8 Tips for Cleaning Hardwood Floors

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Okay, we've tackled the best ways to clean laminate, tile, and carpeted floors, and now it's time for the [my] holy grail of flooring: hardwood. Maybe you have gorgeous hardwood floors that you'd like to pass on to your great-grandchildren, or you want to pay the proper respect to the trees that gave their lives, or perhaps you just want shiny, shiny floors; in any case, read on...

Here is some of the best advice from around the web for keeping your hardwoods happy.

Vacuum Daily. Apparently. Martha Stewart's right-hand man Kevin Sharkey refinished his wood floors and wants only the best for them — and for your floors. His crucial first stage of attack is to vacuum every day, or just dust mop "when you don't have time to vacuum".

Wax Yearly, Mop Never: Martha herself reminds us that if our floors are waxed, we should never mop them. She recommends wiping up spills right away, but does not mention how she would clean up the everyday grime.

Vinegar! Wait, No Vinegar! Back in 1995, Martha advised "For wood floors with a polyurethane finish, damp-mop with a combination of one quart water and one-quarter cup vinegar." However, in 2002, she told the New York Times, "And contrary to fairly common advice, you should never use diluted vinegar or ammonia to clean polyurethane. The acid can etch the finish, making it dull."

Dust Smart: Better Homes & Gardens recommends frequent dustings with either "a mop that has been treated with a dusting agent" or disposable electrostatic cloths. This should be enough to keep things clean between semi-annual deep cleanings.

Damp- Not Wet- Mop: BH&G goes on to describe the correct way to deep clean your hardwood floors, and while it does involve a mop, it barely involves any water at all. When it comes to any mop and cloth involved in the washing and rinsing process, "wring it almost dry so it feels only slightly damp to the touch".

Diaper Genie: As for what type of cloth to use, Real Simple suggests that "Cloth diapers work well for buffing, because they’re very soft and absorbent." Those of us that are baby-free can improvise.

Make Yourself A Spot Of Tea: Oh my goodness, you are going to love this one: The DIY Network's solution involves two teabags and boiling water! "The tannic acid in tea creates a beautiful shine for hardwood floors."

Dust & Mist: Finally, an Apartment Therapy reader who owns a floor cleaning company sent in thorough pro tips that all make perfect sense to me. I hope I'll be able to put them to use someday, after the Hardwood Floor Fairy pays me a visit!

Have any of these worked or not-worked for you? And have you ever teabagged your floor?!

(Image credits: Adrienne Breaux)

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