How to clean hardwood floor?

Updated on February 03, 2008
K.C. asks from Windham, NH
22 answers

Help! I'm not a bad mom, but I am very neglectful when it comes to cleaning my floors. My house is entirely wood floors & some laminate. I need help with the wood. What should I use to REALLY clean them (tools, cleaners, etc..). I don't think they need to be stripped, just cleaned. I feel like all I do is push soapy water around! Thanks in advance!

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Summary

Some people uses Murphy's oil soap because it doesn't leave residue. While some suggested to use a steam mop. If you need more detail cleaning, contact the professional cleaners.

So What Happened?

Thanks So much!!! I tried the vinegar & water...and it seemed to work really well! A little smelly, but it dried really quick! Thanks for the MANY responses I received!

Featured Answers

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J.L.

answers from Boston on

swifter dust mop and swifter mop pads are the best on the wood floors with dogs. Dust it with swifter dusting pad and mop in with mopping pad as needed. Helps with dog hair big time.

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B.H.

answers from Boston on

Hi I was washing my floors today and was wondering the same thing. Could you please forward the info you get. Thank-you in advance.
B.
[email protected]____.com

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J.S.

answers from Springfield on

Hi K., My husband has owned a hardwood floor business for 10 years. We use only good ole Murphy's oil soap. It's very important not to use anything that is going to leave a residue like mop and glo or something like that, because if you ever do get them refinished you will need to have it completely sanded for the poly to stick and not peel off. I've also used a spray on hardwood floor cleaner that's in the supermarket. That seems to work well for spot cleaning. I can't remember the name but it's a white spray bottle and it has a picture of a floor on it with blue writing. The trick is not to use too much water. A sponge head works the best because it doesn't leave too much moisture behind. You want your floor to dry as fast as possible. Any standing water will penetrate the surface and work into the wood overtime and reduce the life of your floor. If you are down to the wood though you should consider getting it finished. They look so nice and are so much easier to keep clean. Then you should get it screened and coated at least every few years for the best look. It's a bummer moving everything out but the look is really beautiful.

1 mom found this helpful
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L.W.

answers from Boston on

Actually, I just saw an ad for a steam cleaning mop. It only uses water; heats it up and steams all the dirt right up. Since it uses steam, it drys immediately and it doesn't use chemicals, so it is perfectly safe for animals and kids. Another nice feature is that it comes with two cleaning pads that are - get this - washable! You just pop them into the washing machine and dryer and voila', you're done! The only negative was that it costs around $80 plus S&H, but I think that it is worth it if you have wall to wall wood or laminate flooring.

Check it out at: https://sharksteammop.com/contents/index.aspx

1 mom found this helpful
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E.R.

answers from Providence on

The only way to clean the floors is Windex, plain and simple. Soapy water is not very good for the floor (hence the ammonia to help speed dry any dampness). I spot clean with disinfectant wipes for sippy cups spills that are sticky, cat puke, etc. But if you feel that the floors are in bad shape, all you can really do is to "buff and coat" them by a professional to spread new poly. Warning: VERY messy and dusty so you'll have to remove EVERYTHING and insist on coverings for any doorways or openings or it will be ALL over your house and the smell lasts for a week. AND it will have to be done over a course of 2 days. AND the smell is really pungent for the first 3 days.

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J.O.

answers from Boston on

I have the best luck cleaning with simple vinegar and warm water and sealing the floors with Quick Shine (by Holloway House). For hard wood floors - stay away from all the other floor cleaning products. I have used Murphy's Oil Soap and Mop & Glo in the past- they smell and will initially look great but cause a dull, sticky guck to buildup on your floors.
Give yourself a couple hours of uninterupted time. Start by moving as much furniture off the floor as you can. Then throughly sweep/vacuum your floors. Just use about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vinegar in a gallon of warm warer. It doesn' smell nice but it works great! You can add a little dish soap to make it smell better. Once the floors are nice and cleen use Quick Shine by Holloway House (available at Wal-mart or your grocery store). You spread it on the floor with a wet mop and let it dry for 15 minutes, it's like a wax but it never builds up! You may have to do 3 - 6 coats the first time aroun. It makes your floors look fantastic! Then to keep up with it simply mop occasionally with vinegar and water and use the Quick Shine again every 4 months or so. It takes some time but it's well worth it! I usually do this when my kids (3 boys ages 12, 10 & 6) are in school or after they go to bed because you really do have to let it dry so you won't end up with footprints and smudges. Good luck!

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B.S.

answers from Boston on

Hi K.,
I use Murphy's Oil soap and water on my wood floors. Make sure you wring out the mop really well so you don't leave standing water on the floor or you could warp the wood. If your wood floors DON'T have a poyurethane on it then you should wax the floors with Butcher's wax. Your house will smell so clean after you wash the floors with Murphy's Oil soap. My son crawled around on my floors for years so I'm sure it's safe.

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S.K.

answers from Boston on

It is my understanding that it is not good for hardwood or laminate to wash them with soap and water. Sweep frequently, spot clean and occasionally (like 2 times a year) DAMP mop them. That is all I do and they look good and do not get rediculously dirty.

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J.B.

answers from Lewiston on

K., check you locate Walmart they have some very good cleaners for wood floors and lam......that will help you out. Striping hardwood floors are a big job and these products are very good that I have picked up at Walmart and they will bring your floor back with a rise with very little work. Good Luck, let me know how you make out. J.

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J.M.

answers from Boston on

We use the Bissel Flip It for cleaning the floors. They have a special solution for wood floors.

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S.P.

answers from Boston on

Try the Swiffer Wet jet. I have one for the wood floors and it works great, especially for quick cleanups.

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L.G.

answers from Burlington on

I find cleaning the wood floors with vinegar is the best. Just mix vinegar and water 1/3 vinegar, and 2/3 water. Use a regular mop, or a cloth mop like a swiffer. It works wonders on my floors, walls and glass.

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N.M.

answers from Boston on

i had the same problem when i moved from wall to wall carpet into a home with hard woods thrughout. i tried everything and liked the orange glo FOR FLOORS be sure whatever you use is for floors though i made the mistake of using the orange glow i use on my wood furniture and it shined it but made it slippery. its not fun walking through your house and fallin like your on a sheet of ice! ouch! i was reding your other responses and saw the water and vinegar and have heard about tht but i never could figure out how much vinegar and water. that would be much cheaper, if anyone know the mesurements id love to try it. but with the orange glow for floors use a sponge mop not a string mop.

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C.W.

answers from Boston on

Hi K.,
We just had wood floors installed and they recommended vinager and water. No residue and its the most natural way. Martha Stewarts HomeKeeping handbook also recommends it. Good luck....

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A.H.

answers from Hartford on

We have all wood floors in our house too, and we were told by the man who installed and finished our floors that wood floors sealed with polyurethane should not be cleaned with anything but a mop with warm water. He said not to even use things that say they are for wood floors because they wear away the finish.

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J.F.

answers from New London on

A solution of white vinegar and water is best....safest,too. Good luck!

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S.M.

answers from Boston on

Hello,

Our house is hard wood floors throughout and with two cats, a dog, and a preschooler, they need a lot of washing. We use the O-mop and Method products available online or at any Target (http://www.methodhome.com/products.php?cat=type&type=... ). Method products are all natural and the O-mop is quick and easy to use, no bucket, no residue. Good luck!!!!

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D.E.

answers from Boston on

I work with a company that makes all nontoxic cleaning products that are safe for use around your kids (and you!). I use just a tiny bit of our concentrated cleaner with water and a mop...or my hands and knees and a cloth!

Learn about what's really in your household products and chose safer alternatives! http://happy.healthyhometour.com

:)D.

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J.F.

answers from Portland on

Two suggestions, K.. One: white vinegar and hot water. It's all I use on my wood floors. I pour about a cup of vinegar in a bucket with the water. Two: I've heard that it's actually not a good idea to wash wood floors too frequently as it can damage the wood... and when you do, then lay out an old cotton towel, stand on it and shuffle along polishing and drying the floor. I have a 6 year old and a 9 month old and no mudroom so lots-a-dirt gets tracked in. I vacuum my laminate and my wood floors A LOT (sometimes twice a day), but mop only the laminate. Best to you!

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C.F.

answers from Springfield on

House Cleaner by trade I use on my clients sealed wood floors what they provide which is usually Murphy's and wring or squeeze out almost all of the solution prior to using the mop on the floor.( Just damp ) On my own sealed hardwood oak floors I use Ecover all natural hardwood floor cleaner with Linseed oil, Smells better than Murphys does but similar and does not harm our environment either. But I second the vinegar and water and I also second not washing your floors too often, once a week will do and spot clean thoughout the week. Just keep vacuuming and or sweeping to keep the dirt and fuzzies under control.

Laminate flooring is a whole other subject, windex is best for that and spot cleaning is the best as once liquid penetrates the joints is swells and permanately distorts the material.

Good Luck and message me if I can ever be of service :)

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A.L.

answers from Providence on

Hi K..

I have a few ideas. The first is a little pricey. If you can pick up a floor mate by hoover, it's designed for hardwood floor and laminates. It's a great machine. You basically are cleaning and vacing at the same time. It also dries the floors as you go. If you want a less expensive root, then I suggest getting a swiffer and some ZEP cleaner for hardwards. You don't have to rinse the ZEP so it's a one step process. Spray the hardwoods directly with the Zep in small areas (3-4 ft at at time) and them swiffer them. It really does a nice job on hardwoods. I use both methods. I do the floormate usually 1-2 time a month and the zep at least once a week.
Good luck and happy cleaning!
A.

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J.F.

answers from Boston on

I have hard wood floors though out my house too and I find that pine sol really works well. It cleans the floors, really picks up the dust and doesn't make them slippery.
Jen

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