Cleaning and maintaining hardwood floors FAQs

With today’s advances in wood flooring, wood floor maintenance has never been easier. With these tips for hardwood floors, you will be able to clean your laminate floor in no time.

Hardwood floors cleaning questions

Cleaning hardwood floors:
The easiest and most common cleaning tip for hardwood flooring is to sweep, vacuum, and use a dry mop when cleaning your hardwood floors. Mopping your floor with a lot of water is not advisable because this can lead to water and moisture buildup.
What to use to clean hardwood floors?
The following products should not be used on your floor:

  • Detergents, oils, waxes, polishes, bleach, scouring agents
  • ‘All-in-one floor cleaners’
  • Oil soaps.

Never use wax, oil soap or other household cleaners on your hardwood floor. They can dull the finish and make refinishing more difficult.
How to clean old hardwood floors:
Most hardwood floors are factory finished with an advanced polyurethane finish that is both durable and easy to care for. Sweep or vacuum the floor frequently to remove loose dust and grit. Regular sweeping or vacuuming will help keep harmful particles off the floors. Day-to-day wear will dull the floor as dirt and oils get into the surface. To clean these away, use a cleaning solution specially formulated for hardwood floors.
How to care for hardwood floors:
To keep floors in good condition, it is recommended that they are cleaned and refreshed every 6 to 12 months or 3 to 5 years, depending on the traffic and the severity of any damage. Never walk on floors when it is being installed or cleaned. Allow a drying time of at least one to two hours before walking on it. It is best to allow 24 hours for drying to allow the floor to cure properly.
How to make hardwood floors shine:
Sweep or dust and mop wood floors daily, especially in entryways and other areas prone to heavy traffic. And use vinegar and water, if necessary, to make the floors shine. The best solution for cleaning wood floors is one cup of vinegar mixed with one gallon of water.
How to remove black stains from hardwood floors:
Make a wet paste of baking soda and white vinegar, apply this liberally to the stain, and let it stand until it is completely dry. Wipe up and you will see the black stains disappear in time.
What is the best vacuum for hardwood floors?
The best way to clean a hardwood surface is by sucking the dirt up using a vacuum cleaner. Some vacuum cleaners allow you to raise the floor cleaner attachment a few inches off the ground. When picking a vacuum cleaner, one should consider its versatility, rubber heels and suction power for hardwood floors. The Miele Complete C2 Hardfloor and Bissell Hard Floor Expert Multi-Cyclonic 1547 are perfect in this regard.
How to get wax off hardwood floors:
Sweep away loose dirt, dust, and other debris, and mop the floor with warm water to remove any grime or residues from the wood’s surface. Pour a small amount of mineral spirits and wipe off the wax.
How to remove paint from hardwood floors:
Use a dull butter knife or credit card to gently scrape dried paint off your wood floor and apply a small dab of denatured alcohol for paint stains.
How to get rid of pet odors in hardwood floors
Get a bottle of enzyme-based floor cleaner from your pet store and mop off any stain. Protect the wood to prevent this from reoccurring.

Maintain, restore and repair hardwood flooring

How to refinish hardwood floors:
  • Sanding your hardwood floors takes three sessions with progressively lighter grit sandpaper.
  • The first step is to completely clean the surface of the floor. It should be swept or vacuumed to thoroughly remove any dust or debris that may be present.
  • Once you have completed using the power tools to sand the floor, you can work on any areas that remain using medium grade sandpaper.
  • In some cases, you may choose to paint your refinished hardwood flooring. This will completely remove the look of the wood, replacing it with whatever color you choose.
  • You need to apply a treatment that can help to protect it from further damage so that you can maintain the brand-new look of the surface for as long as possible.
  • Polyurethane is a toxic substance and should only be applied in well-ventilated areas with the proper eye, hand, and breathing equipment.
  • Vanish is needed as it is less thick, and so that spot repairs can be more easily made when future damage occurs.
  • Sealer is then needed and provides the least protection – it may need to be reapplied every 6-12 months depending on traffic use.
  • Make sure that whatever you use is applied in a thin even coat, with no puddles or drips to affect the finished look.

These finishes can be sanded down and then reapplied in areas to create a matched appearance.
How to sand hardwood floors:
  • Prep work is needed, such as removing all the furniture and covering doorways with plastic.
  • Use a carbide scraper to remove finish from corners.
  • When the sanding is done, use a paint scraper to attack spots that the machines can’t reach.
  • It takes coarse abrasive to cut through a finish and into hardwood.
  • Start with 36-grit. If that does not completely remove the finish in one pass, step down to 24-grit. If 24-grit does not remove at least three-quarters of the finish in one pass, go to 16-grit.
  • Fresh, sharp belts sand faster and deliver better results.
  • Replace the sandpaper when it is dull. Dull paper will not remove swirls left by the previous grit.
How to stain hardwood floors:
  • If you live in an older house that has carpeting over the hardwood floor, you will, of course, need to remove the carpeting first.
  • Sand the floor. For a 100 square foot area, you will need approximately 4 sheets of sandpaper.
  • Use a broom & dustpan to sweep away the top layer of dust left behind after sanding.
  • Top the floor with a stain or sealant.
  • Shake the Seal thoroughly & fill the paint tray about ¼ of the way full of stain.
How to repair hardwood floors:
For light scratches, rub fine steel over the scratch. Be sure to rub the steel wool along the grain of the wood or you will have more scratches to repair. For deeper scratches, use lightweight sandpaper. Be sure to sand along the grain of the wood.
How to buff a floor:
To buff a wood floor successfully, you will need to rent or purchase a stand-up floor-buffing machine. Refinishing hardwood floors helps to preserve the wood and make the boards shine again.
How to get scratches out of hardwood floors without sanding:
Repair minor scratches in the floor’s protective coating with floor cleaner and protective finish. Simply clean the scratch with a damp cloth dipped in hardwood floor cleaner. Rub the cleaner over the scratched area.
How to fix squeaky hardwood floors:
You will need to stop that friction that causes squeaks by driving short screws from the underside of the subfloor into the bottom of the finished flooring.
How to fix gaps in hardwood floors:
This can be done by a:

  • Wooden strip knocked down between the floorboards
  • Caulk or filler used to build up layers until the gap is filled
  • Pushing Draught Ex down into the gaps in the floor
  • Stop the gap with floorboard gap filler
How to get dents out of hardwood floors:
  • Sand out a dent in the finish with 150-grit wet/dry sandpaper
  • Repair a dent in the wood by first sanding off the finish
  • Fold a dish towel into four and put it over the dent
  • Fill a dent that is more than about 1/2 inch deep with wood floor filler
  • Apply stain to the patch with a rag or paintbrush after the sanding is complete
  • Apply a coat of clear finish to the patch with a paintbrush. Let the finish dry the resand
How often do hardwood floors need to be refinished:
Usually, engineered hardwood flooring is ¾ inches thick or sometimes more. With this thickness, it is safe to refinish them up to 4-6 times.