More often than not people move into home and apartments that have old hardwood floors from previous owners. These floors have no background information other than they came from the early 1900s and they have years of wear and tear on them.
While these floors are beautiful, they can be more challenging to clean since you do not know what type of finish or sealer is on them. Most old hardwood floors will need resealing or refinishing, so we will look at the standard cleaning procedures for untreated wood floors.
Before you break out your mop and scrub brush, you need to spend a little time getting all of the dirt and debris off of the floor. Otherwise, you’ll only be driving it in while you clean. Here are several methods for getting the dirt up:
You can find all types of floor cleaners on the shelves of grocery and home improvement stores. While these cleaners work well, a lot of people opt for natural home cleaning supplies when they are learning how to clean old hardwood floors. This offers a safer cleaning option for your pets and children.
White vinegar is on the top of everyone’s list when it comes to cleaning hardwood floors. The acidic properties of vinegar are what makes it a top pantry cleaning product. When you mix it half and half with water then it lowers the acidity to a safe level for your hardwood floors.
Vinegar works wonders on carpets, hardwood floors, and even tile. You do have to be a bit careful, as it can dull the shine on your flooring.
You can also add a few drops of Dawn to the mixture to help with any grease or grime on the floors. If you don’t like the vinegar smell then you should add a few drops of essential oils. They are not harmful to your floors and will brighten your home with your choice of smell.
The most important thing to remember before you mop is to make sure that you use a damp mop or rag (not soaking wet). You never want to put large amount of water on your wood floors, whether they are sealed or not. Water is wood’s worst enemy and will warp your floors.
If the floor is really dirty, then you can go over it multiple times, but resist the desire to dump water on it. Once you use your preferred cleaner on the floor then you can go back over it with clean water to flush out leftover vinegar or Dawn.
Following these mopping steps are the best way to clean old hardwood floors. It will get them primed and ready if you need to reseal them or for untreated enjoyment as they are.
Daily sweeping or dust mopping can help keep your floor looking spotless, along with dusting and vacuuming. If you are unable to sweep your entire floor daily, then try to focus a few moments to sweep the high traffic areas such as front doors, hallways and the kitchen.
Encourage family members and guests to take off shoes to limit dirt being tracked into the house. You can also put down area or small rugs in these high traffic spots to help trap dirt. Also keep an eye on the amount of dirt your pets are tracking into the house.
If you have pets that shed then a dust mop or quick vacuum will help make the pet hair cleanup easier. A primary wood or laminate floor vacuum is a great investment if you made mostly wood floors and don’t want to be limited to using an attachment for cleaning.
While mopping will deep clean your wood floors, you don’t want to mop all the time. Since water is bad for wood, it is good to limit your mopping to once a month or try to spot clean your floors if they are sticky or grimy.
If you are able to keep your floors clean by simply sweeping then you will find that you don’t need to mop as often. Now that you know how to clean old hardwood floors, you can sit back and bask in how easy it can be to keep them beautiful.
Lauren Moldvay is a freelance writer from Virginia and the mother of one (not always) sweet little girl. She specializes in trying to help others find easier ways to clean, manage the home and save money with DIY projects.