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Cleaning Hardwood Flooring According to Your Floor Finish Type

Today’s guest post is from online writer Veronica Davis, who has worked with several home improvement companies. She’s a previous Planet Green blogger and shares some tips for taking care of your precious hardwood floors.


Does the sound of shoes clicking on hardwood make you smile? Do you enjoy a gorgeous hardwood floor that’s just been waxed or the beauty of a cozy, wood covered living space? If so you are probably an enthusiast of the hardwood floor. While hardwood floors are fairly low maintenance, they still require upkeep. Follow these simple suggestions and keep your hardwood floors looking new all the time.

The first thing to keep in mind before cleaning hardwood floors is the type of finish that was used on your flooring. There are some floors that have been surface-sealed. These are generally wood floors that are newer and are sealed with polycyclic, polyurethane or urethane. These materials are both stain resistant and water resistant. All you have to do is the occasional dusting and mopping.

Other types of hardwood may be treated with a penetrating seal or an oil finish. These types of woods need to be protected with a liquid or paste wax. Additionally, there are varnished floors, lacquered, shellacked and untreated floors. It is important to remember that these floors are not resistant to water, spills or your everyday wear and tear. These floors should also be treated with a liquid wax or if you prefer, a paste wax.

How to clean sealed floors

Avoid using oils, waxes, and furniture sprays. They will leave a residue. This residue will create a very slick surface, which can be dangerous.

Also, avoid wax. Wax can make recoating your hardwood more difficult down the line.

ŸRemember water (or water and vinegar) alone will not do the trick. Water won’t remove the buildup of dirt. Adding vinegar to your water has the potential to make your floors look dull.

ŸNever use a soaking wet sponge to mop with. Always wring your sponge out completely. It is important that you mop in the same direction that the grain of the wood goes. When your water begins to get dingy, get a new clean bucket.

ŸIf you see small cracks in your floors, don’t go into a frenzy. During the cold winter months, wood floors can shrink or crack. As the weather gets warmer, the cracks will get smaller. You can use a humidifier to help with any cracking issues.

ŸIf you are not sure what type of product is best for your hardwood, contact the manufacture of your floor. It can be difficult to do sometimes, though. So, if you can’t get a hold of them, you can normally safely use soap and water.

ŸSweep every day. Follow your sweeping by mopping a couple of times a week, especially in areas that are high traffic.
ŸIf scuff marks become a problem, use a damp sponge that has a little bit of baking soda on it. This will help eliminate them.

Remember to maintenance your floors. Even floors that are designed to not need extensive maintenance will require a recoating approximately every now and then. Normally every five to seven years.

How to care for oil treated, penetrating-seal treated, shellacked, lacquered, varnished and untreated hardwood:

ŸAvoid using water-based, acrylic and one-step furniture waxes. These products can leave your floors looking white, feeling slick, and can actually trap dirt into your floors.

ŸAvoid getting wax floors wet by mopping. Your best bet is to use a gentle vacuum or to sweep your hardwood regularly.
ŸStrip your floors with a stripper when needed in order to remove the buildup of old wax.

ŸOnce or twice a year, use the stripper and apply a new coat of wax. How often you do this is going to depend on how high traffic your floors are.


Thanks Veronica!

She recommends checking for any Sears’s coupons if you need a hardwood-friendly vacuum, any molding pieces or other helpful things for repair and cleaning.



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