How to Clean Wood Floors



Wood floors bring a warm, organic type of style and beauty to a space. Not only that, but wood floors are beautifully durable and long-lasting, if they’re well cared for. This is a tutorial to demonstrate how to clean wood floors in a way that is fast, effective, and useful for the long haul so that your wood floors will age with charm and grace. You’ll probably want to undergo this cleaning regimen three or four times each month for maximum effect.

Begin cleaning your wood floors by removing all removable furniture or items from the wood floor itself. This includes dining chairs, the dining table (if possible), stools, carts, rugs, drapes, etc.

Don’t be surprised if the adjacent room ends up looking like this in the process. It may seem time consuming to remove all of this stuff, but it will make cleaning the wood floor itself much faster, and the end result will be a hundred times more satisfying if you have an empty wood slate to work with.

It’s now time to sweep, vacuum, and/or dry-dust mop. You can do one of these things or two of them or all three. I always recommend a regular sweep followed by dry-dust mopping or vacuuming, simply because the very nature of going over the floor twice will remove dirt and debris that are easily missed on the first pass.

As you dry-dust mop (or vacuum), your goal is to collect all the smaller particles that regular sweeping tends to miss, especially around corners and nooks and crannies.

When you see spots on the floor that aren’t removed with the dry efforts, you might need to scrape them before cleaning the wood floor. It’s kind of like a pre-cleaning spot clean.

An effective tip for removing hardened scum on the wood floors is to take a plastic scraper or the side of a credit card and gently scrape the gunk away. This is easier on the wood floor coating than other methods, and it’s effective in removing many hardened spots that would otherwise take a lot of time and effort to scrub away.

When the floor is free of dust, debris, raised spots, and whatever else, it’s time to make it shine. Grab a bottle of Murphy’s Oil Soap. This liquid cleaner is gentle on the wood but effective in cleaning at the same time. (You could also make your own 100% natural cleaner by mixing vinegar to water in a 1:10 ratio.)

Following the instructions on the bottle, squirt a bit of the liquid directly onto the wood floor.

Use a barely damp mop to work the oil soap onto your wood floor. Move with the grain, and overlap your mop by several inches with each pass to make sure you’re cleaning and covering the floor evenly.

Be sure to start in the farther corners of your floor, leaving a pathway to the sink and an exit route so you can go somewhere else while the floor dries.

Be sure to squirt your oil soap onto the floor far enough away from the section you’ve just mopped so that it doesn’t splatter on top of your freshly mopped floor, or you’ll have to go back and do those sections again.

Repeat the process until you’ve covered your entire floor with oil soap. Some people prefer to go back over it with a clean, damp mop and swipe away any residue left behind by the oil soap. I find the oil soap to be effective on its own and choose not to wipe it after application.

A clean wood floor is like the 8th wonder of the world, really. So pretty. Don’t forget the door mats near the doors to help your floor stay squeaky clean after you’ve put in the effort to get it that way. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning how to clean wood floors. Now go clean yours so it gleams!

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