Buying a hardwood floor has become so mainstream in recent years, many people are using it in spaces once dominated by carpet. Thanks to quality floor manufacturers, it’s possible to buy a hardwood floor that’s comfortable and resistant to most stains.
Maintenance is still a requirement, though. Hardwood floors can’t clean themselves, unless one has a Roomba available running 24/7.
What happens if a nastier stain appears on your new hardwood floor? Recommendations on deep cleaning vary, though some simple steps can be taken for basic cases. Also, worthy floor cleaner products are available from leading flooring companies.
Before Starting Any Cleaning, Check Your Floor’s Finish
As noted by Bob Vila’s how-to site, everyone should first check which finish they have on their hardwood floor. Not knowing could mean using a floor-cleaning method doing more damage than helping.
It’ll be either two types of finishes: A surface finish or a penetrating finish. On a surface finish, it’s safer to use water-based cleaning items since water doesn’t penetrate into the wood.
For penetrating finishes, it means water does penetrate into the wood. These are usually made with wax coatings to give off a better aesthetic shine. Only solvent-based cleaners will be needed here over water.
Before tearing into a deep-seeded stain on your hardwood floor, it’s best to do a thorough dusting first. Mops with microfiber cloths are recommended for this, if also light sweeping with a broom, or a vacuum with a floor-brush attachment.
Cleaning a Stain Can Be Done Using Simple Household Items
A simple homemade cleaning solution is possible to clean off heavy dirt buildup on your hardwood floor. All you need is a quarter cup of dish soap and one gallon of warm water, something you might have concocted before.
Using this with a sponge mop works very effectively. However, it’s also a good plan to make circular motions while you clean to ensure the dirt is thoroughly picked up. A soft and dry towel is all that’s necessary to dry the floor surface.
Of course, this method is only for general dirt and grime. What should you do if you have a stubborn food stain, oil stain, pet stain, or even hardened gum?
These cleanup jobs require a little more work. You’ll still only need simple household tools, likely from your kitchen or bathroom.
Using a Plastic Knife and Spatula to Scrape Off Specific Stains
Any plastic knife or spatula you no longer use for cooking or other purposes can work well in scraping off things like food stains or gum.
With your plastic knife, simply place it under the edge of a food stain and slide the knife up. Doing this usually removes the food particle safely. Although it’ll probably leave a small scraped spot on the wood.
To clean that spot, simply use a damp cloth to wipe up the marks. You may need to use a little floor wax and buffer it into the spot if scraping off food from a penetrating finish. It’ll help retain the shiny surface these floors are known to have.
For cleaning off gum, dried wax, or crayon markings on a hardwood floor, placing ice over the spot will make the stain harden. When brittle enough, you can use a small spatula to scrape the stain off the surface.
Extra-fine sandpaper works well for the harder stains like ink or pet urine.
Keep in mind specialized floor cleaners are available from major floor brands like Armstrong. These help with regular hardwood maintenance cleaning and available through outlets like Floor City at discount prices.