How To Clean Old Hardwood Floors

Hardwood is one of the sturdiest flooring materials in the market. Cared for properly, they can last up to 100 years. Additionally, old hardwood floors add character and history to the decor of the house.

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With a little attention, it can be restored to its original glory, which you can then maintain by establishing an appropriate cleaning routine.

So, how to clean old hardwood floors? Here’s how.

Prepare The Floor

You first need to scrape away materials such as stuck-on dried paint, wax deposits, and the like. Once the extra elements have been scraped, sweep your floor thoroughly to get rid of the dust/dirt.

Get Rid of Grease & Grime

There are a few options you have here to cut through the grease and grime and restore the shine to your floor.

Commercial Products

Buy one of the specialized hardwood cleaning products available in the market. Be sure to buy one made for wooden flooring and follow the instructions.

It is also important to remember that water is the biggest enemy of wood. For this reason, it is best to clean small areas of your floor with a damp- not dripping- cloth immediately followed up by a dry cloth to get rid of excess moisture.

Homemade Hardwood Cleaners

Homemade cleaners have the advantage of being cheaper and environmentally safer than their commercial counterparts.

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There is a couple of options:

  • DILUTED VINEGAR: Vinegar is acidic and on its own can harm the wooden flooring and dull it in appearance. However, if you dilute vinegar in water, it loses its acidity and becomes an effective cleaner, cutting through the grease and grime from the floor and bringing its shine back.
    Mix half a cup of white vinegar with half a bucket of warm water. Dip a mop in the solution and thoroughly wring out excess water. Try first on a small inconspicuous area to see how the vinegar affects the floor.
    If, after drying, the floor looks clean and shiny, then continue cleaning in small batches immediately drying the wiped areas to keep moisture away from the wood.
  • DILUTED LEMON JUICE: Like vinegar, lemon juice will lose its acidity when mixed with water, and will effectively cut through the grime and grease, without dulling the appearance of the floor.
    You can add olive oil to the mixture to shine the floor. Again, make sure to wring out any excess moisture from the mop before wiping the floor.
    Make sure to check on a small area before cleaning the whole floor and look out for any excess water pooling and wipe away immediately with an absorbent towel.

Get Rid of Dark Stains

For those particularly stubborn, standout stains, you will need to use something a little stronger. Here too, there are a couple of options:

Mineral Spirits

These are relatively inexpensive, commonly found products that are effective in helping get rid of dark, stubborn stains on wooden flooring.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Make a paste equal parts vinegar and baking soda. Apply it with a cloth or sponge to the stained area and leave to dry. Once dry, wipe it up.

Get Rid of Pet Odors

If you have pets, then you are familiar with how difficult it can be to get rid of pet odors and stains. One way you can do this is to apply hydrogen peroxide on the areas of your wooden floor where the odors are most deeply embedded.

If those odors or stains are very strong, pour hydrogen peroxide on the spots and leave rags to soak the excess. Leave overnight and remove the excess next day, sanding the area if needed.

This is how to clean old hardwood floors so they look as good as new. Once you have cleaned and restored the look of your old hardwood floors, it is important to follow it up with a regular cleaning regime to ensure the results of your efforts are long-lasting.

Tips on maintaining hardwood floors

SWEEP DAILY

Daily cleaning is key in maintaining your old hardwood floors to the highest level. Sweep your floors every day to get rid of dust, dirt, pet hair, and all other types of dry debris.

Dusting with a micro-fiber towel is also a good way of getting rid of the dust and grime on your wooden floors. Try and sweep in the direction of the wood grain as this will ensure that no dirt or dust is stuck between the planks of wood.

VACUUM WEEKLY

Set your vacuum cleaner on the bare floor setting and vacuum your hardwood floors once a week. The bare floor setting will ensure that your vacuum does not leave scratch marks on the floor and vacuuming will help suck out the dust and dirt that may have accumulated between the planks of wood.

MOP MONTHLY

Once a month use a hardwood cleaner and damp mop to wipe the hardwood floors, making sure to keep the moisture to a minimum by wiping up excess water immediately.

Make sure not to use harsh chemicals such as ammonia or vinegar in this regular cleaning regime. Avoid using water-based cleaners. If your hardwood is damaged use the hardwood cleaner directly on the floor and wipe away with a dry cloth.

Use mineral spirits to wipe away stains or scuff marks.

With a well-established cleaning regime, you will be able to keep your hardwood floors clean and well-maintained, ensuring they last a long time while adding to the aesthetic and financial value of your home.