Wooden floors have a reputation as a difficult surface that isn’t entirely true. Nothing beats the look of a hardwood floor, after all! If you know what you are doing, the upkeep for your floors is a simple matter. As always, we have the facts you need…
Firstly, you’ll see a lot of internet opinions about the best cleaner for a wooden floor.
The fact is almost every commercial cleaner will leave a gummy residue over time, so it’s best not to overuse cleaners at all.
Vinegar is often recommended as an alternative, but over time will also dull the finish of the wood through acidity eating away the finish.
Your best bet to maintain your floor for a lifetime is proactive dirt management
Wipe off shoes before walking on the floor.
Use leg protectors on your furniture so you don’t get scrapes and scuffs.
Keep pet’s nails trimmed to avoid scratches.
Clean up spills as they happen, too, to avoid staining and residue.
If you’re already doing all of this, a quick vacuum with a hard surface setting is all you need for day-to-day dirt management.
A heavier clean can be done once a week (or monthly, depending on traffic) with hot water.
The key is not to allow water to pool on the floor for too long. This can make the wood swell and cause damage.
A damp microfiber pad mop can be a godsend here, as the microfibre will hold the water (and pull up dirt) without leaving puddles behind.
You can use an old-style mop just as effectively, however. Remember to ring it out well, and work in small sections, allowing each to dry thoroughly.
While commercial waxes for wooden floors can be a powerful tool to keep the finish looking bright and sealed, don’t overuse them.
Quarterly is about the maximum you will need, even on heavily trafficked wooden floors.
And if you’re vigilant about cleaning and would rather skip the wax entirely, don’t worry… provided the floor is re-sealed every few years (if the top varnish begins to fade/look scratched), you don’t really need a wax at all.
Keeping a gleaming wooden floor isn’t as hard as you may think, as long as you know how to care for it.