Hardwood floors from BPS Southeast in Spindale, NC

What do I clean my hardwood flooring with?

Anyone who sells, refinishes, or installs hardwood flooring should teach and explain to their customers how to clean their wood flooring. If they don't, they need to find out how and tell their customers. This is a question that I have heard many times. When I go into a home with hardwood flooring, this is one of the first questions I ask them. If I install a wood floor in someone's home, that will be one of the questions I will ask before I leave. Using the wrong product on your hardwood flooring can cost you in the end. Even though the finish on a hardwood flooring is tough, the wrong cleaner over time can dull the finish and even cause issues that you may have to refinish the flooring. Here are a few rules on how to care for your hardwood floors.

Rule #1, don't go to Google on how to make homemade cleaners. Instead, use Google to find quality wood floor cleaners that have been used and customers have given reviews on them. The internet is great for information, but the wrong information can become a problem. Many homeowners I have spoken with say they use vinegar and water to clean their wood floors. You can even find out what dilution to use online. You will find sites that encourage the use of vinegar and water over store-bought products and tell you all the benefits. The problem is that on a hardwood floor, the cleaning solution needs to be a neutral cleaner or a pH of 7. Vinegar will have a slightly acidic pH which will damage the finish over time. As a person who has studied cleaning and been trained as a professional to clean flooring, I will never recommend becoming a "tub side chemist".

Rule #2, if you don't know what to use, try, and find a professional that cleans hardwood flooring. Yes, they do exist. Again, going online is great for finding information and finding professionals. Be aware though, that those big cleaning product companies spend a lot of money on marketing to get you to find their product so you will buy it. They will tell you everything you need to hear to make their product the best and greatest. This is where you ask a professional. A professional cleaner who has been cleaning hardwood flooring for a while will be able to tell you what they have seen work and what has failed. They have to ask their customers what products they use so that they know how to repair or restore the wood flooring once it doesn't look shiny or clean anymore. They gain a working knowledge of what works and what doesn't.

If you are having a hard time finding a professional who cleans hardwood flooring, go online to Basic Coatings. They are a company that makes wood floor finishes and stains. They also certify and train contractors on how to clean, maintain, and recoat wood flooring. On their website, there is a place to find and locate local contractors that have been to their classes and gotten certifications. Basic Coatings has perfected the process on how to clean and maintain the beauty of hardwood flooring. They also have processes to recoat and restore the finishes on hardwood floors so that they do not have to be sanded. They have spent years developing ways to clean and recoat hardwood flooring for both sand & finish wood floors and engineered hardwood floors. They teach their contractors what the wrong cleaners can do to a floor and how to restore them. Their hardwood floor cleaner "Squeaky" has gotten the best reviews from those that I have given it to and those I have recommended it to. You can find a starter kit with the cleaner and a flat mop as well as refills for the spray bottles.

Rule #3, don't use any product that has the words "shine, make new again, or polish" in the title or label. An expensive headache will be coming down the line once you have either spent a lot of time trying to get it off the floors or you have paid someone to do it. Products with this wording usually have an acrylic polish in them. The problem with acrylic polish is that it doesn't bond well with the finish that is on the wood. It is also softer which means it shows scratches easier and the only way to fix it is to add more polish. Sometimes it is mixed in with the cleaners. The label may say that it is a 2 in 1 product. It cleans and shines the floors with one product. This product is worse. You are applying a polish onto a floor while trying to clean it. That means that any dirt that you don't get up is then blended into the polish. This causes a floor to look dull and grey over time because of the dirt in all the layers of polish each time you try to clean the hardwood flooring.

If you have had this problem, a Basic Coatings Contractor can help you. It may take some work, but they can apply a polish remover to the hardwood flooring. It will loosen up and break down the polish so that the layers can be removed until you get back to the original finish. It can be a long process, but very well worth it. If your floors do show wear or look dull when all the polish is removed, that can be fixed. There are multiple options on how to restore and recoat your hardwood floors. Some recoating processes are quick and dry within an hour. The longest drying product has a 24-hour cure rate when recoating. After it has cured for 24 hours, you can play basketball on the finish and it will hold up. They also have the means to change the shine of the floor from Semi-Gloss to a Matte finish if you like. If you have a busy family of children or pets, you may not want a shiny finish that shows scratches as much.

In the end, I would recommend anyone with hardwood flooring to use Squeaky from Basic Coatings. I have never heard of a problem from using it from anyone. The companies that I have purchased wood flooring from say that they sell it more than any other cleaner. There is no streaking, dulling, or damage to the finish. It is a tried and true product. When you do come to the point that it doesn't seem to get the floors clean, call the professionals like us at BPS Southeast. We will be able to help you with what your next step needs to be. Don't try to take short cuts.