When it comes to cleaning hardwood floors, knowing the right tools and techniques is crucial. While using a scrub brush on hardwood floors may seem tempting, it can potentially damage the wood and its finish. However, there are exceptions, as my friend recently discovered when faced with a challenging paint removal task on his newly installed tongue-and-groove wood floor. Despite being advised against brushes or pads, he resorted to scraping and sanding. In this blog post, I’ll delve into the DOs and DON’Ts of cleaning hardwood floors, including when and how you can safely use a scrub brush and the importance of maintaining your beautiful wooden floors with caution.
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Can You Use a Scrub Brush for Wood Floors?
Yes, you can use a scrub brush on hardwood floors, but it’s crucial to exercise caution and choose the right type of scrub brush. Opt for a soft bristle brush for hardwood floors.
I personally prefer the ITTAHO Floor Scrub Brush as the best choice for the best scrub brush for hardwood floors.
However, it’s important to note that this recommendation applies primarily to genuine hardwood floors with a natural finish, such as oak, maple, or cherry. If your flooring is laminated with other materials like plywood or consists of engineered wood with a patterned insert (common in rentals), it’s best to avoid scrubbing and stick to regular mopping.
DON’Ts of Cleaning Hardwood Floors:
DOs of Cleaning Hardwood Floors:
|Avoid Excessive Water: Never use excessive water or soak hardwood floors, as it can cause warping, cupping, and damage to the finish.
|Regular Sweeping: Sweep your hardwood floors regularly to remove dirt and debris. Use a soft-bristle broom or a microfiber dust mop for gentle cleaning.
|Say No to Vinegar: Avoid using vinegar or acidic solutions for cleaning, as they can dull the finish and damage the wood.
|Use Soft Bristle Brushes: When scrubbing or using brushes, opt for soft-bristle brushes that won’t scratch the wood’s surface.
|Hard Bristle Brushes: Don’t use hard or abrasive brushes that can scratch and mar the surface of your hardwood floors.
|Wipe Spills Immediately: Accidents happen, so be sure to wipe up spills as soon as they occur to prevent water damage or staining.
|High Heels and Stilettos: Discourage wearing high heels or shoes with spikes indoors, as they can leave deep, irreparable marks.
|Use a Damp Mop: When mopping, use a damp mop with a minimal amount of water or a specially formulated hardwood floor cleaner. Ensure the mop is only slightly damp, not soaking wet.
|Skip the Steam: Avoid steam cleaners on hardwood floors, as excessive heat and moisture can harm the wood and finish.
|Area Rugs and Mats: Place area rugs and mats at entry points and high-traffic areas to trap dirt and moisture from shoes.
|Furniture Dragging: Never drag heavy furniture across hardwood floors. Lift and carry or use furniture sliders to prevent scratches.
|Furniture Protectors: Attach felt or rubber protectors to the legs of your furniture to prevent scratches and scuffs when moving items.
|Don’t Leave Spills: Promptly clean up spills to prevent stains and damage to the wood’s finish. Don’t let liquids sit on the floor.
|Protect from Sunlight: Sunlight can bleach and fade wood floors over time. Use curtains or blinds to limit direct sunlight exposure.
|Skip the Wax and Oil: Avoid wax-based or oil-based cleaners, as they can leave a residue and affect the floor’s appearance.
|Keep a Steady Temperature: Maintain a consistent room temperature to prevent the wood from expanding and contracting, which can lead to cracks.
|Bleach and Harsh Chemicals: Steer clear of bleach, ammonia, and abrasive chemical cleaners that can strip the finish and damage the wood.
|High-Powered Vacuums: Don’t use vacuum cleaners with beater bars or hard-bristle brush attachments, as they can scratch and gouge the wood surface.
Can you Scrub Hardwood Floors with the Stick Brush?
Yes, you can use the stick brush on hardwood floors. They made the bristles of nylon, which is a very durable material. It’s important to remember that you should never use the same brush that you use to clean tile or other hard surfaces on your wood floors.
The reason is that the bristles of your brush will scratch the surface of your wood floor. If you don’t want to buy multiple brushes, consider using plastic bristle brushes instead. These are gentler on wood and won’t leave scratches behind.
Another option is to buy a rubber-backed cleaning pad for your broom or mop. These are safe for use on all kinds of floors and will help you get into corners and edges, leaving no scratches behind.
Can you use A Floor Scrubber on Hardwood Floors?
The short answer is yes, you can use a floor scrubber on hardwood floors. However, there are some limitations on what type of hardwood floor and how often you can use it.
Scrubbing hardwood floors, if you have a sealed hardwood floor, then this will not be an issue for you. The only thing that may happen is that the sealer will wear off over time and need to be reapplied.
For unsealed floors, you might use a low-speed setting and make sure that you do not go over the same spot more than once to prevent damage. The best way to clean unsealed hardwood floors is by using warm water and soap or special cleaning solutions designed specifically for hardwood flooring.
What is the Best Thing to Use to Clean Wood Floors?
There are many products on the market that claim to clean wood floors. I have tried most of them, and I always come back to Murphy’s Oil Soap. It is not only inexpensive, but it is also effective.
The best thing to use to clean wood floors is water.
If your wood floors are stained or have a wax finish, it’s best to choose one of these methods:
- Wipe up any spills as soon as they happen.
- Use a damp mop or paper towel to wipe up the spill. Don’t use anything that will leave streaks on the floor, like newspaper or paper towels with bleach in them.
- If the stain still won’t come off, try using a commercial cleaner made for hardwood floors (not one for carpets). Use it according to the directions on the label.
How to Clean Hardwood Floors?
If you have hardwood floors in your home, you know how beautiful they can be. However, keeping them clean can be a challenge. Below, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide on how do you clean hardwood floors without damaging them and keep them looking their best.
Step 1: Gather Your Cleaning Supplies
Before you begin cleaning your hardwood floors, you’ll need to gather your cleaning supplies. Here are the essential items you’ll need:
- Broom, dust mop, or vacuum
- Microfiber mop
- Commercial wood floor cleaner
- Paper towels
Step 2: Remove Loose Dirt and Debris
Start by removing any loose dirt, dust, or debris from the floor. You can use a broom, dust mop, or vacuum cleaner to do this. Be sure to use a soft-bristled brush attachment on your vacuum to avoid scratching the floor.
Step 3: Choose a Cleaning Solution
Choose a cleaning solution that is safe for your hardwood floors. Avoid using vinegar or any other acidic cleaner, as they can damage the finish. Instead, mix a solution of warm water and a few drops of dish soap.
Step 3: Mop and Dry the Floor
Dip a clean mop into the cleaning solution, wring it out well, and start mopping the floor. Be sure to mop in the direction of the wood grain to avoid streaks. Rinse the mop frequently and change the water as needed. Once you have mopped the entire floor, use a clean, dry mop or towel to dry it thoroughly. Do not let water stand on the floor, as it can damage the wood.
Step 4: Apply a Hardwood Floor Cleaner or Polish
To maintain the shine and protect the floor from scratches, you can apply a hardwood floor cleaner or polish. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Step 5: Protect the Floor
To prevent scratches on the hardwood floor, use furniture pads on the legs of your chairs and tables.
Overall, cleaning hardwood floors is an easy process that can be done with just a few simple steps. By following these steps regularly, you can keep your hardwood floors looking beautiful for years to come.
FAQs on The Scrub Brush for Hardwood Floors
Is Swiffer Wet OK for Hardwood Floors?
Swiffer Wet cloths are an excellent option for cleaning hardwood floors, but not for unfinished, oiled or waxed wooden floors, non-sealed tiles, or carpets. Also, you can test the cleaner in a hidden area of the floor.
Can You Use Dawn Dish Soap on Hardwood Floors?
Yes, you can. Dish soap is a gentle cleaner that won’t damage the natural wood, making it perfect for light jobs and daily upkeep. In a large bucket, mix two to three tablespoons of dish soap with one gallon of warm water, then use a soft-bristled brush or a microfiber mop to clean the floor.
Is Pine Sol Good for Hardwood Floors?
Yes, it is. Pine Sol is a disinfectant that is safe for wood and hard, nonporous surfaces. You can apply it to the floor directly from the bottle, or mix one cup of Pine Sol with one gallon of warm water for a more diluted solution.
Is Murphy’s Oil Soap Good for Wood Floors?
No, it is not. While Murphy’s Oil Soap is an excellent cleaner for some surfaces, it is not recommended for hardwood floors. Avoid using furniture polish, vinegar, ammonia, pine cleaners, or Murphy’s Oil Soap on your floors, as they may dull or even damage the finish and create problems when your floor needs recoating.
How to Care for Wood Floors?
Cleaning spills immediately, using furniture pads, sweeping or dusting daily, vacuuming weekly, and using a wood floor cleaner monthly are all excellent ways to care for your hardwood floors. However, keep in mind that your floors will need to be refinished every 4 years to maintain their natural beauty and protect them from wear and tear.
Can You Scrub Hardwood Floors with a Brush?
Scrubbing hardwood floors with a brush is not recommended. Hardwood is delicate and can scratch easily. Opt for a soft-bristled hardwood floor scrub brush when sweeping to maintain your floor’s pristine appearance.
Can You Steam Clean Hardwood Floors?
Steam Cleaning Hardwood Floors: YES, you can steam clean hardwood floors, and steam cleaning is suitable for sealed hardwood floors, offering a streak-free finish and effective sanitization. Unsealed hardwoods are vulnerable to moisture damage, so determine your floor type before use.
Final Thoughts on Wood Floor Scrub Brush
Hardwood floor cleaning differs from other types of flooring. This is because the material itself is different, and because water and wood don’t mix. In other words, you can’t just spray down your floors with a hose and expect that everything will be as good as new. As long as you exercise some caution and pay attention to what you’re doing, though, you should be able to clean your hardwood floors using a scrub brush in most cases. As mentioned earlier, it’s worth noting that you shouldn’t use any kind of chemical cleaner on your floors unless it’s been confirmed to be safe for wood.