How to Mop a Wood Floor + Precautions (Video)

Floors experience heavy traffic daily and inevitable spills, scuffs, or accidents. Innovative preventive methods, which not only assist in protecting flooring but also save the time you spend cleaning, are the ideal approach to cleaning hardwood floors.

First, thoroughly sweep or dust the wood floor. Then make your cleaning mixture, such as a few drops of dish soap and 4 cups of warm water or other cleaning solution. Clean each section of the wood floor, gently scrubbing the tough stains off the floor. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive materials.

Use floor protectors under furniture to prevent scratches on hardwood floors, and use area rugs in play areas to protect the floor from kids’ toys and prevent falls by dogs. To keep the flooring in your house in peak condition, adopt these daily best practices in addition to my advice for cleaning wood floors.

A Mop and Plant Pot on a Wood Floor
Image Credit: Today

How to mop wood floors

Preventive measures and regular cleaning are the best ways to keep hardwood floors clean, but a thorough cleaning is occasionally required. A weekly dusting will only eliminate some dirt, grease, and grime accumulated over time.

Use a wood floor mop and a wood floor cleaning product diluted by the label’s directions for deep cleaning hardwood floors. This cleaning could be done in the spring or immediately before and after the holidays.

How to mop hardwood floors

Mop a wood floor as follows:

1. Wet the mop

Dip your sponge or rag mop in water, then completely wring it dry. Use the damp mop to rinse the floor while keeping it free of standing water.

2. Clean up extra liquid

Wipe the excessive liquid immediately since standing water can harm wood surfaces. It’s also a danger to the house dwellers.

3. Dry the floor

Let the floor dry. You can use a ceiling fan or the air conditioner to hasten the drying if the weather is humid.

How to remove stains from wood floors

Before removing a stain from wood floors, consider the finish of your flooring. If the stain is visible on the floor’s surface, it likely has a hard finish, like urethane. 

On the other hand, the floor likely has a soft oiled finish, standard in older homes where the floors haven’t been refinished and resealed if the finish stain has seeped through the wood. 

Surface stains on hard-surfaced floors should be removed with a gentle, clean cloth. Never use steel wool, sandpaper, or strong chemicals since they can permanently harm the finish.

For hardwood floors with delicate oiled surfaces, try the fixes below. If necessary, stain the wood after each treatment and then wax and buff the area to match the rest of the floor.

The procedures below can be used to remove specific stains from wood floors:

1. Pet stains and dark spots

Use steel wool and floor wax to scrub the area. Next, apply vinegar or bleach and let it soak into the wood for about an hour if the region is still dark. Then, use a moist cloth to rinse. Wax protects the wood surface from damage.

Be very careful when using steel wool on any type of floor, as too much force can permanently damage the floor.

2. Heel marks

Rub in floor wax using fine steel wool.

3. Oil-based stains

Rub the area with a soft cloth and dish detergent to dissolve the grease. Then, use clean water to rinse. Retry the process if one application doesn’t work. 

Pets and kids should only enter the room once you are finished. Let the area dry before using fine sandpaper to flatten the elevated grain.

4. White stains or watermarks

Use steel wool and floor wax to scour the area. If the stain is more severe, the floor should be lightly sanded and cleaned with fine steel wool and odorless mineral spirits.

When using steel wool and sandpaper on wood flooring, always do it carefully and lightly to avoid damaging the wood.

Precautions when mopping wood floors

To prevent damage to your wood floors when cleaning, keep the following in mind:

1. Check if your floor is sealed

Before cleaning your hardwood floors, knowing what finish has been applied to the flooring is essential. Is the bottom sealed with a polyurethane finish? If the floor is unsealed, you want to limit the water used for cleaning.

2. Start with removing movable dirt and items

To make cleaning quicker and more straightforward, pick up any clutter and remove small objects, including area rugs, off the floor.

3. Find the ideal moment

Choose a time when there will be little foot traffic, such as when your family is away from home.

4. Choose a cleaning route

To avoid leaving footprints on a spotless floor, start in one corner of the space and work toward the door.

5. Reduce the drying time

Turn on ceiling fans or add a circulating fan to shorten the drying period.

Any other modifications made to the floor call for extra care when cleaning it. For example, having heated floors means you should be more careful to avoid damaging the heating equipment.

How to keep wood floors clean

To reduce the number of times you thoroughly clean the floor, do the following:

1. Clean up spills right away

Floors can become discolored by excessive dampness, and sticky residue attracts grime.

2. Vacuum the floor daily

Grit and dust-damaging hardwood floor coatings can be quickly removed with a mop, especially in high-traffic areas. Daily vacuuming ensures that dirt doesn’t accumulate on the floor.

3. Mop at least twice weekly

Use caution while using a vacuum that has a beater bar since it can damage floors. To catch dirt, place doormats both inside and outside of entrance doors. In addition, regular mat cleaning is essential. Weekly cleaning keeps the floor clean and manageable.

When to call a professional

Schedule a frequent maintenance visit from a nearby wood flooring professional cleaning business if your floors have lost their sheen or if you need more time or desire to clean them yourself. 

Depending on how much wood flooring you have, average prices range from $250 to $400. In addition, your flooring’s lifespan can be prolonged by professional cleaning, delaying the need for refinishing for years.

However, you should have your wood floors refinished if they have a lot of dents, scratches, or water damage. Alternatively, you can opt for concrete flooring, which requires less maintenance.

You should also get a professional to mend your flooring or even replace it if the wood begins to rot, split, splinter, or become black.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best thing to use to clean wood floors?

Commercial wood-cleaning products like Bona or Murphy Oil Soap are among the best products to clean wood floors. You can use a mixture of one part vinegar, 10 parts warm water, and a few drops of liquid soap like Castile.

Is it OK to mop wood floors with water?

Avoid wet mopping wood floors since too much water can damage the wood. You can use a wet mop, but a damp one has too much water.

Can I use Swiffer wet on hardwood floors?

Swiffer WetJet is a good cleaning agent for hardwood, vinyl, laminate, and ceramic flooring.

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