How to Clean Hardwood Floors Without Damaging Them

Whether you installed it yourself or inherited it from a previous owner (or was there when you rented the house), real hardwood floors can change the feel of an entire space. Whether light or dark, wide planks or parquet, parquet floors are a sought-after element in the home.

But real hardwood floors (as opposed to laminate, vinyl, or tiles that look like wood) also take some effort to maintain. Although it can last for centuries, the condition will worsen over time without proper care. Here’s what you need to know about how to clean your wood floor without damaging it, thanks to the advice of the Hardwood Distributors Association (HDA).

Determine the finish

If you already know what type of finish was used for your wood floor, you can skip this section. For everyone else, you will want to understand this. Here’s how HDA experts suggest it:

Simply rub your finger on the floor to notice the difference. Be sure to do this on a clean floor. If there are no stains, the floor surface is sealed. If you do create a stain, then the floor has been sealed, oiled, shellac, lacquered or lacquered and then waxed. Also consider when the floors were installed. If you have a newer wood floor, it is most likely pressurized.

How to safely clean different types of parquet floors

Regardless of the floor finish, HDA recommends placing rugs at all external entrances to your home, both indoors and outdoors. This will not only help prevent water damage if ingested from rain or snow, but it will also help reduce the amount of dirt, soot and sand entering your home and potentially damaging your wood floor (sandpaper effect).

As convenient as a vacuum cleaner is, HDA recommends cleaning hardwood floors daily with a high-quality microfiber brush or cloth. If you are going to use a vacuum cleaner, make sure there is no rotating beater (which could scratch the floor).

Sealed surfaces

If your hardwood floors were recently installed, they probably have an airtight surface, also called urethanes or polyurethanes, and have a durable and waterproof protective coating.

The easiest way to find a safe cleaner is to see what the flooring manufacturer recommends. If this is not possible / available, HDA claims any hardwood floor cleaner will work as long as it is not wax or oil based.

Wax finish

Use only cleaners specifically designed for waxing and follow directions carefully (including how long the product should remain on the floor). Then, when the floor is clean, apply a new coat of solvent based wax in accordance with HDA .

Acrylic-impregnated finishing coatings

This finish creates a very durable floor when injected into the wood (hence the name). But they’re mostly used in high-traffic areas of commercial buildings, so they’re probably not in your home, explains HDA .

In case they are (or you work where they are), you first need to figure out what kind of finish has been injected into the wood. For urethane-based finishes, follow the cleaning instructions for surface-treated floors. For non-urethane-based finishes, use a spray and polish system and manufacturer recommended products.


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