If you live in an old house, there’s a good chance that you have wood floors. Even if you have carpeting, you might have wood flooring hiding underneath them and not know it. Knowing how to clean old hardwood floors is a valuable skill for homemakers and will ensure that your house stays attractive and clean.
Cleaning heavily soiled hardwood floors might seem daunting, but a little know how and some elbow grease are all you need for clean hardwood floors. This article shows you how to deep clean worn hardwood floors and bring out the lovely gleam and vibrant color that only wood can provide.
In this guide, you’ll find tips to make finished hardwood clean and beautiful, and we also show you the best methods for getting unfinished hardwood flooring clean and ready for refinishing. You’ll be ready for any floor-related cleaning tasks with our assistance.
Cleaning Heavily Soiled Hardwood Floors
Finished hardwood floors add value and appeal to the home. You need to know how to take care of them, though. If you clean wood floors with the same harsh chemicals as you do laminate floors or tile, you can strip away the sealant and damage the wood.
The key to knowing how to clean floors is understanding which cleaning methods allow you to get the floor clean without clouding or removing the finish.
How to Clean Old Hardwood Floors with Finish
This section examines methods of cleaning heavily soiled hardwood floors that still have a good finish.
Wood floor finishes are easy to maintain; all you need to do is keep to a cleaning schedule and use the proper products, and your finished hardwood will last for decades. In this section, we give you the practices and cleaning options you need to set up a regular cleaning regimen.
1. Sweep Your Floors Every Day
Never overlook the value of a daily sweeping. Your humble broom can nip most cleaning problems in the bud before they can take root and become real issues. Dirt, pet hair, and other debris gather quickly if unchecked, so it’s essential to give your floors a daily sweep down and dusting.
Give each room with hardwood floors a methodical sweeping every day, moving from one side to the other and pushing the dirt as you go. You can also use a dry mop in place of the broom. Use a foxtail to get into crevices and corners.
Pay attention to the flooring around the molding or wainscoting, as these are prime spots for hair and dirt accumulation. Sweep the debris into a dustpan using your foxtail.
2. Vacuum Hardwood Floors Weekly
Sweeping is an excellent first step, but you’ll still have to contend with dirt that the broom can’t dislodge. Dust and dirt can gather into the wood’s pores.
To get that sort of contamination out, you need something stronger than a broom. That’s where your vacuum comes into play. A vacuum is just what you need for stronger weekly cleaning.
Make sure that your vacuum doesn’t have a beater bar attachment, which is excellent for carpeting but scratches wooden surfaces. An accessory with a soft brush is perfect when you need to know how to deep clean worn hardwood floors. Run the vacuum across the entire floor, and pay special attention to areas the broom and foxtail can’t touch.
3. Treat Your Wood Floors with Vinegar
If you have spills and stains such as dog urine or other nasty stuff on your hardwood floors, you need a cleaner that can handle the mess without harming your floor’s finish. Vinegar is what the doctor ordered in these sorts of situations.
White vinegar’s natural cleaning power will eat away at surface spills without damaging the sealant or underlying wood. Give your floors a mopping with vinegar whenever needed.
Add vinegar, warm water, and essential oil to a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the cleaning solution on any spill or stain, paying attention to high-traffic areas. Wait for at least five minutes to loosen the debris, and then hit the spot with a mop.
Wring out the mop when it gets waterlogged to remove excess water. Then, spray plain water on the floor, and give it another pass with a damp mop.
4. Use a Commercial Hardwood Floor Cleaner
If you encounter stains that vinegar can’t touch, you might need to move on to a hardwood floor cleaner. Commercial cleaners such as Bona are available at Home Depot and other home improvement stores. They’re perfect for finished wood, act as floor polish, and clean up almost any mess in a heartbeat.
Try to use a floor cleaner every month or so to ensure that your floors stay clean and in top condition. Remove all furniture from the floor before cleaning with a hardwood floor cleaner. Sweep the floor, and hit it with a wet mop, and then move on to the floor cleaner.
Follow the cleaner manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that you can reach out for support if you encounter difficulties. Always let the floor dry entirely after cleaning with hardwood cleaner before you walk on the floor or put the furniture back in place.
How to Deep Clean Worn Hardwood Floors
Knowing how to clean old hardwood floors that still have a coat of finish is the easy part. Unfinished wood or floors with worn-down finish are a very different story and require another approach. You need to use special techniques for cleaning heavily soiled hardwood floors without a finish.
Cleaning Unfinished Floors
This section looks at the best methods of cleaning old wood floors that need a new coat of finish. We show you which cleaning agents won’t damage raw wood and will leave it looking beautiful, and you’ll also get a few DIY methods for preparing your old hardwood floors for refinishing.
Your hard work will pay off with beautiful-looking floors and added home value.
5. Scrape Off Old Debris
If you’ve pulled up your carpet and discovered old hardwood, you probably need to give it lots of attention to get it back into shape and refinished. You’ll have to contend with all sorts of stuck-on debris on the floorboards, including old glue and other adhesives.
A scraper will make your cleaning experience much more manageable and is essential for rehabilitating your old floors. It’s a significant first step when you want to know how to deep clean worn hardwood floors.
Hold a blunt scraper at an angle to work it under any deposits or glue, and move it in a gentle back and forth motion. Don’t bear down too hard to avoid digging into the wood.
Keep at it until the area is clean and ready for additional care. Wipe down the wood from time to time with a dry cloth or paper towel to check your progress. Vacuum up dust or debris with a hand vac.
6. Sand Down the Floor
Unfinished wood has enormous potential for improvement, but you have to get down to the bare wood before you can start rehabbing it. Once you’ve taken care of any large debris with a scraper, it’s time to break out the sandpaper.
A good sanding is the best way to bring your planks down to the bare wood and is the perfect option for taking care of scuffs and removing water stains from wood. You can use a power sander to take care of the entire floor, or you can spot sand by hand if you’re working with a small patch of unfinished wood.
Sand the area you wish to clean, using only a little pressure to avoid damaging the wood. Start with the coarsest grit sandpaper, and work your way down to the finest grit. Vacuum up dust as you work, and wipe down the wood periodically to check your progress.
Use the foxtail and dustpan from time to time if you need to remove debris or large amounts of dirt. Repeat until you expose the raw wood.
7. Treat Unfinished Wood with Mineral Oil
You might not wish to finish your wood floors, of course. Unfinished wood floors can be spectacular and make any room look amazing, but you’ll need to treat them to prevent dulling, wear, and damage. Mineral oil is the right choice of cleaning products for your hardwood, and it will bring out a deep glow in your flooring.
Use mineral oil on unfinished wood whenever you clean it to keep it in like-new condition. Never use mineral oil on floors with a polyurethane finish or any varnish to prevent damage.
Give the floor a good sweeping before you break out the oil. After you’ve swept away any dirt, squirt a little mineral oil on a microfiber cloth. Rub the oilcloth in the direction of the grain to ensure that you pick up any remaining grime or dirt.
Keep buffing with the fabric until you produce a rich, warm gleam in the wood. Make sure to wipe off any excess oil before you finish cleaning.
We hope you enjoyed reading our ideas for cleaning heavily soiled hardwood floors. A home with wood floors is an attractive and welcoming place to live, but you need to make sure that you keep the floors clean to get the most out of them. Our guide shows you how to deep clean worn hardwood floors and will ensure that they stay beautiful forever.
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