Misconceptions about hardwood floor cleaning are rampant on the internet. There are many people on Pinterest and home advice forums claiming vinegar and water are best for cleaning your hardwood floors or steam mops have made their hardwood floors look beautiful again. While these methods may appear to work for now, they can cause damage over time. We want to clear up these misconceptions and give you the facts from the long-term perspectives of flooring experts.
Myth 1: Vinegar and water should be used to clean hardwood floors
Fact: No. Vinegar and water seems like a great natural and easy floor cleaner since most people already have these products in their kitchen. But the vinegar can actually dull or damage your hardwood floor. Instead use a product recommended by your manufacturer. Links to the hardwood care and maintenance sites for some common hardwood manufacturers can be found at the end of the post.
Myth 2: Damp mopping is the best way to clean wood floors
Fact: No. Water and wood do not mix. That soaking wet mop is putting too much water on the floors. Wet mopping can void your warranty and causes warping, de-lamination and joint-line separation. To prevent these problems, use a spray like the Bona hardwood floor cleaner spray to lightly mist the floor and then use a dry mop.
Myth 3: Steam cleaners can be used on my hardwood floors
Fact: No. The mantra “wood and water do not mix” holds true here too. We have all seen the hawkers at home shows and infomercials on TV claiming that steam cleaners are great for sanitizing and cleaning your wood floors. But many hardwood flooring manufacturers list steam cleaners as a don’t in their hardwood cleaning advice and will void the warranty if you use a steam cleaner. Repeatedly using a steam cleaner can result in peeling, whitening or cloudy finish. If you want to keep your manufacturers warranty and a pristine finish on your floor, keep that steam cleaner away from your hardwood floors.
Myth 4: Vacuums with a beater bar can be used for hardwood floor cleaning
Fact: No. Vacuuming is recommended by most hardwood floor manufacturers – WITHOUT a beater bar. The rough bristles of the beater bar can permanently scratch your floor. Get a hardwood floor attachment to make your vacuum safer for to use on your hardwood.
Myth 5: I can use any cleaner on my floor including ammonia or oil-based cleaners.
Fact: No. Ammonia is a basic cleaner with a PH of 11 and can ruin the colour of your floor. Oil-based cleaners can leave a milky-residue on the hardwood. Stick with manufacturer approved cleaners to avoid any these ingredients.
Hardwood Care and Maintenance Info from the Manufacturers
The best way to keep your floors looking good and under warranty is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. All of our customers receive a copy of care and maintenance info in the mail after their job is completed.
Links to a few common manufacturers are below. If you don’t know the manufacturer of your floors, feel free to call us or use the National Wood Flooring Association’s advice.
National Wood Flooring Association Common Maintenance Questions
Shaw Floors Hardwood Flooring Care
Beaulieu Canada Hardwood Care & Maintenance
Armstrong Hardwood Care