Keep It Natural: Cleaning and Preserving Your Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors are a beautiful flooring option. They bring natural color and ambiance to any room, along with an upscale feel that lends a special flair to your home.
However, they can be harder to care for than carpeted or tiled floors. If hardwood floors aren’t cleaned regularly, dirt and grime cause them to lose their luster. Even worse, lack of care can permanently damage a hardwood floor, so good cleaning and care are essential.
With that in mind, read on to learn how to clean wood floors naturally, and discover an easy-to-make DIY wood floor cleaner that will keep your hardwood floors sparkling for years to come.
How to Make a Natural Hardwood Floor Cleaner
You can find many brands of hardwood floor cleaner in stores today, but you don’t need to expose your household to harsh chemicals or noxious agents to keep your floors clean. In fact, the best hardwood floor cleaner is one you can make at home, and it only requires a few simple ingredients:
- 1 teaspoon of castile soap
- 4 cups of warm water, plus more for rinsing
- Up to 10 drops of the essential oil of your choice to give the solution a clean fragrance and antibacterial properties (good options are peppermint, lavender, or orange)
You’ll also need a:
- spray bottle
- microfiber mop (microfiber mops use less water than traditional mops and leave less moisture on a floor’s surface)
If you have darker wood floors, you can also add one more “secret” ingredient to your DIY hardwood floor cleaner: black tea. The tannins in the tea add a very light stain to your floors, along with a subtle luster. Just add a few black tea bags to the four cups of warm water and let it steep for about ten minutes. Then simply add either the tea water (or plain water for lighter floors) to your spray bottle and mix with the other ingredients to create your own homemade wood floor cleaner.
When you try out this DIY wood floor cleaner for the first time, it’s a good idea to test the solution in a low-traffic corner of your hardwood flooring.
Beware: Vinegar is a common additive in homemade cleaners, but you should not use it on hardwood flooring because of its acidity. Over time, the acid in vinegar can strip away the finish on your hardwood floor, leaving it cloudy and dull, and more susceptible to staining.
How to Clean Hardwood Floors Naturally
Now that you have created your homemade wood floor cleaner, simply follow these steps to clean and preserve your hardwood floors.
Step 1. Sweep your floors thoroughly
Use a broom or vacuum to catch all debris and make sure to also dust all nearby furniture and accessories, such as tables and floor lamps as well as wood baseboards and moldings.
Step 2. Test your new cleaning solution
Find a small patch of floor. See how it makes your floor look and dilute or concentrate your solution as needed. If you see streaks of the solution, or the area appears soapy and dull, add more water. It’s always better to err on the side of more dilution than more soap. Also, take a sniff to make sure your essential oils aren’t overpowering.
Step 3. Spot clean
Focus on stains and other trouble areas using a clean cloth rag and the solution to loosen stains.
Step 4. Work in sections
Spray small sections of your floor with the solution and use your microfiber mop to clean each section thoroughly. Be careful not to rub too hard to avoid damaging your floor.
Step 5. Dry the floor
These steps should all be part of your wood floor cleaning routine. After all, your hardwood floor is an investment. To avoid deep staining and warping, be sure you’re washing it correctly. You can also consult this maintenance article for more care and cleaning tips for hardwood floors. Remember, regularly sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping helps keep your hardwood floors beautiful—and create a space that’s wonderful to live in.
The contents of this article are provided for general guidance only. First American Home Warranty does not assume any responsibility for losses or damages as a result of using this information.