How to Clean Hardwood Floors

Posted by Jennifer, Owner of Natural Choice Cleaning Services, North Bay Ontario 

First sweep or vacuum the hardwood floors from one end of the room to the other. I like to follow the direction of the wood as it allows the vacuum to pull particles of food and dirt out of the crevices between the wood. Pay special attention to the areas around kitchen cupboards and other furniture you may have on the flooring. It is also a good idea to vacuum all carpets and area rugs you may have on the hardwood floors as well. I prefer to vacuum both sides of the rugs and mats and then put them to the side so that as I am vacuuming they are out of my way and I am able to get all of the crumbs and dirt that may be hiding under rugs or mats. The dirt under mats and area rugs will eventually cause scratches because it acts like sand paper between the rug/mat and the floor. If you have pets it is a good idea to pay close attention to the kitchen chairs and breakfast bar stools as well. Even though you may have put the little non-scratch pads on the bottoms of each of the chairs and stools it is a good idea to make sure you pull all of the pet hair off of the non-scratch pads as well. If you have hardwoods in your living areas it is a good idea to have non-scratch pads on the feet of chairs, tables and the couch. If you have a good cleaning service the cleaner will want to pull out the furniture at least once a month (if not every time depending on your homes needs) to get the extra pet hair, dust and crumbs that collect under your furniture.

Once you have vacuumed all areas of the hardwood flooring you must wash the flooring carefully. Never use a mop and bucket system on hardwood flooring or laminate flooring. These mops leave way too much water behind and can cause the wood or laminate flooring to swell because of excess moisture. I use a Rubbermaid Reveal spray mop with a clean pad that I wash after every use. The rubbermaid mop comes with its own bottle that you can put your own cleaning solution into. I use either Bona hardwood cleaner or water and vinegar mixed. The bottle on the Rubbermaid mop has measurement lines on the bottles to help you properly mix your cleaner. Never use a cleaner with ammonia or anything that leaves a film behind. It is best to wash the flooring following the grain of the wood to leave less streaks. No one wants a clean floor full of streaks. It will look dirtier then before the washing.

When washing under the kitchen table pull out all of the chairs. Clean the area under the table and chairs following the direction and grain of the wood. Once the floor is dry lift the chairs and place them on the clean floor where they should be. You will not get streak marks from sliding the chairs across the damp floor. Do the same with other furniture if possible.

Around the kick plates of the kitchen cupboards I like to take a clean damp cloth and clean the edges of the floor and kick plate to ensure I have picked up all of the crumbs, dust and hair that the vacuum may have missed.

You can find the Rubbermaid Reveal mop and the extra bottles and mop pads at the North Bay Walmart. I have also seen the mop at Home Depot as well. Here is a website with a picture of the Rubbermaid Reveal Mop.The mop is around $30 and it comes with one reusable cleaning pad and one reusable bottle for your cleaning solution.