Good Questions: Cleaning Sticky Buildup on Wood Floors

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ClickChick is working at home tomorrow and sent us a good question: I've celebrated Thanksgiving already so I'll be spending Thursday finally tackling the wood floors throughout my apartment.

I'm fairly certain that they are coated in polyurethane. So for the past 4 years I've been washing them with just vinegar and water. (they were freshly finished floors when I bought the place)

But lately I've noticed that the floor seems to feel tacky to my bare feet. Any ideas to remedy this?

Maybe I've just waited too long between washings (this spring) and the dirt and skin oils are building up. Or maybe it's all in my head. I seem to be only one with the super spidey sense that detects things like tacky/sticky dishes (particularly plastic) in other people's homes. (hangs head in shame)

Anyway. Thankfully I've dismissed the idea of scrubbing my floors with my scrub brush to loosen the dirt and oils. That'll probably scratch. Dare I try baking soda?

Maybe after 4 years it's time to have them finished again. (can't really afford that right now.)

Ideas? Advice?

It sounds like you do have a build-up on the floors and perhaps the vinegar/water combo just isn't strong enough to release it at this point, as it has built up over time. We would recommend trying a floor wash that is still based on vinegar and water but with a small amount of a gentle liquid (vegetable oil) detergent/soap mixed in to help make it a bit more effective at loosening the dirt/oils.

If successful this time, you can return to the vinegar and water combo for regular cleaning maintenance and simply do the slightly more "soap-y" version every few washings to stay ahead of the buildup.

We recently read that adding in a 1/2 cup of peppermint herb tea to a floor wash makes for a lovely fresh scent as you clean - you might want to give that a try as well.

Any other ideas/suggestions for ClickChick?

Photo: Naturally Cleaner Home

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Janel Laban is the Executive Editor of Apartment Therapy and has been working here, at the dreamiest of dream jobs, since March 2006.