You only need to look in ancient castles and stately homes to realise that with the right care and attention, wood floors will last pretty much forever. While most flooring options will tolerate only a fixed number of sandings in their time, the more your floor is looked after on an ongoing basis, the fewer sandings it’s likely to need and the longer it’ll last. So, when it comes to cleaning your wood floor, there are two benefits of going the extra mile: the first is that your floor will last longer and the second is that it’ll look better, so the rewards are well worth the effort.
In this article, we’d like to focus on the best way to clean wood flooring on a day-by-day basis and what to do when a bit more attention is required. We’ve decided to call these regular cleaning and periodic or ‘deep’ cleaning.
Regular cleaning of wood flooring
Depending on the make-up of your household, you might need to clean your wood floor daily, or only weekly; either way the process is extremely straightforward. If you’re one of those families who have two or three kids, a dog and a cat, then the likelihood is that your floor cleaning habits will be much more frequent than either a couple with no kids or a professional man or woman living alone. No matter what your footfall or your occupancy level, cleaning your wood flooring on a regular basis is as easy as A, B, C or if you prefer; 1, 2, 3. Here’s what you should do:
Clear away any obstacles that’ll get in the way of your cleaning process eg. shoes left by the door, schoolbags on the floor etc.
Sweep or vaccum away all the grit and grime, so the floor is free of dust and dirt.
Mop the floor with a damp mop. A microfiber mop is a great idea here as is a water spray so you can minimise the amount of water getting on to your floor. Unless your floor is really dirty, you shouldn’t need a cleaning product, but if you do, we think this blanchon clear natural soap is great if you have an oiled floor.
Periodic or ‘deep’ cleaning
If you keep your floor in good shape with regular cleaning, then your need for periodic or deep cleaning should be minimized. That said, when your floor starts to look grubby or in need of a good clean and perhaps a re-finish, it’s a good idea to make the effort to do it sooner rather than later.
Here are the various periodic or deep cleaning options you might want to consider:
If you have a wax-oiled floor and it’s starting to show signs of wear and tear, once you’ve followed steps 1 to 3 above, you might want to re-wax your floor. Re-waxing your floor will give it a real new lease of life, nourishing the wood as well as protecting it. The effort it takes to wax your floor will pay off significantly.
If your floor is seriously dirty and grimy and has, for example a lacquered finish, it may be that you need to sand away the old layer of lacquer and start afresh. Again, although this is quite a mammoth task, it will help protect your floor and bring it back to its former glory.
…And finally, here are our TOP TIPS for cleaning wood flooring:
Mop up stains and spills regularly so they don’t get a ‘grip’ on your floor.
Be thorough with your regular cleaning and your periodic, or deep cleaning responsibilities will reduce substantially.
If you choose to use cleaning products, make sure they’re high quality and suited to your specific flooring.
When you move your furnishings to clean, lift them and don’t drag them. Dragging them could cause damage to your floor that’ll spoil the look and could be a nightmare to fix.
When you mop, make sure the floor is completely dry before you replace rugs and mats.
Opt for steam cleaning only in extreme circumstances and if you choose to steam clean, make sure your floor is well sealed to avoid damage.
Invest in seriously high quality outdoor and indoor doormats to stop as much as possible of the muck and grime being dragged across your floor in the first instance.
Original article date 18/10/2011. Last update 11/2/2014