Cleaning hardwood floors is a delicate act. Our gut instinct may be to douse a dirty floor with soap and water, but Brandon Pleshek, third-generation professional janitor of @cleanthatup, says that can do more harm than good. While engineered wood can withstand more aggressive chemicals than solid hardwood panels, it’s always best to be gentle. Pleshek recommends solutions with a neutral pH base that won’t leave a soapy residue, which could damage the wood’s finish.
Excess moisture can also warp hardwood, according to Sarah McAllister, CEO and founder of Go Clean Co. “Wood never sleeps, so the humidity levels in your home can affect your flooring, too,” she says. If it’s too dry, your boards can lift, and if it’s too wet, it can strip the finish.
From pesky stains to the proper vacuum technique, here’s everything you need to know about cleaning and maintaining hardwood floors.
Cleaning different types of stains
Stains come in various consistencies and can damage wood floors in a range of ways – that’s why it’s crucial to clean them with stain-specific treatments.
How often should you clean hardwood floors?
The general rule for maintaining hardwood floors is to clean them at least once a week, but high traffic rooms may need more than that. According to Pleshek, you should clean areas like the kitchen and family room three to four times a week, especially if you have pets and kids.
Deep cleaning – which involves getting on your hands and knees and scrubbing with microfiber towels and your solution of choice – should be done every four to six weeks.
While it definitely requires extra attention to detail, cleaning hardwood floors is fairly simple. It’s crucial to avoid aggressive chemicals and use pH neutral solutions, be it store-bought or homemade. When it comes to applying the solution to the floor “less is more,” Pleshek says. Frequently vacuuming and mopping will make the process less laborious when it’s time for a deep clean.