Cleaning your hardwood floors, laminate floors or tile floors can be simple if you follow certain guidelines. In the video, I will go over the basics. All you need is a flat mop, terry clothe, a little water and 5 minutes to get it done.
PH and your Hardwood floors
First, it's important to understand what chemicals you don't use. If you have ever taken a chemistry class or you have an idea on how PH works, then this will make sense. PH is always taken into consideration when cleaning your hair, skin, granite and of course hardwood floors. I will try to make it simple: When you want to clean soil (soil is acid based), you typically go on the opposite side of the PH scale which would be an alkaline/base material. The opposite is also true. So if my hardwood floors have soil on them, an alkaline type cleaner would be needed to clean them right? That makes perfect sense if you are cleaning your clothes, but not your hardwood floors.
Hardwood floors are sensitive to both acid and alkaline cleaners
Most over the counter products that contain chelates and or is acid based. These products won't hurt the wood per say, they will damage the protective coating and change it's appearance. Other mild cleaners that contain soap will leave a build up. After multiple applications of soap products, a significant build up of the product will occur and the appearance is affected. That's never a good thing.
Vinegar and water to clean your floors
Don't use it. Vinegar contains "Acid". Even though the level of acid is low, after months of use, the acid will "Etch" the finish in your floors. It happens so slowly, you won't be able to detect the damage until it's too late. Will the hardwood floors be clean if I use vinegar and water? Yes, but the trade off is a damaged floor. Again, the the slow etching effect will occur and your floors will be left with a dull or foggy appearance. At that point, the top coat is permanently damaged.
Steam cleaning your hardwood floors
The natural enemy of hardwood is water, fire and termites. A steam mop is literally injecting moisture into your floor. There is the chance of the moisture penetrating the wood and causing a cupping effect. So our recommendation is to NEVER use a steam mop for cleaning.
Dull hardwood floors are damaged hardwood floors
Let me clear, once your hardwood floors have been dulled by the use of an acid based cleaning solution, there is no amount of scrubbing that will make your hardwood floors shine again.
How to make my hardwood floors shine again
Your options, unfortunately are few. The first option is to use an over the counter product that adds shine. Here's the problem; when using those products, you are essentially adding a very thin coat of polyurethane. This is the same material professional flooring contractors use to coat hardwood floors that are finished on site. The problem lies in the preparation of the hardwood floor prior to applying the product. If the floors are not properly prepped, you will experience contamination. There will be signs of sediment in the finish.
The other negative issue is delamination. When using these type of products, you are going down the path of reapplying the product time and time again to maintain the desired sheen. When you do that, the chances of delamination increase substantially. That's basically a peeling effect due to the new coat not adhering to the old coat of finish. This delamination might not show itself right away, but once it does, the "Only" way to rectify this problem is with a complete sand and finish process. This would not be a recommendation I could make, especially since I have yet to see a quality result using these products. Hardwood floors are a serious investment that I choose not to personally gamble with.
Option 2 is to have a professional "Re-coat" your hardwood floors. The process requires one of our pro's would come in and abrade the floor both mechanically and chemically. This cleans and prepares the top coat to accept the new coat of polyurethane. This method will restore your floors to a NEW shine and add years of life. The nice thing is, you can choose the level of desired sheen. The other benefits are the guarantee that it's going to be done right. Unlike option 1, there is no need to continually reapply coats because the re-coat will last for years.
The Best way to clean your hardwood floors
The safest way to clean your floors and not etch them is to use tap water. I demonstrate this is the video.
If you insist on using a chemical, I would highly recommend using a product that is dedicated for hardwood floors that is PH neutral. Unfortunately, any time you use a chemical, you will leave a film behind. In time, you will experience a relatively heavy build up that will create an uneven sheen in your floor.
There you go. I hope this helps.