Hardwood flooring is an investment that can last a lifetime. However, it needs tender loving care. You can preserve the integrity of both your floor's finish and the floor itself by cleaning it properly. Many people opt to clean with vinegar, especially people who have babies and pets. While vinegar is a good, and green, substance to clean laminate and tile floors with, it can strip the poly or wax coating from a wood floor.
First, we'll go to the advice of the editors of Hardwood Floor, the magazine of The National Wood Flooring Association. A flooring contractor wrote in to the editors of Hardwood Floor to ask for advice on how to respond to clients who ask him how to clean their wood floors. Their answer points to the fact that not all wood floors are the same; different wood flooring should be cleaned in its own way.
For instance, with factory-finished wood flooring, one should follow the cleaning instructions that are set out by the manufacturer. Depending on the finish of the floor, with on-site finished floors one should also follow the manufacturer's recommendation for cleaning. They also warn that excessive water and steam can damage wood floors.
The editors of Hardwood Floor do not recommend using cleaning agents that are labeled for hardwood floor use. They say that even such cleaning agents can damage the floor. What to use instead? A Baltimore flooring contractor suggests sweeping the floor daily, and vacuuming with a soft brush attachment. They recommend mopping with a "damp dry mop", and removing all water from the floor with a towel.
Essentially, cleaning a hardwood floor by sweeping, vacuuming, and only mopping with water is how to ensure the longevity of the finish. And that's good news for people who are concerned about the toxicity of cleaning solutions...you shouldn't use them on your hardwood flooring anyway.
Chaya Kurtz writes for Networx.com.