In my years of having hardwood floors, I’ve discovered there are about as many different opinions on how to keep a floor shiny as there are hardwood floors!
So, I’ve narrowed down the consensus on what hardwood floor owners and experts have to say. Read on for some of the best tips for keeping your floor shining like a new dime.
Prevention Is the First Step!
Two things dull a hardwood floor’s sheen: Surface scratches and buildup of grime or cleaning products. Preventing scratches on hardwood is the easier part, but you have to be diligent about it!
- Keep the floor as dust-free as possible. Feet (and paws) walking over dust, sand, dirt and grit will gradually mar the floor’s finish. Besides regular sweeping and vacuuming (with a unit safe for hardwood, like a backpack vacuum cleaner), use rough-textured doormats outside each exterior door as well as mats and rugs inside doorways and in high-traffic areas.
- Avoid scuffs and dings by keeping street shoes off the floor. Go barefoot or wear socks or slippers indoors. (This will also keep out most of the dirt and grime.)
- Put pads or cups on furniture legs. A super-cheap option: Cut the toes off old socks and slip them over furniture feet. And always take care when moving heavy furniture or objects.
- If you have pets, keep their nails or claws trimmed and filed.
Mopping Rules for Shine + Protection
Sweeping and vacuuming will remove most of the dust on your floor, but not all. Hardwood floors benefit from regular mopping with some type of liquid cleaner, but here’s where you have to be careful.
- Test the floor’s seal. Sprinkle a little water on the floor, and if it beads up or rolls around, the seal is intact and light mopping won’t hurt anything. But if the water sinks into the floor, the seal has worn away or is damaged, and the floor is no longer water resistant. You need to look into refinishing the floor.
- Get rid of as much dust and dirt as you can before you mop! Swirling grit around with a mop will just scratch the floor and mar the shine.
- Never let the floor become sopping wet or allow water to stand on the floor. That is a sure way to damage the wood and cause it to warp or buckle. It’s best to follow a mopping immediately by buffing with a dry towel or microfiber cloth.
Which Cleaner Is Best?
If you know who manufactured or installed your hardwood floor, consult them first about the best way to clean your floor and which products to use. If you have no idea, it’s time to do a little experimentation.
- If your floor is wax-sealed and looking dull, it’s possible the floor needs to be stripped and re-waxed. At the very most, waxed wood floors should be redone twice a year.
- You don’t have to purchase an expensive hardwood cleaner. In fact, too much cleaner can build up over time, dulling the shine. Experiment with a weak vinegar-in-water solution. Try 1 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water. However, keep in mind that while some hardwood floor experts swear by vinegar, others say it’s too harsh on wood.
- Another option is to try a weak black tea infusion. Two teabags steeped in about a quart of water for 10 to 15 minutes should do the trick.
- If you do try a commercial product, such as Murphy’s Oil Soap, don’t go overboard. Too much product will build up and dull the shine.
Consider grabbing the best vacuum for the money and making sure that it’s an actual hardwood floor vacuum. This is one of the most important steps to keeping your wood floors maintained. Dirt and dust can build up over time and cause havoc to your floors natural shine.
Is Vacuuming The Best Approach for Keeping Hardwood Floors Clean?
We all know that vacuuming is the best approach for keeping carpets clean, but many people still have differing opinions on whether or not vacuuming is the best option for hardwood floors.
Hardwood flooring is beautiful but can be expensive to install, so naturally the thought of vacuuming and potentially damaging your floor can be nerve wracking.
However, from experience, vacuuming is without a doubt the most effective way to remove dust and dirt from any floor surface, including hardwood.
What Are The Benefits of Vacuuming Hardwood Floors?
Firstly, using a vacuum cleaner is much faster and more thorough than the traditional sweeping with a broom method. Dust and dirt which are left on the surface are a big danger for scratches so removing the most dust you can is highly important.
Your floors will also seem to stay cleaner for longer as much more dust is suctioned up with a vacuum then a broom and dustpan can remove. Many vacuums have various attachments which are great for cleaning under and around furniture and beats having to move furniture around any day.
When cleaning your floors using the traditional broom, dust and dirt tend to get pushed and scattered around the room and into the air, which can be troublesome for those with asthma or allergies, however, using a vacuum cleaner eliminates this issue. Most vacuums contain a filtration system designed to reduce dust and other allergens and contain them inside the bag or canister for easy removal.
Many homes today have different flooring types throughout their home, such as a combination of carpet and hardwood and using a vacuum cleaner with the ability to clean various flooring types is easier and quicker than switching between cleaning methods as you clean from room to room.
Won’t a Vacuum Scratch My Floor?
While many people still fear that vacuuming a hardwood floor will lead to scratches, the guys over at Home Floor Experts certainly don’t think so, provided the right vacuum is used and certain precautions are taken. In fact, many newer models of vacuum cleaner are designed to be used on hardwood flooring and contain soft bristles to ensure your hardwood floors stay looking like new.
Cons of Vacuuming
- Using the wrong type of vacuum can lead to scratched floors.
- Rotating brushes tend to push the dust and dirt as a broom would.
- Vacuum cleaners take up more room in storage than a broom, so smaller households without carpeting might be concerned with this, however most households already need a vacuum cleaner for carpeting.
In a new article released by Vacuum Companion, we learned just how important it really is to take note of the above cons so that using a vacuum cleaner on hardwood flooring can be rectified by choosing a model which is appropriate for hardwood floors.
More Things to Keep in Mind
- Look for soft, non rotating bristles, or a model which can turn the bristles off. This will avoid unwanted scratching.
- Ideally you should find a lightweight model, as the heavier the vacuum cleaner is the more likely an accidental scratch may occur.
- Padding on the vacuum head and rubber wheels will prevent any accidental scratches from happening while cleaning.
- Most people find that canister style vacuums tend to be better for hardwood, however the improvements in vacuum technology mean that today there are many suitable options if you prefer an upright model.
- Models with stronger suction will be more effective at removing pet hair from your floors.