Choose the right cleaning products
When it comes to cleaning hardwood floors, you should choose your cleaning products carefully. You can find high quality hardwood cleaning products at your local hardware store or even at online retailers like Amazon. Be sure to check the product’s reviews and test the cleaner on a small, unobtrusive spot before using it all over your floors.
We’ve already discussed the dangers of using too much water, so assuming you’re not over wetting your floors, here are common cleaners to avoid using on your floors:
Vinegar and other acidic cleaners
A common ingredient in DIY floor cleaners is white vinegar, and when used in extremely dilute amounts this is probably not going to be a problem. However, polyurethane is softened by acids and thus acidic cleaners can actually cause pitting!
Glass cleaner and ammonia-based cleaners
Windex makes for streak-free and shiny glass surfaces, so why not use it on your floors? Well, one obvious reason is that your floors aren’t made of glass and glass cleaner contains harsh chemicals which will damage your floors! Only use cleaners which are specifically designed for wood floors and avoid any DIY floor cleaner recipes that contain ammonia.
Bleach is a powerful cleaner and disinfectant, but it is a bad match for all types of wood floors. You should never use bleach, even in dilute amounts, on your wood floors as it may cause permanent discoloration and staining.
Murphy Oil Soap
While Murphy Oil Soap is touted as “safe for hardwoods,” many floor restoration companies can attest to the product’s incompatibility with polyurethane coated floors. Oil soaps (not just Murphy’s!) dull the finish of your floors and can give your floors an unpleasant tacky feel that is almost impossible to get rid of without refinishing the entire floor.