Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Some hardwood floors can easily get water damaged and the finishes can be stripped by harsh cleaners. It is important to know how to clean your hardwood floors to insure that they will continue to look beautiful for years to come. This is a guide about cleaning hardwood floors.

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I have hardwood and tile floors. I tried everything to make them shine. One day I was in a hurry. I grabbed a bucket, put in about 1/2 cup of borax, filled it with hot water, and mopped all the floors. When they were dry, it looked like I waxed and buffed them! So simple and so cheap! No more Mop and Glo!

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    I moved into a house where I have real hardwood floors. My old house had laminate and I've tried everything a steam mop, a steam vacuum mop, the regular mop by hand method, and I always had streaky laminate floors. With the new house and hardwood, which is about 11 years old, I was determined to find a way to have streak free floors. I have tried many combinations of natural solutions different mops and always end up non-streak free but today I realize there's only one solution to the problem no matter what cleaning products you want to use.

    The first step is to vacuum or sweep. Then fill a bucket 1/4 full, with;

    • warm water
    • 1 cup white vinegar
    • 3 drops "drops" of dish soap, drop the soap into still water to avoid suds

    Next, using a mop start with a small section. Here's the trick, immediately throw an absorbent clean towel down and using the mop wipe the floor dry. Continue in sections. Remember you may have to get extra towels as they get too damp. The problem that we're having with the streaks is the water is drying in place and leaving a watermark, so if you wipe the excess water immediately ya got a beautiful shine.

    shiny hardwood floor
      CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
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      Red wax stains on wood floor.After removing the wax from the floor, there is a red stain left behind. I have tried numerous products that were recommended on this site, but none of them work.

      By Rich L.

      AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      Use a magic eraser from Mr. Clean. It's the only thing that works. You have to scrub very hard for awhile but it will take it up.

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      I clean for a couple that has wooden floors and 2 very large dogs that track in and out all day long. I only clean there once a week and the dirt from the dogs paws is bad. Everything I have tried makes the floor look as if I just smeared the dirt around. I do vacuum before mopping. What can I use to make this floor shine and make this couple happy?
      Thanks,
      DeeAnn
      in Illinois

      AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      From all that was stated, I wonder what you tried and did any of the following work for you and if so, what did the trick?

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      My house has unsealed wooden floors that were sanded and oiled around 15 years ago. They need a spruce up. Does anyone know of a surface application of something that won't damage the timber or does it look like another sand and oil?

      By Rebecca B.

      AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      I am surprised you haven't slipped and fallen on some of your slippery choices.

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      Try using tea to clean your wood floors. It works.

      By pittypatty

      Editor's Note: We are assuming this is non sweetened brewed black tea. Has anyone else tried this?

      CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      Regarding someone's question on 8/22 on cleaning polyurethaned hardwood floors. I'm also looking for cleaning info. I have already found out not to use Murphy's Oil Soap (or any products with oil), water, soaps, sprays (like Liquid Gold), and vinegar. Bona appears to be a leading cleaner, but has a wide range of satisfaction reviews.

      Has anyone tried a mild solution of Windex and water? When I had the floors sanded (about 20 years ago), I vaguely remember the contractor mentioning Windex. Thanks for your response.

      By Miss Diezella from Washington, DC

      AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      Windex has ammonia so I'd probably steer clear. Bona so far has worked the best and I've tried all.

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      To clean my hardwood floors, can I use Murphy's Oil Soap straight (without adding water)? I love the smell and cleaning with it.

      By Steph

      AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      I've used this before. I love the smell, it looks very clean. I get on my hands and knees and clean in sections. I just don't know how to get my floor to shine. My floor has never shined. I was told that some wood floors just don't shine it's the kind of wood it is.

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      What is the best way to clean wood floors?

      By Heather K.

      AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      I have oldstyle wood floors and when I want to clean them really well, I use a bucket full of warm water, a little dish detergent and a couple of squirts of baby oil. Seems to work great!

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      After cleaning,the floor is streaky. We've tried several products without any improvement. Before buying another piece of equipment, we need some direction.

      By Jeanne

      AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      Try this!

      Dry-mop or vacuum floor

      This gets rid of all surface dirt and debris.

      Mop floor, going with the grain

      If your floors are polyurethaned, dampen a mop with water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Be sure to ring out the mop thoroughly before using it on the floor. Run the mop back and forth, going with the grain of the wood in smooth strokes.

      Tip: If your floors are lacquered or shellacked, dont use water, which can stain the wood and cause buckling.

      Buff floor with a cloth

      To lift soapy residue after mopping and make your floor shine, hold a soft cloth in your hand and use it to rub the floor gently in a circular motion. Still not sparkling? Use a wood-floor cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.

      Tip: Cloth diapers work well for buffing, because theyre very soft and absorbent.

      ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      I watch garage sales and the Goodwill (last chance store) for really cheap flannel king size sheets. I cut them into Swiffer squares. When I use them, I spray with Endust first. I "never" throw them in the washer -- yuck, so I toss them out after using.

      Endust is the "only" spray furniture polish you should ever use on a floor. Any other furniture polish is slick as ice! I mean it! Very dangerous. Not so with Endust. You can use it on a floor very safely.

      I really like my Swiffer mop. Easy, fast, Bam!

        CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        I used Top job on hardwood floors and it has a coating that will not come off. Could you please tell me how to get this off?

        By Becky from Burnsville, NC

        AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        I have had my own cleaning business for 14 years, and have tried many floor cleaners...with that said, I will share my experience and opinion. I am afraid that the use of Top Job cleaner may have etched your floors. (Leaving a cloudy appearance ). Using ammonia is risky and I do not recommend it. If this is the case, the only option to "fix" your floors is to re sand. If they are laminate... consider replacement.

        ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        Has anyone tried the new swiffer-like microfiber cleaning system for wood floors that comes with a cleaner and upkeep liquids? It runs about $15. We have an older wood floor with some dark spots that were under a carpet we removed and has some scratches. I have used the swiffer wet pads on the wood floors and it leaves them sticky.

        I have cats, so frequent hair removal is a must, and they like to throw up on the floor. I dry mop (sweep) a couple times a week and wet mop every 2 weeks or spot clean the pet presents.

        Thanks!
        Debi from Youngstown, OH

        AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        How do you get scuff marks off hardwood floors? I have heard using a dry clean tennis ball?

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        My question is about cleaning wood floors after carpeting is removed. We don't have the funds for a professional to do it, so how do I clean and prep wood floors after the carpeting has been removed from 2 rooms in the house?

        By MizAyo from Chicago, IL

        AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        Do as Chloelizabeth says but if there are faded or discolored use some Old English on it, this will make it blend in. Good luck, wood floors are so beautiful!

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        Can you please tell me how to remove the residue from my Santos mahogany high gloss hardwood floors? With using Bona, Minwax, and several other products such as Murphy's wood cleaner, there is a dull film that I have been trying to remove for months. It's to the point where I can hardly stand to look at the floors anymore and was thinking about taking them up completely. Please send me an SOS on how to save my floor. Thank you sincerely for your reply.

        By Glenda

        AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        We have dark mahogany floors that were factory finished. Anything other than water with a few drops per quart of dishwashing liquid leaves a sticky film that attracts dirt. We are actually having these floors refinished, because they are always dirty looking, no matter how clean you keep them. Wish I had better news.

        ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        I just had hardwood floor installed, we cleaned it with a Shark steam cleaner. It looked good, but due to so much dust, etc. I decided to apply Quick Shine by Holloway House. It left streaks! Now how do I get that off; or how do I get my floor to look nice and even with no streaks?

        By Marlana

        AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        I have a shark steam cleaner that I use on my ceramic tile floors, but never on my hardwood floors. I strongly advise you not to use a shark steam cleaner on hardwood floors. I believe there is even a warning on the instructions not to use it on hardwood because the water from the steam will go into the cracks of your hardwood and eventually it will discolour them and warp the boards.

        Either fill an empty (fine) spray bottle with a solution of 1/2 cup vinegar to 4 cups water, or go to a trusted hardware store and ask the salesperson for a hardwood cleaning solution in a spray bottle. Use a wide soft mop and follow the directions on the bottle. Use the spray sparingly, damp mop (not wet) following the grain of the wood, and buff any dampness off your floor until it is dry.

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        What can I use to clean hardwood floors that are unfinished? The floors were finished at one time (years ago), but now they are dirty and very dull. I'm fixing up an old house, but I've got to clean these floors first!

        By rach

        AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        You might try white vinegar and water mixed 1/2 & 1/2 and wipe it up quickly.

        ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        I worked for a cleaning company and we always had those floors. We used a flat mop by O-Cedar and just water. Go over it with a wet one (not soaked), then a dry one in small sections. The best way though is unfortunately on your hands and knees. Same wet then dry, but it looks amazing when you're done.

          CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          I am looking for a terry cloth mop for use with Bellawood hardwood floor cleaner.

          Mark

          AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          I have a double sized 'Swiffer' type mop, and got tired of buying the pads for it, so I went to the Dollar store and bought microfiber towels, and use those for cleaning my wood floors with a spray on cleaner. I stretch them tight and push them into the holes on the top of the mop, and they fit and stay on perfectly. The microfiber leaves no lint and minimal streaking, I can rinse them while cleaning or remove them and put another one on when it gets dirty, and they wash up perfectly in the laundry!

          ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
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          How do I get grime off a wood floor around the cabinet edges? I have a wood floor in my kitchen.

          By Pat O.

          AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          Degreaser, WD40, apply to rag, rub briskly and it should come off.

          Also try white vinegar, should work a treat.

          ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
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          Home and Garden Cleaning FloorsJuly 13, 2011
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