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hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Posted by Ellen1234 (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 10, 13 at 11:14

Hi,

I had new hardwood floors installed on the entire first floor (white oak, site finished). I had hardwood floors before, but didn't care for them like I should because I knew I'd be replacing them.

What is the best mop / cleaner to use on them? It's a lot of wood (1800+ sq ft), so I want something that is convenient.

Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

I love how easy-care my wood floors are! I just vacuum regularly. If something has dripped or tracked in, I wipe it with a sponge or Dobie pad dampened with water that has been mixed with a drop of vinegar. That's it. There is no need to mop as water is the enemy of wood floors. My oak floors are 30 years old and look great. My floor guy who sanded them instructed not to use the wood cleaners like Bona. They leave a film that attracts dust and will make your wood floors look dull.

This post was edited by shannonplus2 on Thu, Oct 10, 13 at 11:32


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

I vacuum first, using the setting for floors only (not the carpet beater thing). Then I mop with a microfiber mop. No water based sprays, but nothing special, either - just a spray for hardwood floors. I don't think hardwood floors are difficult to care for. One of the stores in our town has wood floors that must be about 100 years old, and the wood looks wonderful. I know the owners don't do special cleaning, other than maybe sweeping it.

We are NOT a shoes off family - and I know this is controversial, so I hope I'm not opening a can of messy worms. :-P But we want our home to be inviting, and not make people run around in stocking feet (which can be bad for people with orthopedic problems). We do take off our shoes at the door if they are muddy, or at least clean them with the shoe scrubber. That seems to help with the cleaning issue.

This post was edited by gladys1924 on Thu, Oct 10, 13 at 11:45


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

I vacuum and/or sweep. A slightly damp swipe (water with a bit of white vinegar) now and then. My floor is red oak (site finished) and nothing shows.

My house isn't shoes-off either. I've noticed some pin holes around my cats' scratching post, no doubt from their hind claws as they stand and scratch. Life with cats. :)


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Mostly, I use my HAH to vacuum the hardwood floors. Day to day, I spot clean drips or paw prints. When I feel the need to do a deep clean, I use a steam mop on the lowest setting w/ only water. (Every solution/floor cleaner I've tried has left a residue, so I quickly learned to just use water.) With the steam mop, the rags I use do show dirt that the vacuum can't get completely. The lowest setting of steam does not hurt my floors. (The lowest setting evaporates quickly within 15-30 seconds.)


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Every couple of days I do just a dry microfiber duster for dust and crumbs. I use Bona once a week or as needed. Sometimes more if no one bothers to wipe off muddy dog feet. Idon't find it leaves a film. It makes my floors look great.
On our old wood floor, I used vinegar and water. The cabinet installer told me vinegar damages the wood--that is why my old cabinets were discolored on the bottom. He also said not to use vinegar and water on my tiled foyer floor. The vinegar eats away at the grout, and that is why it looks bad (not my cleaning skills;)


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Hardwood floor care varies according to the finish. I have oil-finished floors on the first level. Those are vacuumed and then gone over with a diluted German floor wax applied with a microfiber mop. That lets me do damp-cloth wipe-ups as needed, even in the kitchen.

Upstairs we have poly, which is vacuumed and gone over with Orange Glo on a microfiber mop.

Anything abrasive isn't a great idea if there is a poly finish. Best to always check with the installer to see what was used and what is recommended vs using something someone recommends that might not be appropriate for the finish in a different home.

The vacuum is the default.


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Thanks for all the replies!

I definitely vacuum, but am wondering about how to clean them with some kind of mop/liquid (to get what the vacuum doesn't get). Our rule is not to wear shoes in the house, but a couple family members don't always follow this (both males BTW)!

We have an oil-based Swedish finish (the name escapes me). The Bona mop looks promising since it has that bottle attached -- seems like it would make for a quicker cleaning.

Thanks!


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Our floor guy suggested a light vinegar solution - we vacuum and then use a microfiber mop(vinegar and water) to clean them if needed.
What are your favorite mops?


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

I'm confused ... Don't hardwood floors need to be cleaned with some sort of liquid periodically? When cleaning my tile floor every couple of days, I first sweep, then use a Swiffer, then mop. Even after the sweeping and the Swiffer, the mop still picks up a LOT of dirt. If the hardwood floors are cleaned without that last step of mopping, doesn't the dirt just stay there and accumulate? I get that water is the enemy of hardwood, but don't they have to be cleaned with something to get the dirt off?


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Ellen1234 - it looks like you did not read my post, recommending water mixed with a little vinegar. You could also use a Swiffer if you feel your vacuum isn't getting everything. No need to mop. First, because water is the enemy of wood. Second, because applied cleaners and other "floor products" leave behind a film that attracts dust and will dull your floors.

Don't buy into the advertising brainwashing that you need to "apply something" to your floors for them to be clean. There's no money to be made for companies like Bona when people just use a little vinegar-and-water wipe. But if you insist on the extra work, extra mop, extra chemical cleansers, and dull film, then go ahead.

I am also concerned about chemicals from cleansers that may be absorbed through the skin or breathing. What are the ingredients of Bona products? My family walks around the house barefoot a lot. There's also the dog and the cats who all lick their feet the way animals do.

Jellytoast - I don't know what to say. I have two kids who do sports, horseback ride and wear their boots and sneakers through the house (despite my asking them not to!). I do not need to do the multi-stages of cleaning that you describe. Vacuuming, an occasional Swiffer, and spotcleaning with a swipe of a sponge or paper towel gets up everything.

This post was edited by shannonplus2 on Thu, Oct 10, 13 at 18:40


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Shannonplus2, that is very interesting ... and good to know since we plan on using hardwood in the rest of the house. I'm all for easy care flooring!!! I were to use just a slightly damp mop once a week or so, would it damage the floor?


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

I have Brazilian Cherry floors and they don't look good if I just vacuum them. I do use Bona and have not noticed a film on the floor. Guess it depends on the finish and the wood's color.


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Regarding wood floor cleaner toxicity, according to Bona their floor cleaners are non-toxic and "Greenguard certified". That means they passed the standards established by the Greenguard Environmental Institute (GEI) to define low emitting materials for educational and learning/play environments for young children.

Having said that, I refuse to use it. I've experienced first-hand the dust-attraction effect of Bona products. It made my vacuum practically useless at sucking up all the dirt. Plus, life is too short. Vacuuming alone takes up enough time as it is. I also just wipe up mud and spills as they happen. I have memories of my mother endlessly mopping the linoleum, and I won't go there...

Here is a link that might be useful: Bona Green


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

[ submitted this earlier but it didn't show up for some reason.]

I did read the posts actually, but I am in the same boat as Jellytoast. Vacuuming alone does not get the floors cleaned completely. Our socks still show signs of a dirty floor.

I wasn't suggesting a real mop, I just meant something that I can stand up to use, with some sort of product/liquid to get the floors actually clean (so socks stay clean). I was told never to use water, so I do not plan to use water for an all-over cleaning. I do use a damp rag to spot clean already, but there is no way I"m doing my entire first floor that way - it would take me forever as the entire first floor is wood.

Thanks!

This post was edited by Ellen1234 on Thu, Oct 10, 13 at 19:20


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

I know alot of people who swear by Bona floor cleaning products. I've tried it and it's good.

For me though, nothing beets a squeegie floor mop with water and soap (I use seventh generation). Every once in awhile I'll use a wood cleaner in the water.

I've also tried steam mops and find them very meh. They must be good for tiles or something.


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

The only floor in my house that needed constant cleaning was the kitchen floor. (It was tile) The other floors seemed clean after vacuuming and using the swifter. I remember hand cleaning a couple times in 13 years the entire wood floor in my living room with a very small amount of vinegar added to water and then drying immediately.
How often do people shampoo their rugs? Not that often I bet.


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

I guess I don't understand the big concern some people seem to have about having their floors so clean. Yes, I know that people often have kids that play on the floors, but kids often play on the floor/ground, and nothing horrible happens. As long as spills get wiped up promptly, is it *really* that important that the floor be dust and dirt free? Maybe I'm just a horrible housekeeper?


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Damp mop only. No wet mopping. NO oil soap. NO orange products of any kind. NO Pledge overspray or anything else with silicone. If you use any of those products and your floor needs to be screened and recoated, you'll have to do a refinish instead and sand down to the bare wood. All of those product inhibit adhesion of another layer of finish. Vinegar isn't the best idea either. It will damage finishes over time.

A little bit of a detergent like Dawn with a slightly damp mop is all that you need to use every couple of weeks. Regular vacuuming or dust mopping is all that is needed for more frequent care, along with spot cleaning spills or tracked in soil.


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Gladys1924, for me it's because I don't wear shoes in the house, and can't stand the feeling of crumbs and whatnot under my feet, ewe.

For those who vaccume, what type of vaccume do you use? Our current house has so little hard flooring I just sweep, but our new house is wll to wall hardwood, so I would like a vaccume that can handle hardwood and area rugs.


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

I bought a Miele stick with a swivel head - it works great - but a bit heavy for some.


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Chrissy - so wear shoes in the house. Not ones that are muddy - your mother never let you track mud on her clean floor, did she? :-) . You don't have to worry about keeping the kitchen floor immaculate, and your guests will probably thank you (if they *like* going barefoot, let 'em). I admit - I'm biased. I have serious orthopedic problems, and going without shoes is uncomfortable and not healthy for me.


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

I hate shoes. I don't like to clean, but it sure beats the crap out of wearing shoes in the house!

I recognize that I am blessed with healthy feet. We don't make friends take shoes off in our house, and they don't make me wear shoes in theirs.


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

hollysprings - thanks for the additional cleaning info.

I've had the floors for well over 2 months and I've yet to do a real cleaning as I wanted to figure out the best way to clean it first (so vacuuming and spot cleaning has sufficed up until now). It's getting higher on my priority list though!


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

I use bona kemi in a swiffer spray mop with swiffer pads.


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

"is it *really* that important that the floor be dust and dirt free? Maybe I'm just a horrible housekeeper?"

Yes, if one has allergies, asthma or both. Many people do and can't breathe well in a dusty home. There are homes of friends/acquaintances that make my sinuses hurt when I am in them for just a few minutes, so I try not to go.. :(


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Aack, Lauren. That's too bad. I have asthma, but thankfully, dust has never been an issue for me. Must be difficult for you during summer weather when everything seems dusty, especially outside. On the other hand, my knees hurt so much when I'm without my shoes that I try to avoid "shoes off" houses - similar (health) issues, I guess.


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Does it matter what kind of floors you have? I have oak floors in most of my house, and I generally just vacuum them and wipe up spots with water/microfiber cloth. But we have softer wood in our kitchen (pine) and they are much harder to keep clean, and also tend to dull easily. Haven't found quite the right solution to the pine floors.


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Whoa. No-this, no-that doesn't work. It really depends on the finish. It may be no for you but yes for me.

Poly is plastic. It can be water based or oil based. Other finishes are a cocktail of stuff. Know thy finish.

I find that vacuuming is good but there is a light layer of dirt on the floor that needs to come up with a damp microfiber towel or mop. We both have house-only footwear (Chinese slippers in summer; Haflingers winter) and there is still a need to damp-mop on a regular basis.

If you want to find out how your floors are doing, walk around barefoot for a few days and then look at the bottom of your feet. LOL.

True, water is the enemy of wood. But hard woods like oak and cherry when covered with a good finish can withstand a lot of water. A damp microfiber mop run over a finished floor will get up that layer of direct the vacuum doesn't pick up and won't be enough water to become a problem.

What I wouldn't use is a spray mop -- I wouldn't want that much solution on my floors as liquid of any kind absorbed through the sides of the flooring can cause cupping.

Over the years I've had pine, maple, oak, reclaimed chestnut-oak and ash floors. I've been through the paste-wax and buffer stage (so horrible), oil-based poly, water-based poly, satin finish, natural (matte) finish and oiled.

Pine and maple are problem children because those woods are rather soft. Pine isn't easy though a durable poly finish certainly helps.

When we sold our apartment I went over all the oil-based poly oak floors which hadn't been refinished in 20 years with Orange Glo. They looked wonderful. Bona has worked well for me. I'm not a vinegar person as I don't care for the smell and I found it dulled the finish of a floor -- but that was my floor.


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

We are currently building a house that will have about 950 sq feet of hardwood in the kitchen, great room and dining room. I am considering getting the iRobot Braava Floor Mopping Robot. Has anyone used something like this?

Here is a link that might be useful: iRobot Braava 380t Floor Mopping Robot


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Gladys1924, I suppose I could have a pair of indoor shoes. I really like being barefoot thought, lol. And I find the wrong shoes bother my back badly.

Allergies are also an issue. Dh and ds both have significant asthma and allergies, so keeping outdoor dust outdoors is important. We won't live without central air, because opening the windows in warm weather causes them quite a lot of discomfort. I'm an open air kid of girl myself, and would prefer an evening breeze through an open window to ac any day. Unfortunately, breathing is pretty important lol.

That said, I'm not big on forcing people to take shoes off in my house, with the only exception being kids. As long as your not tracking mud over my floors, I could care less. :)


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Gladys1924, I suppose I could have a pair of indoor shoes. I really like being barefoot thought, lol. And I find the wrong shoes bother my back badly.

Allergies are also an issue. Dh and ds both have significant asthma and allergies, so keeping outdoor dust outdoors is important. We won't live without central air, because opening the windows in warm weather causes them quite a lot of discomfort. I'm an open air kid of girl myself, and would prefer an evening breeze through an open window to ac any day. Unfortunately, breathing is pretty important lol.

That said, I'm not big on forcing people to take shoes off in my house, with the only exception being kids. As long as your not tracking mud over my floors, I could care less. :)


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Chrissy, I understand that people want to protect their floors and carpets - all of that - but I think we should be more concerned about *people* than about our floors...I had a friend who had to wear special inserts in her shoes to keep her knees from dislocating. When she was in a shoes off home, she had to walk on the sides of her feet to keep her knees in place. It looked *awfully* uncomfortable...I guess I don't see how people can do that - insist that shoes come off, even if it makes their guests uncomfortable...yes, I could take "indoor only" shoes when I go places, but I don't have a huge shoe wardrobe - to have indoor shoes only. My goodness. And since they are tie shoes (not slip on), they're a pain to switch....

Sorry. Perhaps this is a bit off topic, but it does relate to cleaning floors - doesn't it? :-P


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

It's been interesting reading this. We just got our floors refinished. They were in horrible condition before and sucked up any mop water.

I hav a cannister vac that I vacuum with. I just bought a Rubbermaid Commercial microfiber dust and wet mop thing at Home Depot and I like it. It's sturdier than a Swifter and so far the microfiber pads wash up well. I need to buy some spares.

I wear shoes in the house. Either sippers or sneakers (that are clean), but I refuse to have floors I have to treat with kid gloves. We have a combo of 1940's red oak and maple from around the same era.

I will likely use the dust mop for day to day stuff (not that I will be doing it everyday!) and the vacuum for deeper cleaning and use a real mop.


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

See Gladys, in that case shoes on are perfectly fine. The only people I tell to take their shows off in my house are kids, cause kids are dirty, and it's easy for them to get shoes on and off. And if people are coming in in the winter I would rather not have slush everywhere, it gets slippery! I do think people come first though, and being an orthopedic nurse for many years I understand the body has limits. . You can come to my house any time, and keep your shoes on :)

I have thought before about buying slip on she covers and leaving them at the door when we have company, but wonder if people would be offended. Or I have a really great knitting pattern for felted wool clogs, I though about making a few pairs in different sizes for guests. I'm not sure they would give them back though, their very comfy!


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Thanks, Chrissy - I'm on my way - after my bilateral TKRs. I'm trying to survive until that day comes - sigh.. :-)

People would probably appreciate having *something* to wear. The sheepskin slippers from LLBean are also wonderful - if you really want to treat them...or can't you just leave it up to the guests? As long as they aren't tracking mud/sleet/horse manure into your house, let them do what they want. My (now departed) mother didn't have orthopedic problems, but she hated taking off her shoes at my sister's house. I think she didn't feel decent without shoes...I just want people to be comfortable in my home. Shoes on/off - it's just a floor, they are *people*.


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

Anyone looking for a solution might consider Chinese slippers. $5 each at bewild and likely less on ebay. Every size. Anyone can slip them on as they can be washed inside and out. They are nonskid, cushy and comfortable.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chinese slippers


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

The slippers look nice - and certainly better than running around with your sweaty, stinky socks. But in a strictly shoes off household, those of us with orthopedic issues either have to stay home or risk hurting ourselves. :-(


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

My oak floor was installed 6 years ago. Three coats of oil-based finish. The installer told me to clean them with a damp cloth or mop of water with a bit of white vinegar. That's all I've ever used on them. I vacuum with the regular rug head, then wipe where I discern actual dirt. Virtually nothing shows on these floors.

I'm sure whatever lurks in my bedroom carpet is far worse. :O


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

I just thought I'd provide an update on what I decided to do.

I actually bought a Roomba 770 vacuum to help keep the floor clean. I also bought a Libman spray mop and Bona hardwood floor cleaner. So far so good with both! My kids are actually enjoying using the mop! :)


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RE: hardwood floors - what to you use to clean them?

I gave up vacuuming a long time ago. I sweep all my hardwood and tile floors first with a really good German horsehair broom to get up all the dust, bits and pieces, and pick that up with a dustpan and horsehair brush. Afterward to clean I use a well wrung out cloth and a scrubber mop. Mixed with water diluted Suds is a very effective cleaning paste that can be used for any kind of cleaning and stains removal; it's natural and biodegradable too.
My wood floor is sealed and it's OK to use a little bit of water to clean, but not too much. I heard somewhere that if the floors are oiled you need to re-oil the wood at least once or twice a year.


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