How To Deep Clean Hardwood Floors To Keep Them Looking Their Best

If you’ve ever watched any show involving home renovations, you probably know how sought-after and special hardwood floors are. It’s not surprising that something so sought-after probably requires a bit of maintenance, too. Unlike laminate, vinyl, linoleum, textile, stone, or carpeted flooring, hardwood floors require a special version of deep cleaning.

“Some floor types, such as tile or luxury vinyl, are more durable and waterproof,” explains Kathy Turley, Director of Marketing for Home Clean Heroes in Virginia Beach, Virginia. “Wood is a more porous material, so you'll want to minimize liquid absorption.” Below, we’ve asked Turley for her best tips on how to deep clean hardwood floors the right way. 

Mop on Wood Floor

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Tips for Deep Cleaning Hardwood Floors

First off, you want to start by getting rid of surface-level dust and debris using a dust mop or a vacuum, just like you would during a regular clean. Then, it’s time to wet the mop with a cleaning pad and warm water. “A soft cleaning pad will trap dirt as you go,” explains Turley. “Remember: avoid using too much liquid—if you accidentally use a little more than intended and the floors are damp, just be sure to go over everything with dry cleaning pads.” 

When mopping the floors, be sure to look around for stains or buildup between the floorboards. “Putty knives can be used to gently scrape away grime, then gently spot clean anywhere that needs extra attention,” suggests Turley. “It’s optional, but using an antibacterial wood floor cleaner will disinfect the floor with a mop.” 

How To Remove Stains from Hardwood Floors

According to Turley, it’s best to use a mineral oil and apply it to the stain, then use a dry microfiber cloth to buff the stain away. “You don't want to use that oil as a spot cleaner (like you would use Resolve on carpet),” warns Turley. “After you buff the stain, we suggest distributing the oil to a larger section on and around the original stain site. Then, let it sit or ‘cure’ for several hours, and then wipe away with a clean dry microfiber cloth.” 

What Not To Do When Deep Cleaning Hardwood Floors

There are a few things you should avoid when deep cleaning your hardwood floors. Stay away from abrasive cleaners or alkaline products (like vinegar). “Abrasive cleaners can scratch the floors and alkaline can dull the finish on the floor,” explains Turley. “If you are going to use vinegar, you will want to dilute it with water—a 50/50 mixture should do the trick.”

However, remember that wood is naturally porous and will absorb the liquid if too much is applied, causing damage or warping of the floor. “You'll need to take into consideration whether or not your floor has a finish (like a polyurethane) which acts as a barrier (and the water will pool) or if it is natural or unfinished, in which case the wood will absorb the water,” explains Turley. 

Tips for Keeping Hardwood Floors Clean

Indoor carpets protect the hardwood floors, but if you are going to cover them up, why have them in the first place? “Having guests and family remove their shoes before walking on your hardwoods can cut down on dirt and debris brought in on the shoes—unfortunately, this can act almost like sandpaper on the finish,” explains Turley. “This can dull or scratch the wood.”  

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