Wood is a popular choice as flooring material, and the outlook for hardwood floor sales is quite optimistic. Natural wooden floors are quite the investment, so it’s also natural to take good care and exercise caution when cleaning them. But how do you take care of hardwood floors?
We get a lot of “How to clean wooden floor” questions every day, and we try to answer all of them as well as we can. Here are some of the most frequently asked ones:
What’s the best way to clean wooden floors?
Different types of wood call for different types of cleaning. However, getting rid of dust, dirt and debris ensures that you get a thorough clean for your floors. It serves as the first step in deep cleaning and maintenance as well.
Vacuums for cleaning hardwood floors
Some vacuums are designed specifically to clean natural and synthetic hardwood floors. If you don’t have one designed for hardwood floors, you only need to make sure that the beater bar (for older models) or the brush strips (for newer models) is set to a higher location so it doesn’t damage your wooden floor’s protective finish. Hardwood vacuum cleaners either skip this beater bar tool altogether or have the option for the beater bar to be turned off.
Brooms for cleaning hardwood floors
Brooms get a bad rap for hardwood floor cleaning. It’s a primitive tool, after all, and most wouldn’t even consider the lowly broom for this type of job. However, many new broom models are being designed to get dust and debris off wooden floors while keeping your floors in tip-top shape. Instead of the hard bristles, you can opt for the easy-to-wash rubber bristles that can lift up dust, debris and even pet hair.
Also, if you’re concerned about brooms just pushing around what it should be picking up, simply use a dust pan.
Mops for cleaning hardwood floors
Dry and damp mops are the new alternative to brooms. These dust mops are made of microfiber that allows the mop to easily pick up dust. They usually have attachments that are washable, replaceable and adjustable. They are also generally cheaper than vacuum cleaners, but more expensive than brooms.
How do you clean wood floors naturally?
If you’re put off by the rising prices of commercial cleaner, you’re not alone. Using natural cleaning solutions can help you cut down on cleaning costs, so here are some dos and don’ts:
- Use soap – A soap solution is the best alternative to your hardwood floors’ recommended cleaning product. I would recommend a mild soap, but it would be better to clean your wooden floor with a diluted pH-neutral soap solution.
- Use water – You can quickly get rid of dust and dirt on your floor using only a damp microfiber mop. I would recommend this for regular cleaning, but deep cleaning would require a stronger solution than just water. Remember to also go with the grain instead of against it.
- Use vinegar – A vinegar solution is a popular DIY cleaner, but don’t use it on your wood floor. Vinegar is an acid. It could dull the shine of your hardwood floor because the acid reacts with your floor’s protective surface.
- Use edible Oils – I also wouldn’t recommend edible oils since bacteria could grow on these. If you’re going for the shiny finish, there are lots of other wood-based oils that would do the trick.
- Use too much water – Never use a steam cleaner for wooden surfaces. Basically, stay away from anything that would soak wood for an extended period. If possible, get a room dehumidifier.
How do you choose the best hardwood floor vacuum?
Wooden flooring isn’t exactly cheap. Purchase and installation of hardwood material for a regular-sized room typically costs $1,000 or more. It doesn’t necessarily follow that you need an equally expensive vacuum cleaner for your wooden floor, but there are reasons why you should invest in a really good one.
Why you don’t want to use a cheap vacuum for your wooden floor
A lot of cheap vacuum cleaners have beater bars that come with the rolling brush. They’re there because they tug down at carpets and they’re quite helpful in removing dust, debris and pet hair. They’re not necessarily helpful on solid surfaces though, and may even scratch wooden surfaces.
Another bane of the cheap vacuum is its plastic wheels. Dust, dirt, human hair and pet hair may accumulate under these wheels. The vacuum may fail to suck these up, so they’d get stuck underneath the cleaner. When this happens, the combination of stuck wheels and stuck debris can mean risking scratches to your wooden floor’s surface.
What you should look for in a vacuum cleaner
You really don’t have to spend a fortune. All of this doesn’t even mean that you need to buy a new vacuum cleaner. You just know your vacuum cleaner is good to go if:
- It comes with a bare floor mode or adjustable height– Most vacuums have this feature. The bare floor mode is when the vacuum head is much closer to the floor surface, so it cleans the surface better.
- You can turn off the revolving brush– Don’t go into bare floor mode if the revolving brush is turned on. You’d be doing your floor more harm than good.
- It has strong suction power – With the brushes turned off (or removed altogether), the vacuum will rely on its suction power to clean a bare floor. A hardwood vacuum cleaner should ideally have strong suction power to even clean hard-to-reach corners.
- It has easy-to-clean rubber wheels or bumpers – These could cost you more, but they won’t scratch the surface.
And lastly, a few reminders
Sweep using a dust mop or a rubber broom every day. Vacuum every week. Deep clean with a natural or commercial wood cleaning solution every month. Set them up for a maintenance coating at least every 5 years. Whatever you do, never underestimate the power of regular maintenance for your wooden floors. Follow these tips, and you’ll never have to ask how to clean your wooden floor ever again.
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