floors.  

Put mats down at the entrances of your home and make sure people are wiping their feet before they set foot inside.  It’s not a terrible idea to have a no shoes policy inside the house, either.  I actually hate this policy and find it extremely uncozy if you are having guests to your home (unless it’s a culturally thing, that I totally get) and you ask them to take off their shoes.

But for the family members that are in the house everyday, there’s nothing wrong with kicking off your shoes and slipping into some indoor slippers when you come home.  Slippers are most definitely cozy.

Vacuum, Dry Mop or Sweep Daily

I know it sounds annoying to have to vacuum or sweep daily.  But, it’s important.  You are not going to get all of the dirt.

If you choose to vacuum, make sure you use one that is gentle on hard floors.  A beater bar on a vacuum can cause damage.  I use this little cordless vac for daily vacuuming of my hard floors:

 

That little vacuum I have had for several years, it’s cordless and the battery lasts quite a while.  It’s great at picking up nearly everything, except for kitty litter.  Why?  I do not know, but you’ll have to grab the broom if you have kitty litter on the floor.

If you’re more of a sweeping type of person, this angled, soft bristled broom from Casabella is great:

The angled bristles are perfect for getting into corners.

If you have pets, a dry mop might be the best bet for picking up pet hair.  This kit from Bona will take care of your dry and wet mopping needs:

Bona is a great product for wood floors.  More on that in a minute!

Spot Clean

Make sure you’re cleaning up any spills as soon as they happen.  Standing water or other gunk on your wood floor will leave a stain.

I like to use microfiber towels for this.  I either do it by hand or I stick one on the end of my swiffer.

Deep Clean

If you are taking care of your floors, taking preventative measures, sweeping up dirt and debris and spot cleaning daily, then you should find that your floors are staying in good shape.

High traffic areas, like your kitchen, for instance (if you have wood floors in there) should get a deep cleaning once a week.

For the lower traffic areas that hopefully aren’t subject to as many spills and splatters as the kitchen, should get by with 1-2 deep cleans a month.

For my floors, I use Mrs. Meyers All Purpose Cleaner once a month for a quick wash, but, I will also once a month do a deep clean where I’m looking for some shine.  If you’re into the shine, here’s what you want to do.

The two best options for gorgeous floors are:

The one big, huge, gigantic no no with your wood floors is using too much water.  So the key to this is going to be in the wringing out.

I have a couple of mops that I love for cleaning my floors.

This one from Bona is great.  Sturdy.  It’s again got the wet mop and dry mop options.

Then there’s this guy from O’Cedar.  I love that it is “easy wring”.  Wringing out the water is definitely important for wood floors.  The only draw back to this one is that is a LOT of bucket to store.  If you don’t have a big closet to chuck this in, it might not be for you.

  1.  First, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve swept or vacummed.  You want the floor to be as debris free as possible.
  2. Wet your mop and wring it out.  You want it to be damp, not soaked.  You do not want standing water on your floors.
  3. Wash the floors with the grain of the wood.
  4. If the cleaner you have chosen requires a rinse, do so with water
  5. Go over the floors with a dry towel to remove any excess water

Refresh

This last step is optional.  You may be happy with the look of your shiny clean wood floors after you have cleaned them with just the Murphy’s or Bona cleaners.

If you do want to go one extra step, though, try Rejuvenate.

Rejuvenate does not clean your floors. You do not want to use it until you’ve already done a really good job of cleaning your floors.

But, it will fill in scratches and give you a gorgeous shine.  It doesn’t collect dust like other products can and it will last for a long time.

Read the instructions carefully, this is almost like a thin coat of poly that you will be putting on your floors.  You can’t walk on it until it is completely dry. Make sure it’s right for your finish and your life before you buy it!

What’s Next?

Get those wood floors clean!  Then go sit on the sofa, drink some coffee and yell at people to take off their shoes before they walk on your floors!

What did I miss?  Do you have any wood floor cleaning tips for me?  Drop me a line in the comments and let me know!

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How to Clean Wood Floors so they last for years!

 

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