By the end of winter when you are finally getting ready, to do your spring-cleaning your hardwood floors probably have seen better days. Despite how often you clean your hardwood floors during the winter by the time winter is over they are grimy and dull looking. A big part of spring-cleaning is doing everything that you can to turn your hardwood floors into gleaming, gorgeous floors that you can be proud of.
Here are some things that you will need to do when cleaning your hardwood floors.
Number one: Determine the finish
Before you even grab a bucket and a mop to begin cleaning your hardwood floors you want to find out how your hardwood floors are sealed. The reason for this is that how they are sealed is going to make a difference in what you use to clean the floors and what you have to do to take care of the floors. Some people are under the impression that it is the wood type, which determines how your floors are cleaned and cared for, but they are mistaken. Here is a look at the various types of finishes that are used on hardwood floors:
- Surface-sealed floors - most new hardwood floors are sealed with urethane, polyurethane, or polyacrylic. These types of floors are stain and water-damage resistant and are the easiest type of floors to care for. To clean them all you need to do is sweep and mop and you are done.
- Penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors - this is where a penetrating seal or oil finish soaks into the wood grain and then hardens. In caring for this type of floor, you will need to pamper it because it can be damaged quite easily. You will need to protect the floor with liquid or paste wax.
- Lacquered, varnished, shellacked, and untreated floors - these types of floors are not as resistant to moisture, spills, and wear as the other types of sealants. You will want to treat these floors like you do penetrating-seal-treated or oil-treated by using a liquid or paste wax to protect the floor.
Number two: Cleaning chemicals
When cleaning your surface-sealed hardwood floors you will want to avoid using any oils, waxes or furniture sprays. The reason for this is that they are not good for your hardwood floors. Using oil on hardwood floors will leave a thin residue and furniture spray will create a slippery surface. You want to avoid using wax because it takes time to apply, but it can also make recoating your hardwood floors difficult.
When cleaning the surface-sealed hardwood floors you want to use a floor-cleaning product that is recommended by the floor finisher or just stick to plain soap and water. You never want to use straight ammonia, alkaline products, or abrasive cleaners. The reason behind this is that these types of cleaners can cause damage to your hardwood floors by scratching and dulling the finish.
You can also use vinegar and water or water alone to mop your hardwood floors, but you should never rely on that as your only cleaning method. The reason for this is that over time if you only use vinegar and water or just water your hardwood floor will become dingy-looking and the dirt buildup is going to get worse instead of better. To get rid of the dirt buildup, and restore the shine to your hardwood floors you will need to use some soap and water. When using soap make sure you use a mild or pH-neutral soap, you can also use Murphy Oil Soap. All you have to do is add a quarter cup of soap to a bucket of water and then mop.