Hardwood Floors & flooring

10 Floor Cleaning Tips That Keep Hardwood Floors Shining

by Anita Alvarez

shiny floors

Nobody would disagree: Cleaning aged or dirty surfaces isn't a homeowner favorite. But with these floor cleaning tips, you can take an unpleasant but necessary task and turn it into a job well done.

Make the job easy.

If you have hardwood floors throughout the home but tile or laminate in the bathroom and kitchen, choose a cleaner that works as a maintenance solution for all of them. A mix of warm water and detergent does a good job of removing dirt on many kinds of flooring.

Use the right tools.

Some appliances do more harm than good. A soft mop won't damage the floor, but abrasive tools like a non-hard-surface vacuum can.

Identify the best cleaners.

Give preference to a natural cleaner like Murphy® Oil Soap, which won't eat away or damage the finish as it lifts deep stains.

Do the job as often as possible.

Cleaning your floors regularly helps to avoid damage from the dirt and debris that accumulates from dirty shoes and other everyday activities.

Clean on the fly.

If you're out of cleaner or short on time, just use hot water to clean the floors — it works for most accidents. For optimal maintenance and to remove this common grime or spillage, revert to water-only cleanings in a pinch.

Tea up your floor's shine.

Here's a secret: Tea's tannic acid makes for an excellent surface shine, according to HGTV. Boil a couple of teabags in some water and dump the tea into a bucket. Wring out a rag or mop in the solution and use it to mop the floors.

Color out scratches.

Find a crayon that's the same color as the floor, and pass the crayon back and forth over the scratch to fill it in. Turn on a blow dryer on high heat and pass it over the crayon so it melts into the scratch. Finish the job by buffing the area with a rag.

Remove black marks.

Black sneaker and shoe marks come off in a flash using WD-40, which is tough on residue but gentle on the surface itself. Spray a little on a rag and get to scrubbing the affected area.

Clean in between.

You don't need to vacuum and mop daily. In between regular cleanings, however, use a dust mop to quickly remove dirt and debris.

Buff for a deep shine.

Here's a surprising, cost-effective tool that will really make your floors shine: cloth diapers. When you're really intent on getting your floors to shine, put the kids to work with some diapers in hand. The absorbent cotton material is soft so won't damage more delicate hardwood, and it soaks up remaining moisture — eliminating streaks and bringing out the floor's natural shine. Just be sure to separate the diapers you use to clean floors from those that perform traditional "duties" for your little ones.

With these floor cleaning tips in hand, you'll be equipped to deal with whatever comes your floor's way, and keep your home looking great.

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.