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I grew up in a family floor covering business and have been surrounded by carpet, pad, tile, and wood for as far back as I can remember. As a kid I loved to bounce on the rolls of pad and do cherry drops off the fork-lift stinger. I loved to “help” my grandpa and dad on the job, picking up scraps and carrying tools. I might have even helped dump an entire bucket of glue on the new floors of a school out in Price back in the day, but there are no pictures to prove it so let’s pretend it never happened.
Wood floors have always been my favorite type of flooring, what can I say, Pyne is my maiden name!
(By the way, it’s pronounced “Pine” like the tree… NOT Payne, Piney, or Pin. Crazy people be making it way harder than necessary!)
Wood is warm, inviting, and gorgeous. If taken care of properly, a well loved wood floor can last a lifetime.
There is nothing quite as amazing to me as 100 year old wood still doing it’s beautiful thang.
In the last few years there has been a homemade cleaner craze taking over blogs and Pinterest and for the most part it’s awesome! I love a good homemade cleaner and I make them all the time but one cleaner I do not make is one to clean my wood floors. I get a lot of questions from friends asking what I use and why vinegar, like so many bloggers suggest, is a no-no so I thought I’d start a little series here on the blog about how to care for flooring. I grew up surrounded with flooring installation/repair and my family still runs our small business to this day. I have unlimited access to company reps and craftsman who have decades and decades of experience, so why not share a little insider info?
I’m on a mission to educate, make life easier, and save beautiful floors everywhere!
Ok, wood floors…
To start off, let’s talk some basics:
Both types of flooring have to have a finish put on for protection. You can purchase either factory finished flooring or unfinished flooring and have it stained and finished in the color and sheen of your choice. Both unfinished and pre-finished have their pluses and minuses. Buying unfinished flooring gives you the most freedom, options, and control when it comes to design. Unfinished flooring is messy to install and takes time to dry. Engineered is versatile in the fact that it can be installed practically anywhere. It is great for basements because you can lay it on concrete. Another plus is that it can be laid and walked on that day.
Gloss is shiny like a gym floor and it reflects light, matte is the least shiny and doesn’t reflect much light, and semi is somewhere in the middle. Generally speaking, the less shiny the less you will notice imperfections and wear, like dings and scratches. All levels of sheen will dull over time.
So you’ve picked out the perfect wood floor and it’s been installed, now what?
Oh yeah, just a heads up, these tips are meant for modern day wood flooring finished with poly not old timey waxed floors.
That’s a whole different ball game.
So, let’s talk more about the ph neutral cleaner I mentioned. I know you probably rolled your eyes when you read that so let me explain. These types of cleaners are made to balance the ph to just the right levels that will leave floors clean without haze and streaking. They are designed specifically for wood floors. Keep in mind that you aren’t actually cleaning the wood, you are cleaning the chemical finish that is protecting the wood.
You can purchase ph neutral cleaners from multiple sources like your local flooring store (Go see my folks, they’d love to help you!), home centers, or even on Amazon. I like to buy it by the gallon and mix it in a spray bottle. A gallon will last you a very long time and is your most economical choice. If you are worried about toxins, I like these cleaners because they are non-toxic, allergy and asthma friendly, and scent free.
Here are the tools I use to clean my wood floors:
I use a big shammy mop, a small shammy mop, a ph balance cleaner, and an old dish scraper.
*To use the dish scraper, just spray a little cleaner right on the stuck on gunk then scrape gently with the scraper. Wipe up the gunk then go over the spot again with your mop.
If, after you’ve tried everything and your floor still isn’t pretty, call a professional.
It might just be time to have those floors redone.
If you are in Utah, give my family a call!
They’d love to answer questions.
Trust me, some things are better left to the pros!
Well, now that we’ve got that out of the way go enjoy your beautiful floor!
Don’t be scared of your wood, embrace the beauty of it! Caring for a wood floor is actually quite simple once you know what to do, not do, and why. Though it’s an investment in the beginning, it will pay off for decades if loved and cared for.
Oh, and for the love, don’t try that olive oil pin on Pinterest unless you are looking to drop a wad of cash on a new floor in your near future. Hint: Olive oil goes rancid, will start to stink, will seep down into every nook and cranny, and will turn your floor black. People, people, people… *facepalm*
Come back next month for the next installment in the Flooring Insider Series!
These are great tips! Can’t wait to try them on my floors.
Oh, thank you Alise! Let me know how it goes!
“Do listen to Bob Seger…” HA! Thank you for sharing these tips, for the first time in my life we live in a place with almost all wood flooring and sometimes I’m not sure if I’m cleaning it right! Saving this post for future reference!
Thanks for stopping by, Belinda! Best of luck with your floors! They give such an awesome feeling to a home.
I have been using Norwex and water since we put our Pergo in a few years ago, but I feel like they look like a streaked mess all the time. I am going to try this Bona for sure! Thanks for all the info!
Hi Kirsten! Here is a link to Pergo’s website for their care instructions. Since it’s not real wood, you can use a vinegar solution. However, they still advise against a steam mop just like with real wood. Bona has a great cleaner made specifically for laminate floors and it’s awesome. You can find that at floor retailers and even Amazon. That’s what I would recommend. I love Norwex’s mop and I’m sure you could combine their mop and bona’s cleaner just fine.
Great list of do’s and don’ts for cleaning hardwood. Trying not to warp the floors is very important. Thanks so much for sharing!
Thank you for sharing. For occasional deep cleaning (dirt, oil and grime will build up over time), the best solution for cleaning wood floors is one cup of vinegar mixed with one gallon of water. Immerse a clean mop into the solution and wring it until it is damp-dry..
Hi Kaylee! Unfortunately, vinegar is not a recommended method of cleaning wood floors. As was said in the post, it etches the finish and can void your manufacturer’s warranty. But, if you find it works for you and you aren’t worried about your warranty, then you do you girl. Thanks for stopping by!
bona products are very good
thank you for the tips
It is really a big concern for cleaning the wooden flooring. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the tips! I recently had my hardwood floor refinished and was really skeptical about cleaning it since I had earlier used some harsh products which stripped off the entire finishing. I will be more careful this time. Again, thank you for the tips!
My sister isn’t probably aware that she shouldn’t use vinegar for cleaning hardwood floors as you mentioned. I visited her house last night and have noticed that some areas of her floor look cloudy and faded. I hope that having it refinished can restore its good appearance.
Good read, thanks for the guides and tips.