Hardwood Floors & flooring

Cleaning Your Dark Hardwood Floors

by Anita Alvarez

Dark hardwood floors

Dark hardwood floors offer an aesthetically pleasing contrast to lighter colors and features present in your home's walls and furniture, and are available in several styles. Wide planks and contrasting colors are just a few of your options. But cleaning dark hardwood floors can prove challenging; if you don't know how to tackle the job.

Removing Dirt

Whether you choose oak, walnut, cherry, birch, maple or hickory, it's important to clean this hardwood regularly to remove dust, grit and other accumulating debris. Like black ice on asphalt, most dirt and stains go hidden on a dark floor, and need to be watched for after heavy bouts of traffic.

And although this residue can scratch the floors, cleaning it with the wrong solutions and tools can leave a film. Prevent damage to your floor by regularly using a dust mop, broom or hard-surface vacuum attachment the latter being important so as not to harm the finish, according to Better Homes & Gardens. Move the tool over the entire surface, once section at a time. This helps to get rid of loose dirt and dust quickly.

Restoring Shine

Once you've addressed loose dirt, move onto mopping the floors to get rid of the dingy film that grime can leave over. Fill a bucket with warm water and mix in a natural cleaner or non-synthetic soap. This can get rid of things like grease, oil and dirt and leave your floors sparkling. Dark materials like cherry and birch aren't the most durable, and products like Murphy® Oil Soap are based in plant oils designed to enhance the look of wood without eating through it, creating streaks or leaving a film on the floor.

Whichever solution you choose, wet the mop with enough liquid to ensure that you remove grime, but not so much that it leaves behind puddles of water. Too much moisture resting on the floor can damage them, penetrating through the edges of the planks and getting underneath the seal.

The best ways to clean dark hardwood floors and other household wood furniture involves a little bit of time, elbow grease and the ability to spot bacteria that a rich, deep color can disguise. That includes the cleaning solution you use for the job.

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.