Wood floors need special attention that’s not necessary for vinyl or ceramic. Most hardwood floors are protected with a polyurethane finish that can become dull and damaged from improper cleaning. First: no steam cleaning! Save this for other hard surfaces like ceramic. Don’t use heavy duty brooms, as these can scratch and dull the surface. No floor cleaning machines either. Standing water (or too much water when cleaning) can seep in between floor boards and cause damage. Using the wrong cleaner can dull the surface. Murphy’s oil soap is often used as a gentle wood cleaner, but it will leave a residue on floors. Save it for walls and woodwork instead. Use a product especially made for wood floors. There are several brands like Bona or Minwax, which are better than homemade solutions. These will clean your floors but often leave residue or, like vinegar, can mar polyurethane. Test for residue of any cleaner by using on glass and allowing to dry; residue will be visible.
Do always clean messes immediately. Sweep daily with a soft broom. If you would rather vacuum, find a lightweight one with a gentle roller head. Dyson makes a great one but it’s a little pricy. In any event, be careful that your vacuum doesn’t scratch. Use a micro fiber dry and wet mop. Look for a mop with removable pads that can be machine washed. Don’t use fabric softener when you wash; it will cause streaking. Use cleaner sparingly; put in a spray bottle for even spraying with minimal product. O’Cedar and Libman both have mops with refillable tanks that spray cleaner just where you need it.
It doesn’t take too much work to keep your floors looking great for many years! Full cleaning only needs to be done monthly (or even every other month) if you keep them swept, dusted, and free of sticky messes.
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO