Whether you’ve got hardwood, tile, stone or carpet, here’s how to make it sparkle, with help from our sponsor, Neato.
Cleaning the floor: It certainly isn’t sexy, but like paying your taxesor visiting the dentist annually, it shouldn’t be avoided unless you like the idea of living with grime, dust bunnies or worse. But keep in mind that not all floors are created equal: A cleaner that degreases one surface beautifully might be too harsh for another.
Read on to learn how to clean hardwood floors, tile, carpet and more.
HOW TO CLEAN WOOD FLOORS:
The secret to cleaning hardwood floors is determining what type of finish you have since that, and not the wood itself, will determine your plan of action. Most new floors are surface-sealed with a coating such as urethane, polyurethane or polyacrylic, and these are easiest to deal with since they can be swept and mopped. Others might be called seal-treated, oil-treated or have a finish like a lacquer or shellac—these are less resistant to moisture than a floor that’s been surface-sealed. To figure it out which one you have, run your finger across the wood floor. If you don’t create a smudge, it’s likely been surface-sealed.
How to clean surface-sealed hardwood floors:
- For a surface-sealed hardwood floor, you can make a DIY floor cleaner by mixing a quarter-cup of either a mild dishwashing soap or Murphy Oil Soap with a gallon of warm water.
- Remember that wood and water don’t mix well (even if there’s a protective coating), so use a mop that’s damp, not dripping.
- Mop in the direction of the wood’s grain and when you’ve finished the entire area, fill the bucket with plain water and rinse.
Note: Never use oil, wax or furniture polish spray on a sealed hardwood floor, as these products can leave the finish dull or slippery.
How to clean untreated hardwood floors or floors that have penetrating seal, oil finish, lacquer, varnish or shellac:
- First thoroughly vacuum to remove all dust and debris.
- Then apply either a liquid or paste variety (liquid is easier to put on, but paste lasts longer).
- Buff with either a soft cloth or buffing machine.
Later, extra wax can also be used on a fine steel wool pad to remove heel scuffs or stubborn food stains.