The enduring timelessness of hardwood floors is not their only appeal; it’s the ease at which you can clean them which keeps them so popular in homes across the country. While carpet has the charm of under-foot softness, hardwood floors are incredibly easy to mop, wash and give quick spruce to. If you’ve been looking for hardwood floors in Charleston and want to know how to clean them, there are a number of effective methods. If you have a particular type of flooring or are wondering how to clean them without stripping away oils and varnishes, here are the best ways to get them sparkling like new.

First of all: remove the dust

Before you reach for any form of liquid, one of the best ways to clean your hardwood floors is with a brush or cloth. Of course, using liquid is useful for removing stains and spillages, but giving your floors a regular sweep-over will provide some general maintenance. It’s also said that removing general grit and dust can help prevent scratches and general wear and tear. A brush or a microfiber cloth both do a brilliant job of trapping dust, allergens and other dirt that may have been trampled into the house. Just a quick once-over can make a remarkable difference without going for a deep-clean.

If you want to be eco-friendly about your dusting, a brush or microfiber are both ideal methods of cleaning. Microfiber pads and cloths can be chucked into the washing machine once they become too dirty. Simply wash, dry out and re-attach them when you’re ready. In fact, it’s recommended that you invest in a microfiber mop. Relatively inexpensive, they allow you to mop your floors regularly without any water, and with very little fuss.

If you want to opt for a quicker method of dust removal, or you want to get those hard-to-reach places, then, of course, you can use your vacuum cleaner. If you have an older hardwood floor with nooks and crannies, and maybe even some gaps between the panels, a vacuum is ideal for sucking out the grit. However, it’s important to remember that a vacuum cleaner is made of hard plastic that could scratch your hardwood floor. Just be mindful of the wheels scraping and denting the floor – as well as the attachments. If you have any vacuum cleaner heads that have a soft bristle on them, then these are perfect for hardwood floors. Motorized robot vacuum cleaners are also particularly useful for softly sucking up dust and animal hair without damaging the floor underneath.

Liquids: do or don’t?

Of course, if you have a big spillage or something that won’t budge with a dry cloth, then some liquid is needed. However, it’s essential to know that too much liquid on a hard-wood floor is a general no-no. Dousing your new floor with endless soapy water is not good for the finish or the condition of the wood. Liquid and hardwood floors can go together, if only in complete moderation. Here are a few tips:

  • Use a small squirt of specialized wood-floor cleaner on a damp cloth (perhaps on your microfiber mop) and wipe over the surface. This is ideal for when you have a few sticky patches or just want to make your floors gleam a little more than usual.
  • Don’t wash your floors with a bucket of hot water and soap. Standing water is really bad for the condition of your wooden floor. Loading your mop with soapy water won’t get your floor any cleaner than a wet rag with specialized wood cleaner. While a bucket of hot water might be satisfying, it might do more harm than good.
  • Don’t reach for the steam cleaners. This is just hot water broken down into the mist, and so this is equally bad for your hardwood floors. Keeping your steam cleaning for your drapes and vinyl flooring is probably the best option.
  • Be careful with the advice on vinegar. Many people are tempted to use ‘natural’ ingredients, such as vinegar and lemon juice. Not only will the former leave your home with a strong smell, but it also won’t do your wooden floors much good either. A tiny bit of soap and water is the way to go – not to mention a far more effective method of lifting dirt and grease.

Always avoid polishes and waxes

Be mindful of products that claim to wax or polish your hardwood floors as well as clean them. When you consider that you very rarely need to apply water to them, how often do you think you will need to polish or wax them? In fact, it’s advised that you stay well away from anything that leaves a residue, as this can be slippery and ultimately dangerous. Anything that has wax in can also interrupt the process of sanding and re-coating much more problematic in the future – so always avoid from products that include this. If you’ve inherited a house with a poorly-maintained hardwood floor, or you’ve done irreversible damage to your floor, you may need to sand and re-varnish. This process requires a professional approach and finish, and a bucket of shine-inducing cleaner probably won’t do the trick.

After you have a hardwood floor installed, remember to keep it clean regularly. Not only will this save you a more extensive job in the future, but it will also prevent general dirt and grime from scratching the surface. Of course, it is inevitable that you will get spillages and the odd sticky spot on your floor, and a bit of liquid will be necessary to remove it. However, it is important that you don’t approach it with a mop and bucket in the same way that you would with a vinyl or stone floor. Soaking your newly-laid floor with hot water could really be detrimental to its condition. Instead, gentle, regular sweeping will keep your hardwood looking like new.