Hardwood and laminate floors are sensitive to water because these porous wood materials can become weaker if saturated beneath the grain. Warping, swelling and rotting are just a few of the problems that can occur. Give your floors a break from these harsh conditions by limiting your use of water when cleaning hardwood floors. Here are a few approaches:
Sweep It Early
Use a broom with soft bristles to sweep up dirt while it's fresh. Be sure to get around the edges of the room near the baseboards. Sweep the dirt toward the middle of the room, and once you have a full pile, collect it in the dust pan like any other cleaning task.
Back and Forth
Take a microfiber dusting cloth and attach it to a dusting mop with a flat head. Work your way around the edges of the room and you can attract debris as you go. In lieu of water, move the mop head back and forth in concentrated sweeping motions to break up the hardened grime, moving from one end of the room to the other. If the microfiber cloth becomes full, flip it over and use the other side.
With the same flat-head mop, apply a sheet of wax paper to the end, just like you would with a microfiber dust cloth. Use the wax paper in the same manner, working your way around the room to gather up dust.
Use the vacuum cleaner, ideally with a soft brush attachment - not a beater bar. Your hardwood floors shouldn't take a beating with every cleaning, and over time, that constant pressure will cause the finish and shine to wear out. This gentle attachment allows you to lift dirt more frequently so you won't need water later on.
Tackling Another Moisture Problem
Limiting the amount of water you use to clean is not the only way to protect hardwood flooring. Real Simple suggests homeowners can limit moisture by using a dehumidifier. Keeping the home within a healthy 30- to 50-percent relative humidity level throughout the year reduces the possibility of the wood buckling or gapping.
With just a few strategies to tackle the task of cleaning hardwood floors, you can put your bucket and wet mop away for a while. If you notice your floors in need of a spot clean, however, use a small amount of Murphy® Oil Soap on a damp rag. Every so often, mix the cleaning solution with water and mop the floors right where it's needed. Just be sure to wring your tools out before applying it to the desired area.
This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Murphy® Oil Soap. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.