Always Vacuum First
Begin by giving the floor a thorough vacuum. Pay attention to high-traffic areas like doorways and hallways. But don’t forget about hidden spots – small stones, pet hair and dirt often get kicked around and collect in low-traffic areas like the toe kick under the cabinet or under furniture. While you’re vacuuming, thoroughness is key!
Establish a weekly routine of vacuuming your floors.
Once a month, the floors should be mopped to deep-clean the wood and make it shine.
How to Mop Hardwood Floors
Never mop a floor until you’ve swept and vacuumed it. Once that’s finished, grab your mop!
Fill the sink or a bucket with hot water and your preferred wood-floor cleaning solution. Alternately, you can mix a tablespoon of dish soap or one cup of white vinegar in a gallon of hot water.
Evaluate your floor. Are there any sticky substances? Use an ice cube to freeze stuck-on gunk; then scape it off with an old credit card or plastic putty knife. Establish a cleaning route; begin in one corner of the room and work backward so the floor has time to dry before you walk over it.
Before mopping, rinse the mop in the sink with hot running water to loosen any debris from last time you used it. Work the mop in a “S” motion, leading with the same edge every time to capture debris instead of just spreading it around.
You should never saturate wood floors with water, so wring the mop each time you dunk it in the solution. How often should you dunk the mophead? Rinse it in the cleaning solution every time you finish a four-foot-square section of floor. Replace your mopping solution every time you move to a new room.
Once the floors are clean, use a wax or floor polish to make them shine.
How to Keep Your Hardwood Floors Clean
Enforce a no-shoes policy in your household to keep your floors clean. Make it easy for people to take their shoes off by placing a small bench by the door. To capture dirt before it’s tracked inside, place an interior and exterior floor mat at each entry point of your home. A good choice for an outdoor mat is a heavy-duty rubber one. Inside, you might go for a natural-fiber floor mat, which looks great and is also easy to occasionally shake out outside.
If you have pets, keep a towel by the door to quickly wipe their paws before they enter the house. You may also invest in a paw-washing bottle, which makes it easy to quickly wash muddy dog paws.
Is it mud season? Use a microfiber cloth and an all-purpose spray to “hand mop,” or wipe down, small areas on the floor before the dirt has time to spread around the house. This method will help you go even longer between deep cleans and only takes a minute or two.