So what are the best ways to clean wood floors, quite often they just need a sweep over and are good to go but sometimes a more “serious” clean is needed.
I can speak from experience here and tell you what’s best and also what not to do… So lets start off positively about what works best, most new floors that we sell are coated with polyurethane, urethane or a polyacrylic coating, all of which are water resistant, stain resistant and therefore easy to clean.
- Sweep the floor with a soft bristled brush, this will remove any large particles which may scratch the floor if caught beneath a mop. Alternatively you can vacum the floor but make sure you extend the bristles to prevent any scratching.
- Sweeping or vacuming every couple of days will help to keep the floor clean and prevent scratching, deep cleaning too regularly will actually have the opposite effect and can ruin the surface.
- When you are cleaning choose a PH neutral water based cleaner designed specifically for hardwood floors. Do not use bleach, amonia or abrasive cleaners or anything that will leave a residue such as furniture spray, these will damage the floors and also void any warranty you may have.
- Dilute your cleaning agent in a bucket of water, if you live in a particularly “hard” water area you may choose to use distilled water to prevent any streaking.
- Mop your floor with the cleaning agent. The most important advice here is to make sure the mop is wrung out thoroughly and is damp rather than wet, though modern surfaces are water resistant, they will not tolerate being wet for long periods.
- Work your way along the grain of the wood, starting in the furthest area and working towards a door so that you don’t have to walk on the wet floor.
- Spot clean tough areas with a cloth, dip this into the cleaning agent and scrub it over the stains with your hand so that you can apply more pressure.
- Once you have cleaned the whole floor, replace the dirty water with clean fresh water, rinse and squeegee out the mop and use it to pick up any dirty water left on the floor.
- Wring the mop dry and rub it over the floor until it’s wet, repeat this process until the floor is dry. Don’t skip this step, this helps to prevent any streaks and makes sure that the floor is not left wet which will ultimately damage the surface.
- Use a dry floor mop to buff the floor.
- Okay we know we said it was 10 tips but this one is the most important… put the kettle, make a coffee and sit back and admire your hardwork
Speaking from experience, I would say definitely do not use a steam cleaner, we had a new oak floor in our home and despite Phil being in the flooring trade for over 30 years and telling me not to use a steam cleaner I thought I knew best. I’ve got to say for a short time, it seemed like I was right, our floors were gleaming and I sat rather smugly with my “little secret”. However it wasn’t long before the floors started to look dull and any stains were getting harder to get rid off, the steam was actually removing the protective coating and now we are left with a floor that looks more like it belongs in an old pub.
On a positive note, after making me live with it for six years we’ll finally be upgrading this year to a whitewashed oak parquet floor… every cloud and all that!