Hardwood floors seem to be the most coveted floors for offices and residential homes these days. They give your home a very clean, sleek look, along with the benefit of being allergy friendly. There are so many kinds of hardwood floors, along with different textures, finishes, and looks-the possibilities seem endless!
We have serviced numerous homes, and I can think of ten different types of hardwood floors we have had to clean already, and I’m sure there are many more then I have even seen. So what is the best way to keep these floors clean and spot free? Hardwood floors are beautiful, but as with any type of flooring, they do not enhance your home when they are dirty! Footprints, food, dust and dirt all take away from the beauty of hardwood floors. In the next few chapters I am going to quickly give several cleaning options depending on the type of hardwood floors you have.
There are a lot of products out there, but from my opinion (and somewhat expert), there are only a few good one’s that should be used. I will start with the cheapest and most common, the most expensive.
1. Good old fashion windex. Yes I said it…windex. There is a standard rule to use when treating hardwood floors. Anything you can use on windows, can be used on hardwood floor. This would also include vinegar.
2. Murphy’s oil-this is my least favorite product to use now, mainly because the type of hardwood floor previously in home’s has changed drastically.
3. Pine sol (lemon of course) with a little bit of vinegar.
4. Bruce hard floor cleaner-sold only at Home Depot as far as I know it. This cleaner can only be used with a Terry cloth sponge (the mop head and sponge come in the kit).
5. Last but not least, my favorite “Bona”-sold at Lowe’s, Benjamin Moore, and Bed Bath and Beyond. If you buy this kit, it comes with a fuzzy sweeper, and a terry cloth sponge to clean the floors with.
I know I just gave you a long list, but I will specify which product works best on which floors.
If you have the good old fashioned hardwood floors, that were installed as actual wood, sanded, stained, then treated with a finish (my favorite kind of floors), then you can use any of the above products. You can use a wet mop, and mix Murphy’s oil with a little bit of lemon pine sol; lemon pine sol mixed with a little bit of vinegar; or a dry terry cloth mop with either Bruce cleaner or Bona.
This type of floor does not dry streaked, therefore your only concern is to basically get if cleaned. You don’t have to worry about it drying streaked.
The other types of floors, are those that are installed into your home, but do not require anything but assembly. THe stain, sanding and finish is all done in the factory…so when the floors come into your home, the contractors only need to nail them into place. These floors are the most difficult to keep up with, because the finish on them dries streaky if not cleaned properly. This type of flooring is in the majority of homes today.
The best product to use on these is
1. Always use a terry cloth rag ( no wet mop). These are found in the Bruce and Bona kit.
2. Bruce Hard wood cleaner
3. Bona Hardwood cleaner
Depending on the color of your floor, certain products may work better. I have found that Bona works best on all three. It seems that Bruce does not work as good on dark hardwood floors, not exactly sure why.
If you have a residue on your floors, or can’t seem to get them really clean, then I recommend using Amonia, along with a rag (if you clean them on your hands and knees), or a terry cloth rag attached to a stick pole. You must change your water every few feet, to keep the residue from being spread over the area you are trying to clean. This will get the finish up, and allow you to “start over” so to speak with cleaning and maintaining your floors.
Now if money is an issue (as the Hardwood floor cleaners can get expensive), you can subsitute windex for the Bruce or Bona cleaner. Also use with the terry cloth rag and stick pole that come with the kit.
Every once in a while, you may want to clean your floors with hot water, and a cleaning product mentioned above, but do this very little. Water will strip the shiny finish off of your hardwood, causing it to dull. I only mop my floors when they have been tracked up from food and dirt, or excessive traffic. After I mop them, I do have to follow up with the Bona cleaner, to get the shine back into my floors.
I realize there are other products out there for hardwood floor (which I will not mention), however I do not recommend using them. They look good at first, but eventually either strip your floors, or leave a residue that is hard to get up.
I hope you found this article helpful, and you achieve the shiny new look you once had after cleaning, as you did when you first bought the floors. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend anything for scratches and nicks….sorry :-(