Best Ways to Clean Hardwood Floors - Home & Texture
Cleaning Cleaning Hardwood

Don't Use These Chemicals on Your Hardwood Floors

Keep your floors vibrant and damage-free.

May 28, 2024 at 3:42 PM PST
Updated on May 27, 2024 at 10:43 PM PST
Cleaning Cleaning Hardwood

Don't Use These Chemicals on Your Hardwood Floors

Keep your floors vibrant and damage-free.

May 28, 2024 at 3:42 PM PST
Updated on May 27, 2024 at 10:43 PM PST

Picture this: you’ve just moved into your dream home. The floors are a gleaming expanse of rich, polished hardwood, and you’re feeling like royalty. Fast forward a few months, and those once-gorgeous boards are looking a bit… sad. Scratches, dullness, and a few mysterious stains have taken the shine off your sanctuary. What happened? Chances are, the issue is lurking in your cleaning supplies. Yes, those well-meaning chemicals can turn your hardwood floor into a not-so-grand stage.
Here’s what not to use on your hardwood floors, so you can keep them looking flawless for years.

Wood floors
Photography Credit: Gabby K

1. Ammonia

is fantastic for making your bathroom sparkle, but it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to hardwood floors. Ammonia is highly alkaline, and while it might be great at cutting through grime, it’s not so kind to your floor’s finish. Over time, ammonia can cause the finish to deteriorate, leaving your beautiful wood vulnerable to scratches and damage.

2. Vinegar

Vinegar, often considered the all-natural favorite of DIY cleaners, is often touted as a miracle solution. And for many things, it is. But for hardwood floors? Not so much. Vinegar is acidic, and while it’s natural, it’s not friendly to your floor’s finish. Repeated use can dull the shine and make your floor look like it’s covered in a fine layer of dust.

3. Bleach

Bleach feels like the ultimate germ killer. But using it on your hardwood floors is too harsh. It can strip away the finish and even discolor the wood itself, leading to unsightly patches that no amount of sanding can fix.

4. Oil-Based Soaps

Oil-based soaps might sound luxurious and nourishing, but they’re a big no-no for hardwood floors. These soaps can leave a residue that builds up over time, making your floors look dull and greasy. Plus, they can interfere with any future refinishing efforts, creating more headaches down the road.

5. Wax-Based Products

Wax can create a slippery surface that’s hazardous to walk on. Plus, it can build up and create a dull, uneven appearance. But, if you love that shiny look, use a hardwood floor polish that’s designed for your specific floor type.

6. Steam Cleaners

Steam cleaners are magical machines for tiles and carpets. However, the high heat and moisture can penetrate the wood, causing it to warp and buckle over time.
As an alternative, use a damp—not wet—mop for cleaning, and always dry the floor immediately afterward.

Damaged floors
Photography Credit:Scott Webb

7. Abrasive Cleaners

You might be tempted to use an abrasive cleaner to tackle tough stains or grime, but resist the urge. Abrasive cleaners can scratch the finish and even the wood itself, leaving your floors looking like they’ve been in a battle zone.
Instead, use a soft cloth or a mop with a microfiber pad to clean your floors. Your hardwood will stay smooth and scratch-free.

8. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is great for disinfecting wounds, but it’s not so great for your hardwood floors. While it might not seem as harsh as bleach, hydrogen peroxide can still cause discoloration and damage to the wood’s finish. Stick to hardwood floor cleaners that are designed to be gentle yet effective.

The Right Way to Clean Hardwood Floors

So, how do you go about keeping those floors gleaming? Here’s a simple, foolproof routine to maintain your hardwood floors.

  • Sweep or Vacuum Regularly: Dirt and debris can scratch the surface. Use a soft-bristle broom or a vacuum with a hardwood floor attachment.
  • Damp Mop Occasionally: Use a well-wrung mop with a pH-neutral cleaner specifically designed for hardwood floors. Avoid excess water.
  • Wipe Spills Immediately: Liquids can seep into the wood and cause damage. Keep a cloth handy to tackle spills right away.
  • Use Furniture Pads: Protect your floors from scratches by placing pads under furniture legs.
  • Keep Humidity Levels Stable: Wood expands and contracts with changes in humidity. Aim to keep your home’s humidity levels between 40-60 percent



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