August 2, 2010
Cleaning Hardwood Floors
Sealed or Unsealed? That is the question.
You’ll need to determine this first. Most hardwood floors are sealed – but some aren’t. The simple reason for getting this out of the way first is that you never put liquid of any kind on an exposed and unsealed wood floor. Some clients will have wood floors that have been worn down, include unsealed areas, or in older homes in some cases, include floors that have recesses and spacing. You’ll often find this in 100 plus year old homes. The damp mop is an excellent method for doing a cleaning application on a sealed floor. Murphy’s Oil is also a great cleaning solution for sealed wood floors, and it contains no bleach or ammonia. It’s also home safe. Leaving water or any other liquid on a hardwood floor for too long is never advised, whether you floor is sealed or unsealed – however – an unsealed floor will have a significantly increased risk of wood damage and warping if water is left to sit for even a very short period of time. If your floor is unfinished, or has unsealed areas as a result of wear – we suggest simple vacuuming until the wood is treated. Waxed floors also fall under the “no liquid” rule as well, as they are susceptible to water damage. We perform an assessment of hardwood in a home prior to beginning a job to determine the best way to approach cleaning it.
We always recommend vacuuming a hardwood floor prior to the cleaning application, as well as thoroughly cleaning and dusting baseboards. Dust settles very effectively on the edge of baseboards – transferring to the floor very easily after a cleaning. Swiffer cloths are a solid means for picking up dust, especially under areas like dining room or living room furniture. A damp cloth is also a good method. The surface of a floor is not the only area that needs to be cleaned.
Depending on the amount of traffic in your house, you may only have to clean hardwood floors once a week, however, as an extra precaution, we recommend people remove footwear when they enter the house. By doing this, you may limit the amount of heel marks imprinted into the floors and the maintenance required in the future, not to mention dust reduction.
Seems like a simple thing, but you’d be surprised how many hardwood owners inadvertently damage hardwood when attempting to clean. Even if a small area is unsealed, we recommend simply vacuuming.