Spring Cleaning – How to Clean Your Hardwood Floors

Man and Child Home Cleaning

As another carpet of snow covers our lawn, it is hard to believe that spring is mere days away.  We know that spring is around the corner once we start getting questions in about how to clean your hardwood floors.


Prevention is the Best Cure

The best way to preserve any floor is to keep it from getting dirty in the first place. Strategically use mats where possible and create areas for removing soggy boots and shoes. Salt, mud and water are all enemies of hardwood flooring. Imagine the damage that grinding a coarse piece of rock salt will inflict every time you think of waiting to take off your shoes. Not to mention that taking these steps should eliminate the vast majority of dirt that would otherwise end up on your floor.



Less dirt = Less cleaning.

woman and cleaning supplies


As well, you’ll want to use rugs in play areas and make sure attach floor protectors to any furniture. Even a rocking chair can scratch hardwood if people scoot it or twist in it once seated. We recently had a customer shocked to discover scratches and gouges under her rocker when she decided to rearrange the room.


Maintain Your Floor

Keeping disposable electrostatic cloths handy and dusting often is the most sustainable and environmentally friendly way to maintain your hardwood floor. Dust, dirt and pet hair come up in a flash. Be sure to use both sides of the cloth to stretch your dollar and minimize the impact on landfills.


You can also use a vacuum with a floor-brush attachment or an electric broom. Do not use a vacuum with a beater bar attachment unless you can turn it off. The beater bar may scratch a wood floor's finish.


Finally, wipe up spills as soon as possible.


If you maintain the floor, you’ll extend its life and its beauty much longer.


Spring Cleaning

Regardless of how often you maintain your floor, the time will come to renew your hardwood floor with a more thorough cleaning.


But before you do anything other than dust, make sure you know what type of finish your hardwood floor has. Most modern floors have a surface-sealed finish and can tolerate some level of wet cleaning. The other type, a penetrating seal or oil finish soaks into the wood grain and hardens. This type of floor must be pampered and protected with liquid or paste wax.


Don’t Use Vinegar and Water!

Somehow this suggestion keeps resurfacing though every responsible site tries to dispel the myth of water and vinegar as an economical and environmentally safe option for hardwood floors. It's important to remember that you aren't cleaning the wood; you are cleaning the finish on the wood.

woman and cleaning supplies

Because it is acid, vinegar will actually break down the finish on the surface of your floor. It will reduce the shine and dull the appearance.


Mild is the Key


For surface-sealed floors, use mild, environmentally conscious products like ones from Bona. These products work with a sponge or mop. They minimize dampness and prevent standing water on the floor. Always wipe up any excess liquid because standing water can damage wood surfaces. Try to clean the floor on dry days with the windows open. If the weather is humid, use a ceiling fan to speed up drying.


That should do it. If you have any specific cleaning challenges, let us know. We’d be happy to help.