Tips From the Pros: How to Clean Hardwood Floors

A man hand applying wood care products and cleaners on hardwood floor surface.

Shining hardwood floors are a real show-stopper in the interior of a home. However, without proper care, hardwood can become worn, dull, and, even worse, scratched. A busy lifestyle and the call of everyday obligations can make it hard to find the time to invest in maintaining the brilliance of your hardwood floors. 

Hardwood floors can be quite an investment, and when they’re not properly cared for, they will wear. That’s why TLC Cleaning has a few tips on how to clean hardwood floors and to keep them looking their best for years to come. 

If you find you lack time to invest in maintaining your hardwood, contact TLC Cleaning to keep your floors shining while you’re away. We service Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. 

How to Clean Hardwood Floors: The Basics

Beautiful, clean hardwood floors in a nicely decorated living room/kitchen.

When it comes to cleaning and caring for them, it’s done the same way whether you have pine, bamboo, oak, or cherry floors. However, if you know your flooring type and the manufacturer, it could be helpful to see if there are any additional care instructions available.

When caring for your floors, you can follow a formula: sweep, mop, restore. Once the floors are restored to their original sleek beauty, regular maintenance becomes a manageable task.  

Sweep the Debris

Someone wearing blue slipeprs and socks sweeping the floor. Sweeping is the first step of how to clean hardwood floors.

The build-up of dirt, debris, and pet hair are the primary culprits of scratching the floor. It’s crucial to remove the debris, especially in high-traffic areas.

A few tips to keep your floors dirt-free:  

  • A dry microfiber mop is great for picking up and trapping loose dirt. Or use a regular, soft-bristled dust broom to sweep up. (hard bristles can scratch the floor’s finish)
  • If using a vacuum, make sure to either turn off the beater brush or use a floor attachment. When using the beater bar, you risk scratching and damaging the floors. 
  • It would be best if you swept the floors at least once a week. While a deep cleaning could be necessary for high-traffic areas and common places pets reside.

Mop the Floors

Someone wet mopping with a lime green bucket and mop. Mopping is the second step for how to clean hardwood floors.

Once you have cleared the floors from all the loose debris, dirt, and hair, it’s time to start wet mopping. Sweeping won’t clean the dirt or grime that has built up. It may be essential to mop high-traffic areas more frequently than once a week. 

A few tips to keep the grime at bay:

  • When you mop the floors make sure you wring out all excess water; you want a damp mop, not a sopping wet, plop mop. 
  • Standing water can cause damage to the wood and can strip the finish.
  • You should clean your floors with a recommended hardwood floor cleaner. These wood floor cleaners are formulated and tested to clean and help protect.    
  • If using a steam mop, make sure it has a hardwood setting. If there is too much heat and steam, it can cause damage to the finish. 
  • Avoid mopping with harsh cleaners. Harsh chemicals will dull the finish of the floor. 
  • Use caution when using any DIY or homemade cleaning solutions containing vinegar and water. Concoctions with a high vinegar content can erode the finish. It’s always best to do a spot test.

Restore the Floor Finish 

Hardwood floors with polish on the left side, and unpolished on the right.

Sweeping and mopping won’t rectify dulling or scratched floors. Restoring your hardwood to its former glory will rid the floor of scratches, scuffs, and lackluster appearance.

Part of restoring hardwood floors is knowing how to care for them properly. 

A few tips on restoring: 

  • A liquid scratch concealer works well to conceal scratches. Once cured, the concealer hardens and protects your floors from future scratches and won’t come off while cleaning. But make sure you get a color that matches your finish as close as possible. 
  • Use a hardwood floor polish to bring back shine and remove micro-scratches. 
  • Read the instructions for the floor polish and go over some Do’s and Don’ts before you get started. 
  •  Try a hardwood floor wax, but do your research. Hardwood floor wax will interfere with the finish of a Polyurethane finish. Check the care instructions of the flooring manufacturer. 
  • Other restoring methods could include scratch repair kits and touch-up repair kits. 

Maintain the Hardwood Floors 

Gorgeous and shiny, well-maintained hardwood floors.

Once you have swept, mopped, and restored your floors, the best part is that maintenance is minimal. Once you incorporate taking care of your hardwood floors into your cleaning routine, it should be a breeze. 

A few tips on maintaining your hardwood floors:

  • Dry mop or sweep with a soft-bristled broom at least once a week. 
  • Use a recommended hardwood floor cleaner to remove any built-up dirt residue.
  • Mop the floors with a hardwood-safe cleaner at least once a month, but more often for high-traffic areas.
  • Apply a fresh coat of finish to the hardwood floors every couple of years. 

Protect the Floors 

A small area rug place in a high-traffic area of the kitchen to protect from wear and tear on hardwood floors.

Protecting your floors from the damaging effects of dirt and other small debris is the best way to ensure you get the most out of your investment. 

A few tips on protecting your hardwood:

  • Place rugs near the entrances of your home; this will provide guests and furry friends a place to remove dirt and small rocks from their shoes and paws that could scratch the floors. 
  • Remove shoes and leave them near the entrance to prevent tracking in particles that could cause abrasions. 
  • If you have pets in the home, cut their nails frequently to keep them from scratching the surface. 
  • The floors in high-traffic areas see the most wear and tear. Protecting these areas with rugs will protect the flooring from potential scratches, spills, and everyday traffic. 
  • Rugs also create a barrier between your hardwood floors and heavy furniture. When shifted, heavy furniture can cause gouges or deep scratches in the wood. Alternatively, you can use furniture pads on the bottom of the legs and feet of furniture to protect the wood. 
  • Always clean spills promptly, and make sure they are completely dry.

Learn How to Clean Hardwood Floors from TLC Cleaning

A professional cleaner wearing bright green cleaning gloves mopping a hardwood floor.

If you know how to care for hardwood floors, they can last for years and bring warmth and style to your home, but sometimes life is busy, and we fall behind on things like restoring the floor. If this is the case for you, contact TLC Cleaning

We do the cleaning, so you get back to doing what’s important!

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