Whether at home or in the workplace, hardwood flooring is the perfect solution in a wide range of rooms. However, as with any other flooring, it will require a little TLC from time to time, especially if you want to keep it looking fabulous for years to come. Knowing how to deep clean hardwood floors is the first step towards keeping your floors looking fantastic.
Here’s everything you need to know about restoring your hardwood floors to their former glory by removing dust, dirt, and other stains that surface due to daily usage.
Understanding Your Flooring
Before cleaning the floors in your home or commercial property, it’s important to find out a little information about the type and durability of your flooring. Durability can be defined by longevity, resistance to moisture, or resistance to dents via the Janka Hardness scale.
Laminate flooring is a cheaper option to hardwood, but is far less resistant and requires an entirely different approach to cleaning and general care.
Hardwood flooring can be categorized as either traditional solid hardwood or engineered hardwood. Traditional solid options are expensive but are manufactured from single pieces of wood that feature a tongue-and-groove profile, meaning they can be sanded and repaired if required too. However, they are less resistant to moisture, which is crucial information when cleaning the hardwood floor.
Engineered hardwood flooring is less vulnerable to moisture because it is made using two or more layers of wood. It is topped with a veneer layer, which can vary in size. Thinner options limit your sanding opportunities, but you can still clean this type of finish.
Popular variants of hardwood flooring include Maple, Rosewood, Walnut, Cherry, Brazilian Cherry, Pine, Hickory, Ash, Oak, Mahogany, Lyptus, Cedar, Fir, Teak, and Merbau. An appreciation of the exact hardwood type allows you to consider maintenance options while also understanding potential moisture threats.
So, How Should Hardwood Floors Be Cleaned?
Knowing which type of hardwood floor you possess is one thing, but knowing how to clean it in an effective and responsible manner is another. Follow the steps below, and you won’t go wrong.
Step 1: Identify the Finish
While the type of wood has an impact on the look of the floor, it’s the finish that truly dictates which cleaning techniques and materials are best suited to the job. Hardwood flooring finishes can fall into one of to categories; surface finishes and penetrating finishes.
Surface finishes are manufactured to incorporate a protective barrier layer on the surface of the wood. They pool water rather than absorb it, meaning you can use water-based cleaning materials. Conversely, penetrating finishes are topped with a wax coat and will absorb moisture, which can destroy the wood. Solvent-based cleaning products are vital.
The easiest way to test the finish of your hardwood floor is to scrape off a small amount from a hidden part of the flooring using a knife. If it’s clear, you have a surface finish; if the finish smudges, it’s an indication of a penetrating finish.
Step 2: Remove Dust
Hardwoods show dust, pet hairs, and other debris in a more visible manner than carpets and alternative flooring types. Therefore, you must incorporate regular sweeping and vacuuming into your routines. Using a dry mop that boasts a microfiber cloth pad or a vacuum equipped with a floor-brush attachment is key.
This step can be used for both types of finish.
Step 3: Deep Clean Dirt Buildups
When dusting processes don’t work, it’s necessary to complete a deep clean. For a surface finished hardwood, using a pH-neutral, wax-free, and petroleum-free cleaner is advised. Using a damp (but not soaking) mop, create circular motions to lift the dirt and grime. Then rinse the mop with clean water and use the damp mop head to wash the hardwood clean. Dab a clean towel on the area to get it dry.
Penetrating finishes require a slightly different approach. Clean the wood with a cloth that is saturated in mineral spirits, and let it sit for five minutes. Once you have dried it with a clean and dry cloth, apply a solvent-based hardwood floor wax before using circular motions and an electric polish to create the desired finish.
Deep cleaning should be completed every six months, or more frequently if the floor looks particularly dirty.
Step 4: Remove Tough Stains
Your hardwood flooring may encounter a number of difficult stains. Dried food can often be lifted with the edge of a plastic knife while the final parts can be gently scrubbed. When it’s a penetrating floor, you may need to apply some polish afterward to restore the look.
Oil stains are best fought with TSP. Add two teaspoons to a bucket of water and then use a clean cloth and circular motions to lift the stain. Then dry it out. Meanwhile, candle wax and chewing gum is best treated with ice. Place a bag of ice on the area to loosen it up before lifting it with a plastic knife. Once again, penetrating floors may require a little polishing.
Tough stains caused by water and ink on penetrating floors can be treated by lightly sanding the stain with sandpaper before using a damp cloth and steel wool wet with mineral spirits to wipe the stains away. The wax must then be added. For surface finished floors, a purpose-designed scouring pad and hardwood flooring cleaner will suffice.
And if the Floor is Beyond Saving?
The harsh reality is that failure to treat stains in time can cause irreparable damage. Likewise, even the most durable hardwoods will lose their appeal after a certain amount of time.
If your hardwood flooring is beyond saving, Carpet Direct can help you find, install, and protect a new solution. Call us to find out more and get a free quote.