Anyone else thrilled that carpet’s on the way out? I know they may sound intimidating to care for, but cleaning hardwood floors is easier than you think.
So, read on for my simple routine and homemade wood floor cleaner, plus tips to deal with marks and stains.
How Often to Clean Wood Floors
Vacuum your floors with the hard floor setting at least once a week. In between times, use a dust mop 2-3 times a week to clean up any debris. If you’ve got a bunch of pets or kids, you might want to do it daily in high-traffic areas. (I make it part of my daily cleaning routine.)
It sounds like a lot, I know, but dirt and dust are abrasive and grinding them underfoot will make your wood floors dull before their time.
Wood and water aren’t the best combination, but you also don’t want to live with grimy floors. So, when you mop, use as little water as possible.
In fact, using a spray bottle is a great way to go: it’s convenient, and you can always keep some on hand. Try it with my homemade wood floor cleaning spray below.
Spot Treating Stains
Even with precautions, spills and stains happen. To keep your wood floors looking their best, it’s important to treat messes right away. Here’s how:
- Scuffs: Rub them away with a tennis ball or felt cloth.
- Black marks: Use a pink eraser or the fuzzy part of a clean tennis ball.
- Glue or tape residue: Apply a bit of oil, wait a few minutes, then wipe with a damp microfiber cloth. Finish with hardwood floor cleaner.
- Grease: Use a sparing amount of warm, soapy water then wipe the area clean with a fresh, damp cloth. Buff dry with a soft towel.
Every 2-3 months, it’s essential to deep clean your hardwood floors. That involves moving furniture to clean beneath and behind it. Also, roll up area rugs and vacuum underneath to remove any trapped grit.
Then, vacuum and then mop your wood floor wall-to-wall, and don’t forget to address those corners with an old toothbrush to get rid of stubborn grime.
Protecting Your Wood Floors
Protecting your wood floors is key to keeping them beautiful. In addition to immediately cleaning up spills, there are some other steps you can take to keep your wood floors clean and gleaming:
- Use doormats at all entrances to catch dirt.
- Enforce a no-shoe policy indoors (especially heels and cleats).
- Attach felt pads to furniture legs.
- Keep your pets’ nails trimmed.
- Avoid placing houseplants directly on wood floors.
Steam cleaners are great for lots of flooring types, but hardwood floors aren’t one of them. The high heat and moisture involved can damage the wood and its finish. This can lead to buckled floors or a failing subfloor—two very expensive consequences.
Use a DIY Spray Instead of a Bucket
Using a microfiber mop and a spray bottle of floor cleaner is a convenient option and much safer for your wood floors than a mop and bucket. Spraying controls how much moisture you lay down on the floor, so there’s no risk of it seeping between gaps or soaking into scratches and damaging your floorboards.
Homemade Wood Floor Cleaner
Equipment and Materials
- Measuring cup
- Spray bottle
- 2 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar no substitutions
- 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol isopropyl, 70% strength max
- 3 drops liquid dish soap not moisturizing or plant-based
- 3 drops essential oil optional, for fragrance
- Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and swirl gently.
- Mist a 3-foot area then mop.
- Rinse or change your mop head as needed to avoid streaks.
With these cleaning tips, your wood floors will stay in top shape and look amazing for years to come. So now let’s talk about the right way to vacuum your carpets and area rugs!