Proving once again that Mama knows best.

By Southern Living Editors
November 27, 2019

Hardwood floors are one of the most highly sought-after features in a home. Wall-to-wall carpets simply have a way of making any space look a tad dingy; while there is a right way to do carpets, more often than not they’re relics of decades past. Not only do hardwood floors look sleek and shiny, but they can be much easier to clean than carpeting, which stains oh-so-easily (although we must say, these machine-washable area rugs may have just solved that problem). Red wine spill? No problem—it’ll wipe right off. Crackers dropped from the kids’ hands and crushed to a powder? Just sweep it up.

While wood floors can be more durable and easier to clean than carpeting, it’s crucial to ensure that your cleaning techniques are good for the wood. Despite what Nancy the nosy neighbor may tell you, there is a right way and a wrong way to clean wood floors. If you mistreat your wood floors and scrub them down with too many chemicals, the wood can warp and its shine can fade. Care for your wood floors with this gentle, yet effective cleaning solution.

If you didn’t already believe that Mama knows best, we’ve got a new batch of proof. The best way to clean your wood floors is with good, old-fashioned soap and water.

Yes, we know, water and wood floors do not play nicely together. But a little bit of water goes a long way. When cleaning your wood floors, you want to make sure you’re not using too much water, which can get underneath and damage the wood. Wring out your mop before slapping it down on the floor so it’s damp, not dripping wet. Follow this simple rule and you’re good to go.

How To Clean Wood Floors

  1. Mix a few cups of water with a few drops of dish soap. Gently mix where to the point that you can see a few traces of foam, but no large bubbles.
  2. Dip your mop in the mixture and wring it out so it’s damp, not dripping. Rub the mop in circular motions on your floor and let dry. Once mostly dry, wipe down the floor with a dry towel.

If you’re looking to do a deep clean, skip the dish soap and mix water with white vinegar and lemon essential oil. This DIY cleaning solution will cost you much less than a hardwood floor cleaner. You can use specifically-designed wood cleaning products if it suits your fancy—just ensure to select a product approved or recommended by the floor finisher to ensure it won’t damage your wood. But why spend the money when a good ol’ water-and-dish-soap concoction does the trick?

We recommend using this low-maintenance cleaning technique every week or two to keep your floors looking fresh and shiny. So put down the harsh chemicals and keep your wood floors in tip-top shape with this easy cleaning trick.

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