How to clean hardwood floors

jetlaggedMarch 14, 2006

I just ripped up old carpeting and had hardwood floors put in. Now how do I clean them? My vacuum has a beater brush and doesn't work well on the new floors. Do I Swiffer? Wet mop? With what? Murphy's Oil Soap? Mop and Glo? Any advice from those of you in the know?? Thanks!

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avakosiba

I think it depends on what kind of hardwood floor you have. I have a prefinished hardwood floor in my house. I was told to NEVER use water on it. I bought my floors through bella wood, they have a cleaner for hardwood floors on their site.I really like it. It is in a spray bottle that I mist the floor with and then wipe it up with a terry clothe mop. You could also ask the saleman where you bought your floor for some recommendations.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 4:00PM
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lazy_gardens

Get a canister vacuum that has a "smooth floor" attachment.

Or a dust mop.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 10:31AM
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grainlady_ks

How you clean it will depend on what it's covered with. If it's an old floor with varnish and a coat of wax on it, then you have to treat it differently than ones with the newer (polyurethane) finishes. You can test to see if your finish is varnish by taking a rag with a bit of alcohol on it and test in an inconspicuous corner. Alcohol will make the finish tacky, or even remove it. Alcohol won't remove a urethane finish.

If your finish is old, you may need to use a paste wax and buffer on it to "shine" it up. Then just use a dust mop or vacuum for cleaning - and clean it often. It takes only a few minutes to run a dust mop. The dirt and sand left on a floor will do a lot of damage from pitting it, to scratching.

I use an industrial-grade cotton dust mop on my polyurethane-finished floors, or a vacuum cleaner - avoid using beater-bars, which are made for carpet. To clean it, I use Windex and a micro-fiber towel - per refinishers instructions. NO WATER!!! Just spritz on the window cleaner (which is similar to the expensive wood floor-cleaning products) and wipe off until thoroughly dry. If you run a dust mop several times a week and vacuum once a week, you may only need to spot clean, rather than clean the whole floor.

If you put a rug at entrances, it will help pick up sand and dirt. The biggest problem is when people have wet shoes. Train them to take them off before walking on the floor, or you'll be happy to give them a rag and a bottle of cleaner and they can get on their hands and knees to clean up their wet foot prints.

Do Not: Use WET mops
Do Not: Use ammonia
Do Not: Use dust cleaners (Pledge)
Do Not: Track dirt and sand on the floor, clean immediately
Do Not: Wax a urethane finish- NEVER!
Do Not: Use floor cleaning products NOT recommended for your floor finish.

Grainlady

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 1:08PM
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briarwoods

I swiffer first then damp mop with mop and glo for wood floors.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 3:00PM
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demii

I know this sounds silly but reassure me, for my bruce oak hardwood floors with a dura luster finish, i just need windex and a microfiber towel to clean them? I just had them put in and I am getting ready to clean them......

    Bookmark   April 2, 2006 at 11:47AM
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scryn

Doesn't windex contain ammonia?? I thought most window cleaners do. I guess it prevents streaks.

-renee

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 10:40AM
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jetlagged

Thank you all. I found some hardwood floor cleaner along with a microfiber mop, and have used that successfully.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 11:31AM
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jannie

I have oak floors, stained and sealed with two layers of high-gloss polyurethane. I sweep daily with a regular broom, use a microfibre mop with Bona Keni cleaner occasionally and Bona Kemi restorer once or twice a year. You can buy Bona Kemi thru their website. I've never seen this brand in stores.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 11:38AM
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hamptonmeadow

Windex in a little one squirt and a little micro cloth to clean up a spot is fine. But I would never wash the whole floor with it.
Murphy Oil soap will ruin your floor. You will never be able to refinish the floor.

I would not recommend mop and glow either.
The best floor cleaning system is the Bona Kemi floor cleaner (I don't work for them, just my experience). It is easy, keeps your floors in great shape and they look like new after you use the refinisher a couople of times a year.
It is not terribly expensive and you can get it online directly from the company, and I know Ace Hardware carries it. Home Despot does not. Don't know about Lowe's.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 4:12PM
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carla35

I'm a little confused with the comment:

"Murphy Oil soap will ruin your floor. You will never be able to refinish the floor."

Maybe you meant if you use Murphy's, you will have to get it totally refinished and not just coated? I didn't think there was too much that made the wood incapable of being refinished.

Can anyone clarify because I think Murphy's was used on mine a while ago?

Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 4:41PM
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missn427

Our flooring guy gave us a "recipe" for floor cleaner (we have refinished pine floors- no stain just 4 coats of urethane)
1 gallon Distilled Water
1 quart of 99% Alcohol
1 TBSP of Dawn soap (NOT antibacterial)
1 or 2 drops of food coloring (to tell what it is)

Haven't used it yet, but I trust him that it will work- 35 years dealing with floor refinishing.
I am assuming that this is to be used only on protected floors though.

Laura

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 7:30AM
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lobotome

missn, I was also told by a very reputable floor dealer to get a cleaner that contains alcohol and not the stuff that is so common in hardwood cleaners now a days (the stuff that contains antifreeze.. forget the name).

He also told me never to use vinegar either. Mind you this would be on laminate and urethate finished hardwood floors.

Thank you for the recipe, I'm going to be using it because I've not found a commercial floor cleaner that is made of alcohol. Canada doesn't always tell you this on the bottle so it makes life alot tougher sometimes.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 12:43AM
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xamsx

I'm a little confused with the comment:
"Murphy Oil soap will ruin your floor. You will never be able to refinish the floor."

Maybe you meant if you use Murphy's, you will have to get it totally refinished and not just coated? I didn't think there was too much that made the wood incapable of being refinished.

Can anyone clarify because I think Murphy's was used on mine a while ago?

Thanks

Using Murphy's is not going to ruin your floors. It will not make them incapable of being rescreened, refinished, hand sanded and recoated, etc., etc.

The only thing I've ever found to "ruin" hardwood is pet urine that has soaked through rugs (and just sat there) and water (liquid) that had been allowed to sit for extended periods of time (weeks, months, etc.) The pet urine will stain the floors a blackish color making it difficult (nearly impossible) to sand out, the water will warp the flooring.

If you use water (water mixed with anything) to clean your floors, wring out your rags as much as possible and use another dry cloth to immediately wipe away any leftover water on the floor.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 2:34PM
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ktmast

The person who installed my floor gave me a starter kit - the Bona Swedish Formula. It doesn't say what the active ingredient is. I'm reassured to read the above post using rubbing alchohol. We have a problem with sap getting on our floor. The only thing that seems to take it off is isopropyl alcohol or non-ascitone nail polish remover. I wasn't sure if either of these was safe to use on the Polyurithane.

Also I bought one of the Mary Moppins mops which lets me wring out the cloth used on the floor a lot. So I'm not putting much moisture on the floor.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mary Moppins mop.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 4:37PM
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terriks

While Murphy's soap will not totally "ruin" your floor, a floor refinisher told me that it makes it much more difficult to refinish it because of the film that it leaves behind. I think that it really gunks up the sanders that they use, and you will be charged more for refinishing.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 1:29PM
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kikiegor

I USED MURPHYS OIL FOR ONE YEAR ON NEW OAK FLOORS AND THEY BECAME DULL. I DID SOME INTERNET SEARCHING AND TRIED 1/4 CUP VINEGAR AND A QUART OF WATER IN A SPRAY BOTTLE. I PURCHASED A LARGE TERRYCOTH MOP AT MENARDS. I JUST SPRAY IT ON THE MOP ITSELF AFTER IM DONE I JUST THROW IT IN THE WASHING MACHINE. MY FLOORS ARE BEGINNING TO SHINE UP AGAIN. FRANKLY I HURT SO MANY CONTRADICTORY THINGS I'M AFRAID. I VACUME WITH A CANISTER WEEKLY, RUGS BY THE DOOR AND NO SHOES. SPOT CLEAN WHEN NECESSARY.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 3:43PM
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