Wondering how to maintain and clean your hardwood floor? Reading this article will help you keep your floor looking like it was just installed. Hardwood floors are certainly an investment. The average cost to install a hardwood floor is generally between $2,000 – $6,500. While that’s an average cost, you can invest much more Maintain and Clean Your Hardwood Floordepending on the size of the room(s), the labor cost, the wood you’ll use, any protective layers you apply to the new install and finally, what part of the country you live in. Due to recent increases in the price of wood, you will also have to factor in the added expense for raw materials. In 2021 wood prices have gone up as much as 100%-400%! While this spike in prices isn’t expected to continue indefinitely, it can give pause to deciding to install a wood floor. With hardwood floors being a bit expensive to install, why do people still like to use hardwood? The biggest reasons are:

  • Adds value to your home

  • Durable

  • Long lasting

  • Easy to clean

  • They look amazing

Hardwood continues to be a sought after material for floors for the reasons listed. Given the investment and taking into account that you want your new floor to look amazing for as long as possible, it’s important to properly maintain and clean the wood. While cleaning a hardwood floor might seem like a no-brainer, there’s actually a bit more involved to do it properly. Some of the most prevalent myths about how to clean your hardwood include:

  • Using a bucket of plain water and mop

  • Using vinegar and water

  • Using only a vacuum

  • Using ammonia

  • Using any type of cleaner

It is true that hardwood floors are durable, but they certainly are not indestructible. Let’s go ahead and dispense with each of these myths one-by-one.

Using Plain Water And A Mop

While in some cases water can be used in conjunction with other wood floor specific products, using only water is a recipe for disaster. Most people using just water will oversaturate the mop. Water then seeps into every crack and pore in the wood which will cause swelling. The expansion of the wood leads to cracking of both the wood and the sealant. It’s best to keep water away from hardwood floors.

Using Vinegar And Water

Using vinegar and water as a hardwood floor cleaning solution will have a negative effect on your hardwood floors over time. Vinegar is made with acetic acid. The acetic acid will derogate your floor finish making it more susceptible to scuffing, scratching and dulling the floor coating over time. Its acetic nature dissolves and solubilizes the dirt particle. Whereas a pH-neutral cleaner encapsulates the dirt particle so you can wipe it away with a mop.

Using Only A Vacuum

Vacuums can be used to clean hardwood floors, but with a couple of caveats. First, you shouldn’t solely rely on a vacuum as it will only pick up dirt. What it won’t do is maintain the floor’s sheen. Secondly, you must be very careful in the type of vacuum you use. Oftentimes vacuums will have hard bristles on rotating brushes that can add very fine scratches to the floor’s sealant. Over time this will dull the appearance of the floor. Another thing to watch out for is embedded rocks or pebbles in the vacuum’s bristles or wheels, these can also cause scratching.

Using Ammonia

Ammonia contains very acidic pH, this means that overtime you risk dulling the appearance of the floor. In addition, the high pH can contribute to the floor’s sealant slowly breaking down over time. This will open the floor up to possible damage which could otherwise be prevented.

Using Any Type Of Household Cleaner

While hardwood floors are durable and resilient, they are not indestructible. Often people will use all kinds of solvents or cleaning supplies, whatever they have on hand. The thinking goes that if it’s good for your counters or bathroom floor, it must also work on your wood flooring. Nothing could be further from the truth. Remember, it’s best to use a cleaner like Advantage Coatings pH-Neutral cleaner. Cleaners specifically designed for wood will be effective and will be 100% safe for your wood floor finish.

Best Way To Clean Your Hardwood Floor

While this isn’t rocket science, you would be surprised at how many people fail to properly clean their hardwood floors. In just a few simple steps you can be sure that your hardwood will continue to have the same vibrant sheen for many years.

  1. The first thing you’ll want to do is either remove furniture from the room or move items all to one side. Once you’ve completed one side, you can move the furniture back and do Cleaning your hardwood floorthe other side. Too often people will try to work around existing furniture. Over time this will lead to an uneven appearance as parts of the floor will be receiving proper maintenance while other areas will continue to collect dust and other harmful contaminants.

  2. With a clean surface you’ll then want to remove all the debris from the floor. This can be done by sweeping or if you have a vacuum that you are sure does not contain stiff bristles which can scratch your floor, this would be the time to use it.

  3. With the floor completely clean of any dust, dirt or other debris, you can then use a certified hardwood floor cleaner such as Advantage Coatings pH-neutral cleaner.  Apply only the recommended amount as described in the application directions.

  4. You can then use a mop, like Advantage Coatings High End Aluminum Mop to both disperse and collect the cleaning solution. You’ll want to make sure that you’re rinsing out the mop often in order to prevent streaking. Also, it’s very important not to oversaturate your mop with water as too much water will cause the wood to swell.

Once you’ve finished cleaning the floor and returned your furniture to the room or its original position, you’ll want to keep your floor looking freshly cleaned as long as possible. A couple of ways to do this are:

  1. Use floor rugs or mats. Placing floor rugs in the most heavily used/trafficked areas will not only provide additional aesthetics to your room, they will keep dirt and other Keep your floor looking like newcontaminants from working their way into the floor.

  2. Be sure to protect from scratching by placing felt tabs on the bottom of all furniture legs. Especially important is to place felt tabs on kitchen chairs or any other furniture which is moved often.

  3. Sweep on a regular basis. The more often you do quick sweeps, the better chance you have of keeping dirt and other debris from collecting on your floor.

Hardwood is likely one of the most beautiful types of materials you can use for flooring. It gives any space a warmth and finished look that is hard to match. It is also extremely durable and will last years if properly taken care of. Using cleaners specifically designed for hardwood floors will ensure your floor continues to maintain that new install look far into the future. If you’re looking for technical advice on how to maintain and clean your hardwood floor or need further information on other cleaning accessories, you can contact Advantage Coatings Technologies. Our highly trained staff is available to assist you with any of your flooring needs.