Tips and tricks for cleaning any type of hardwood floor.
I don’t know about you, but I was raised on the idea that a truly clean hardwood floor should shine so brightly that you can see your face in its reflection.
To get this result, my family would use cleaners filled with wax that ended up covering the beautiful wood floor in a film that would cloud over the minute we started to walk on it. We would then have to go to extremes to reverse that cloudy effect, like using acidic cleaner or harsh soaps, which would then cause the finish to become damaged or dry. It was a vicious cycle, and also—what a headache!
Cleaning the floors on your hands and knees is also a common misconception about what it takes to do an effective deep clean of hardwood floors. I’m in pain just thinking about it! Not to mention, who has time for that?
Instead, look to mopping as the solution. It sounds simple, but mopping not only lets us stand comfortably upright, but also cover more surface area on the floor, meaning no recovery is needed after a cleaning spree. Then we’re able to get back to what really matters—life!
Hardwood floors get a bad rap for being easily damaged and difficult to maintain. But the truth is, they’re durable and lower maintenance than you think when you take the right approach and use the right tools. Read on for my expert advice for how to get that bright shine easily.
In our parents’ day, real hardwood floors such as oak, maple, cherry were far more common. Today, there are many types of imitation wood flooring: vinyl, laminate, parquet, solid wood, or engineered hardwood. These are generally easier to maintain than finicky hardwoods, although I think we can all agree: the real deal worth the trouble it may take to clean it correctly if you’re lucky enough to have it in your home. Whatever variety of hardwood floor you’re cleaning, there’s one thing you should always keep in mind: Be gentle.
To get started, here is my go-to list of favorite tools and supplies:
Angled broom, microfiber dry mop, or Swiffer Sweeper Cleaner Dry Mop. It’s important to remove any dirt from the floor before adding moisture. By using these products, you won’t have to worry about creating a big mud puddle when you go to clean your floors.
Mop using reusable microfiber mop heads and a two- to three-gallon bucket. There’s a reason these are the classic floor-cleaning tools. The microfiber mophead traps dirt, while the bucket lets you mix your own cleaner to better address the needs of your exact type of flooring.
Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid. Don’t let the name fool you, this is an amazing multipurpose cleaning product that’s effective while still being gentle. But no need to overdo it—a little goes a long way!
Remove all dry dirt and debris with an angled broom or dry microfiber dust mop. Microfiber will trap the dust and hair, so there is no need to mess with dust pans or having to go over surfaces multiple times. You can also use a vacuum for this step, but keep in mind that the roller brush can cause abrasions on the wood or finish.
This is where the deep cleaning (and fun) begins! You have two options for this step depending on timing and cleaning preferences: