What Hardwood Floor Cleaner Should I Use?


Cleaning your hardwood floors is such a simple task yet most people aren't aware that this is the most important factor in how long your floor finish will last. First thing you need to know to determine the type of cleaner to use is what type of flooring finish do you have on your floor. Different types of finishes require specific cleaners and often times a lot of those "cleaners" they sell at your local home store is actually causing damage to your floor. We also see this a lot with cleaning services and house keepers. They think because they add shine to your floor is appears cleaner to the homeowner. Under no circumstances should any type of cleaner with the word polish or shine be used on your hardwood floors.


So how do you know what type of cleaner to use on your wood floors. Well, if you recently got them refinished or installed, I would first ask your flooring professional. For the sake of this blog, we are going to keep it simple with two types floor finishes categories that most finishes fall into.


The first type of wood floor finish we will talk about is a penetrating oil or hard wax oil floor finish. Although these are two separate types of finishes cleaning your floor with these types of finishes are very similar. These types of finishes were designed to penetrate into the wood and harden. These types of floors leave your floor looking the most natural without a layer of protective film on top of your hardwood floor. These wood floors require a special type of cleaner usually referred to as an oil soap. Not to be confused with Murphy’s oil soup, I do not recommend that cleaner to be used on any hardwood floor surface. Different manufacturers of these penetrating oils have brand specific soap cleaners. If you know the cleaner that should be used then these floors are easy to clean, just spray your brand specific oil soap on the floor and wipe it with a microfiber mop. Yup that easy, no reason to over think it. These floors also require a re-oiling every 3-5 years depending on the amount of wear and location of your wood floor. Different areas in your home tend to take more abuse than others. When a floor needs to be re-oiled, this is usually the job for a hardwood floor professional that has the right equipment and knowledge to perform this task.


The second type of finish we will discuss are polyurethane floors. These floors have a protective layer of film that sits on top of the surface for protection. This technology was first introduced to hardwood floors in the 1960's saving a lot of people the dread of having to continually wax their floors. Also made cleaning and maintaining a lot less daunting. These are typically the type of floors you see in most homes, although the penetrating oils are making a comeback with a lot of designers because of their look and floor. But that is neither here or there, you want to learn about CLEANING. These floors are fairly easy to maintain just as long as you are using the right products. There are so many different types hardwood floor cleaners when you go to the store it's very easy to pick one up that will actually cause more damage. Cleaners to stay away from are anything with the word "polish, shine or oil soap" in it. These cleaners put another thin layer of wax or acrylic on top of your existing finish that will fade very quickly causing an unpleasant difference in sheens. These types of cleaners make it nearly impossible to be recoated in the future instead of a more costly complete sand and refinish. This is why it's important to ask your flooring professional what types of cleaners are the best to be used on your specific floor. We usually recommend to use ph neutral wood floor cleaner for polyurethane floors. Every 2-4 weeks spray some cleaner down and wipe up with a microfiber mop, and just vacuum between floor cleanings.


If you are in need of a deep clean, we have specially designed equipment to deep clean your hardwood floors without causing any damage. Also, if you would like a copy of our cleaning instructions email me @ james@hardknotfloor.com and I'd be happy to send them over. A lot of people tend to over complicate this task and sometimes just keeping it simple is best.

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