What Cleaner Do I Use on My Hardwood Floor?



So after reading the post on giving your wood floors a quick clean, you’re wondering, “just hot water, really…  what about all those special hardwood floor cleaners?  And what about the tried-and-true vinegar and water solution?”  Well, we are big advocates of just cleaning with hot water and a quality micro-fiber mop (which you will receive if we sand your wood floor), however, if you do choose to use a cleaner, there are some things YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT HARDWOOD FLOOR CLEANERS!

First off, you can make things much worse with the wrong cleaner, but you won’t know it until it’s to late.

The Wrong Cleaners for Wood Floors:  Any cleaner that leaves a residue should never touch your floor.  This includes Mruphy’s Oil Soap, Pledge, Mop & Glo, Orange Glo, or any cleaner that specifically doesn’t specify that it is a “No-Residue” product.  If it has “Polish” or “Shine” in the name, it’s probably a no go.

There are two reasons you don’t want to use these products on your floor.

1.  The residue these products leave can prevent any future re-coating (buffing and applying another coat of finish).  If you have a pre-finished floor, this may not be possibly anyways.  However, if you have a site-finished floor, you can get another decade or two out of your floor before having to re-sand it if you have it recoated when the floors are in need of another coat of finish.  The oil residue won’t allow for proper adhesion of the new coat of finish.

2.  The residue in the cleaner builds up over time and leaves the floor looking cloudy and the sheen en-even.  Once you realize you are building residue on your floor, you can see how that residue will start clouding the floor.  Even worse, your high-traffic areas will wear down the residue leaving shiny spots and your floor will be shiny in some areas and dull in other areas.  The only cure will be to apply more residue cleaner to the floor which makes if look good for a short time, buts makes the problem worse in the long run.

Only use “No-Residue” cleaners on your wood floor:  Any cleaner that has something to the effect of “No-Residue” on the label, is fine to use.  As the label implies, these cleaners will not leave much of a residue on your floor and will allow for future re-coats.

So why do we not recommend theses cleaners ourselves?  It’s not that they aren’t ok to use now and again, but even these cleaners can affect the sheen of your floor if used to often.  Although we don’t have any scientific data to back this up, we believe most store bought cleaners leave some residue over time that leads to cloudiness and uneven sheen.

What about adding good-ole-fashioned vinegar to the water?

Here again, 1 parts vinegar to 9 parts water can be an affective cleaning solution once in a while, but, if used to often, the acid in the vinegar can have unwanted affects on your floor.

So now you know the deal with hardwood floor cleaners, but what if it’s too late!!!  What if you have already used Murphy’s Oil or Mop & Glo and your floor is starting to get cloudy.  Well read this.


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  • What our customers have to say…

    “We so appreciate Jim’s professionalism, honesty, respect, eye to detail, and woodworking skill. He is a perfectionist not only with the install but also with the cleanup at the end of each day. Our beautiful new floors have dramatically changed the look of our home and everyone who comes to visit will comment on the change. We are extremely happy with our new floors.”

    Ron and Carol Halverson, West Fargo, ND

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