How to Clean Hardwood Floors to Keep Them Looking Great for Decades

how to clean hardwood floors

Hardwood floors are beautiful, hard-wearing, and hypoallergenic. It’s no surprise that so many homeowners choose this classic floor covering. 

According to Hardwood Floors Magazine, when asked what kind of flooring they would choose for their “dream home,” 66 percent of homeowners cited wood floors, including 81 percent who already have them in their home and half of those who don’t. 

Hardwood floors aren’t inexpensive, so you’ll want to protect your investment! The good news is, with proper maintenance, including regular cleanings, your hardwood floor can last for decades. Fortunately, upkeep is not difficult. Whether you’re planning to clean your wood floors on your own or employing a knowledgeable, professional house cleaning service, it is useful to fully understand the process. 

how to clean hardwood floors

Does your floor have a surface or penetrating finish? 

Before deciding how to clean your hardwood floor, you’ll need to know if it has a surface finish or a penetrating finish. Here is an easy guide to the two types of veneers and how to figure out which one is on your hardwood floor:   

  •       Surface Finish – A surface-finished wood floor has a urethane or polyurethane coating, forming a waterproof barrier. Due to the impervious surface of this type of floor, you can clean it with water-based products. 
  •       Penetrating Finish – Penetrating wood floor finishes are deeper than surface finishes. To clean them, you’ll need to apply wax periodically and use solvent-based cleaning products. 

To determine which type of finish is on your hardwood floor, run your hand across the surface. If you can feel a slight bump or grainy texture, it is probably a penetrating finish. If you apply a tiny amount of paint thinner to an inconspicuous part of your floor and it bubbles up, it is probably a surface finish. 

How often should you clean your hardwood floor?

In short, it depends. If your hardwood floor is in a high traffic area, you’ll want to clean it with a soft microfiber mop or vacuum it (with the brush turned off to avoid scratches) at least once a week to remove dust. 

Surface finished floors can also be mopped with a damp mop up to once a week. Both types of floors must be deep cleaned four to six times a year, as there is invariably dirt, grease, and grime that won’t lift with regular mopping.  

For deep cleaning surface-finished floors, use any water-based hardwood cleaner. For penetrating finishes, use only pH-neutral cleaners specifically designed for penetrating and oil-based finishes. 

For areas of your home that you don’t use as often, such as a study or a spare bedroom, monthly or bi-monthly cleanings and deep cleanings as needed are sufficient 

In addition to dust and dirt, you can expect regular wear and tear from furniture and shoes to cause occasional scuff marks on your hardwood floor. Use a soft rag to gently remove lighter marks. Heavier marks can be eliminated using baking soda applied to a damp cloth. Rub it gently until the dark patch disappears and then rinse off the residue with a clean, damp cloth. 

Here are a few more simple tips that will keep your hardwood floor looking its best: 

  •       Remove spills promptly
  •       Remove your shoes before walking on your floor
  •       Use furniture pads under legs to minimize scuffs and dark marks 

When all else fails…

Lastly, when cleaning is no longer enough to maintain the satiny, attractive hardwood floor surface you strive for, it is probably time to consider refinishing. Hardwood floors only require refinishing every three to five years at the most, regardless of what type of surface they have. One of the best things about a hardwood floor is that you can sand and refinish them up to 10-12 times in its lifetime, while engineered hardwood can only be refinished once or twice. 

Housekeeping Maid Easy – for cleaning your hardwood floors and all of your other professional house cleaning needs 

Housekeeping Maid Easy, the premier house cleaning service for homeowners and small businesses in the Indianapolis area, is committed to making a difference in your life by giving you your time back! You work all week. When the weekend comes, you want to spend time doing the things you love, not cleaning your home. We get it! We know the best way to clean wood floors!

Our team of vetted, professional cleaners comes to your home prepared to care for it as though it’s their own. With a 100% satisfaction guarantee, our top-notch customer support, and our transparent pricing and payment options, it is no surprise we are a top-rated company in Indianapolis and Hamilton County.

During the ongoing and increased uncertainty caused by COVID-19, Housekeeping Maid Easy is taking additional precautions to ensure the safety of our clients and employees. Read more about our COVID policy. 

Contact us today for a free quote!