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Just Because You Can Do Something Doesn’t Mean You Should

You invested thousands of dollars in your wood floor. How do you protect your investment over time? The first step for a carefully maintained wood floor is proper cleaning. And that starts with using the appropriate hardwood floor cleaner. There are plenty of cleaners on the market, that tout floor cleaning, but just because they make it onto store shelves doesn’t mean you should apply them to your floors.

Polish And Glo Or Oil-Based Products

How do you like the look of your new floors? Cleaning with polish will dramatically change the look and feel of your new floors. Matte and low-luster satin sheens of finish are very popular in Colorado because they show the beauty of the wood without a lot of reflectivity. Because of that, these floors are very forgiving for homeowners with big dogs (indentations in the finish due to pet claw marks are less noticeable on a lower sheen of finish) and they’re easy to keep clean.

Additionally, the polish will make your floor shinier and slipperier. This is great if you’re making a slapstick comedy movie, but it is not so fabulous for your tailbone. The other challenge with these products is that they are made for abraded floors, so if you’re looking to up the sheen on your existing floors, contact a National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) Certified Professional to abrade your existing floors prior to applying an additional, higher-sheen coat of finish. If it is not applied correctly, polish will start to flake up and will not look very good. Technically, using polish isn’t really cleaning your floors at all and not an appropriate activity to try on your own.



They’re Good But Not For Wood  Have you visited the Grand Canyon? It’s a dramatic visual of the power of water. Forced water can power entire cities, which is a great thing.

However, forced water should not be used on wood floors. Regardless of how tight your flooring boards are, steam cleaners push steam into gaps and end joints between boards and are just a damaging as standing water. Repeated cleaning with steam mops over time can cause the finish to peel from the edges of the floorboards and/or turn cloudy and ultimately damage the wood. At some estimates, I’ve been able to push my thumbnail across a board and see finish flake off like a sunburn. Unfortunately, at this point, the floor must be sanded to restore it to its former glory.



Vinegar And Water

Some combination of the above ingredients is a DIY-lovers dream. But listen to me now. You may have good intentions for mixing your own brew of cleaning ingredients, but apply it to something that won’t impact your wallet if it needs to be redone. Start with your tiled powder room, not 1,000 square feet of new wood flooring. Vinegar is acidic and can damage your finish or make it look worn and dull.



A #1 Mom’s Hack

This cleaner destroys tough, stuck-on dirt and other marks and just like it promises. Magic Eraser makes my home look like I don’t have kids, and that’s hard to do. Here’s the problem. Use it for cleaning your wood floors and it will also take the finish right off, like magic. You may think it’s better to see if you can try and scrub the sharpie off the floor. But most people notice spotty finish faster than kid art.

If you are using any of the above cleaners on your wood floors, stop now.

DO NOT go to Home Depot, ask a National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) Certified Professional what type of cleaner is right for you. If that Certified Professional sanded your floor, he or she can recommend the cleaning product made by the manufacturer of the finish that was applied to your floor or perform the deep cleaning necessary. If that’s not the case, a Certified Professional can make a recommendation of a cleaning solution that will help your floors without damaging them any further. At the very least begin with the following steps:

  • Vacuum with the beater bar OFF removing pet hair, dirt, and debris

  • Damp mop with a damp cloth, soft cloth, microfiber mop, or dust mop

  • Place walk off mats at all high traffic areas


If you’re not sure, let me know and I’ll call you. In addition to my NWFA Certified Professional license, I am a mom of four active kids who are experts at making a mess.Hello there!

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