Best way to clean wood floors?
Emily Hurley
January 17, 2014 in Design Dilemma
Do you have a tried and true method for cleaning wood floors that preserves the finish and helps them stay beautiful?

Share your experience! (Photos encouraged)

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stonedog123
I just use vinegar & water - it works for me. My wood floors are over 50 years young & they still look good!
January 17, 2014 at 11:20AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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m3459
I use Method's Almond Wood Floor product.
January 17, 2014 at 11:24AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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PRO
H Window Company LLC
Bona Hardwood Floors is really great for cleaning plus it smells good!
January 17, 2014 at 11:28AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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PRO
H Window Company LLC
It's a spray that you can use and really makes the shine come back to the floors!
January 17, 2014 at 11:29AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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anitanazar
H Window - It could be my floors but I used Bona and found that it left a film on the floors, it was terrible!

I recently discovered Windex works well on my floors. It is the only thing I've used that doesn't leave streaks or a film. However it is labour intensive as I have to get on my hands and knees and wipe with a clean paper towel. I tried several mops and they never worked! I spent so much money on Vileda, Swiffer, Rubbermaid, Steam Mop, you name it I've bought it.
January 17, 2014 at 11:47AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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bubblyjock
Lots of clean warm water, and a good mop. And staff.*

* I wish.
January 17, 2014 at 12:14PM     
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PRO
Barnhart Gallery
Rubber broom for dog fur, followed by push vac and/or Roomba then steam mop.
Here's why:
January 17, 2014 at 12:25PM     
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armipeg
Vinegar and water.
January 17, 2014 at 1:45PM     
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PRO
Lori Dennis, ASID, LEED AP
Dr. Bronner's liquid soap is the best. And you can use it for so many things, not just the floors.
January 17, 2014 at 1:49PM     
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mlprom
I've always usedMurphy's oil soap. It won't hurt the finish. dust mop with a Swifter mop in between.
January 17, 2014 at 2:26PM     
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Marilyn Wilkie
I'm sorry to read that review about Bona. I have the same question and I just bought a Bona system. We have a natural satin Bona finish on our oak hardwood - not a shiny finish. Any other reviews of Bona? I also noted that they have different products. Which one is best?
January 17, 2014 at 2:47PM     
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arubalime
I have used Bona for years with no issues nor film.
January 17, 2014 at 3:00PM     
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fos5
I have real wood floors and use Mannington, Ultra Clean. It is for wood, laminate, adura and porcelain floors. My floors have been down 14 years,are as good as new. Clean's beautifully and leaves no film. I have a soft cloth that goes on my Swifter, spray cleaner and run swifter over floor. That's it.
January 17, 2014 at 3:09PM     
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PRO
Magnus Anderson Hardwood Floors
We recommend Bona to clean your wood floor. We don't recommend lots of water--water and wood aren't a good combination! You may start to see cupping of the wood over time. Also, anything with an oil or wax in it is NOT a good choice. Wax and oil will actually hold onto the dirt, and then when you step on it, it will scratch the surface. Also, if you use a wax or oil (like Murphy's oil soap), it eliminates the ability to buff and coat your floor--a full refinish would be required, because the finish won't adhere and will peel off. Vinegar and all-purpose cleaners will dull the finish over time.
January 17, 2014 at 3:09PM     
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linlac
Bona works great.
January 17, 2014 at 3:17PM     
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PRO
Studio NOO Design
If they are varnished and not waxed nor oiled, you can use Murphy's Oil, smells fresh, cleans great and keep them beautiful
January 17, 2014 at 3:22PM     
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Chris Pendleton
I also have a terrible film issue with Bona. But I didn't used to. I used it for several years, and it cleaned well. I recently notice that the person who does the mopping is spraying about 5x what I used to spray. I wonder if excess product is causing the film.
January 18, 2014 at 11:06AM     
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mcqk
As a former New Yorker, I am used to Murphy's products, and will always associate the smell with NYC, but I think they leave a coat.

What I like now is Woodwise no-wax http://www.woodwiseproducts.com/maintenance/floor.html

It cleans the floors and works perfectly with my sh-mop. Yes, I am a shameless unpaid promoter of the shmop.
January 18, 2014 at 7:54PM     
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kskolaut
Quick Shine. I buy it from Target. You actually put it on clean dry floors. I only put it on about six times a year, and it stays shiny for a long time!
January 18, 2014 at 8:16PM     
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pegjustpeg
I use Bona also, with no filming yet. Instructions say to apply sparingly with clean applicator pad. I spray pad first, not the floor.
January 18, 2014 at 8:36PM     
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firsthouse81
Diverting a little from the subject. I got a beautiful and expensive wood kitchen board. That said on the label to condition w/ oil. What kind of oil you use in a kitchen board that it's used to chop food on
January 18, 2014 at 10:16PM   
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rredpenn
Firsthouse81--I would think a food safe oil such as a very light olive oil, or even just canola oil, would be good for your kitchen board? I use olive oil on my cutting boards to keep them looking good. I wouldn't use anything that I wouldn't be willing to eat...so I'd stay away from products that are meant for furniture or floors.

On our floors, first I vacuum regularly. When needed, I use a Rubbermaid Reveal mop that is like a swiffer with a spray attachment and a microfiber pad, but I just use a very lightly dampened pad. That gets dust, dog hair, etc. without saturating the wood. For bad spots (dirt spills, muddy footprints, etc) , I may use the sprayer on the mop (just water) then a rag/towel if it needs to be dried. For really dirty floors, or maybe just one or two times a year, I do the whole floor with the woodfloor cleaner I get from our floor installer...I think it's called "Woodpecker"? :) Caveat-- we are not shiny floor people. We have dogs, and wear shoes inside all the time, because I am allowing our floors to age, and get worn. It's not a tabletop, it's a floor.
January 18, 2014 at 11:04PM     
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fos5
re: Butcher Block. Recommend Chapman's Beeswax Salad Bowl & Butcher Block Finish. You wash your wooden board or choping block with warm water and a little bleach water, dry thoroughly. With a clean soft cloth rub the Bee's Wax on the board, polish with a soft cloth. Do not use Olive or Canola oil or anything that can go rancid, it can give you food poisening. Reccommend using a separate composite board for poultry.
January 19, 2014 at 4:16AM     
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hatetoshop
firsthouse81 -- use mineral oil on your kitchen boards.
January 19, 2014 at 4:19AM     
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fos5
hatetoshop. Yes Country Living Magazine butcher block recipe, clean first with H20 & bleach. Dry, coat with cloth dipped in mineral oil, wipe off. Melt parafin wax, pour on block burnish with a rubber spatular.
January 19, 2014 at 4:41AM     
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theskip
Food grade mineral oil on all wood boards, utensils, bowls etc. Olive oil will go rancid over time.
January 19, 2014 at 4:54AM     
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mountie
Vinegar and water followed by Bruce's (Home Depot, Lowe's)
January 19, 2014 at 5:31AM     
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dclostboy
I like Bona...cleans and shines.
January 19, 2014 at 5:36AM     
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trebambini
If you use Bona, can your floor still be refinished. I've been told several times by hardwood floor people that if you use anything other than vinegar and water, you will not be able to refinish.
January 19, 2014 at 7:01AM   
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elyse108
I use Bona and have no problems. I like the Bona mop as well. Although after reading this I'll try some natural products mentioned..Method Almond, and Dr Bonners. How can anyone use Swifter?..it such a strong chemical smell!
January 19, 2014 at 8:06AM   
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fos5
Swifter Product is not meant for wood floors. You can use the Swifter mop with a wood floor product.
January 19, 2014 at 8:16AM     
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PRO
Barnhart Gallery
My husband did the floors one morning when we were having company ten years ago, and it was so smooth and slick that one by one, just about everyone wiped out. We threw the stuff out; sorry I can't remember what it was!
January 19, 2014 at 8:41AM     
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zenbubble
This handy little Meile vacuum is my favorite tool for keeping the floors dust free and clean. The wider attachment is used on the brick floors and the narrower attachment on the wood floors. Occasionally I also use a dry Swiffer on the wood floors, but at least once a year I wipe them down with Bona and a damp cloth. They look good as new after seven years. Another suggestion...."please take your shoes off at the door"!
January 19, 2014 at 8:53AM     
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PRO
the essentials inside
vinegar and water is the best you will never get a dull build up, occasionally you can use a steam mop. I do this method and my 20 year old Hardwood floors look great.
January 19, 2014 at 11:58AM   
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PRO
JudyG Designs
I use Bona on my hickory floors. This is what I bought. Easy to use and works great.
January 19, 2014 at 12:03PM     
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bungalowmo
I use a tank vac to get the dirt...then a dustmop with endust...then a ragmop with warm sudsy water. Seriously, I use dawn dishsoap...just a few drops.

I've seen the Murphys mentioned. Personally, I hate that stuff. The smell is nasty & it lingers like crazy. A friend gave me an antique desk over 6 years ago. He "cleaned" it up with Murphys. Every time I open the front...it's like a smack in the face...6 years later!
January 19, 2014 at 12:28PM     
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ruthmand
Bona has two products, one for laminate and one for hardwood floors. The folks we bought the bamboo flooring from recommended the Bona (for hardwood) and it works great. If you use the Bona mop, as shown by JudyG above, you only need one squirt of the product for a 4 ft. square area. Some of you maybe using way too much and thus have streaking.

Mineral oil ONLY for butcherblock boards and/or counters. All other oils absorbs odors and can turn rancid.
January 19, 2014 at 6:08PM     
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lucidos
There is a big difference in cleaning varnished and polyurethaned wood floors. I have had both.

Consider polyurathaned floors they are in actuality clear plastic fused over the floor. You would no more clean them with oil or wax then you would clean a window with oil. Vinegar/Windex works best after a good cleaning of loose dirt. If you have a build up of other products that are wax or oil based you will have a tough time getting back to that real shine. It will be a very intensive job. It's very important to cover and protect high traffic areas with rugs.

Varnished floors have a finish that is sunk into the wood. To tell the difference if you can't feel the grain it is more then likely poly. With varnished floors I also vacuum. Then damp mop with lukewarm water. When I have a stubborn spot I get it out with a medium bristle brush and a bit of dish soap. At least once a year I have the guy come in to wax and polish the floors.

As far as preference, I feel, varnish is far superior. It does not scratch as easily. If a scratch occurs since the color has sunk in it does not show as readily. If a disaster happens in one spot it can be sanded out and re-stained. On a poly floor you have to redo the entire floor. The look and feel of the varnished floor is real. We don't feel we need to tiptoe around with clean slippers.

Sanding is another issue with newer wood floors. Most of the time you are lucky to get 1/8" veneer on a substrate. That means you get one or 2 chances to redo it for the life of the floors.

This floor is original in my current home that was built in 1895. It's the image I snapped is my hard used kitchen floor. With a small child 2 large dogs and 2 normal sized cats I clean it sometimes 2 or 3 times a day when it's muddy out. It's about due for another sanding. The last time it was done was in the early 90's.
January 19, 2014 at 11:02PM     
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kmkane
Interesting, all these comments..... I've had wood floors (with a swedish finish not poly urethane ) for 25 yrs and have only cleaned them with warm water. A little dish soap if they're really bad.
January 20, 2014 at 12:21AM     
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kmkane
Question - why on earth would you use vinegar? What am missing?
January 20, 2014 at 12:22AM   
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Soren Andersen
If you get black marks from shoes on your wooden floor, you can remove them by rubbing them with a tennisball.
January 20, 2014 at 12:40AM     
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karelina
Mineral oil is not a good choice for cutting boards. It's a fairly common allergen.
January 20, 2014 at 1:28AM   
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lucidos
To kmkane: A 4 to 1 (4 warm water 1 part vinegar) solution will clean, shine and disinfect just about any floor surface. It cuts though greasy dirt. It's economical. The smell totally disappears when it dries. The mop should NOT be dripping wet but rung as dry as possible. Because it cleans as it does it does not leave a film. I would normally mop an area then go over it again with a dry flat faced microfiber mop to get every last bit of the dirt.
January 20, 2014 at 2:52AM     
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elyse108
Thank you for the tip on cleaning floors with vineagr. Also wanted to mention it's white vingar and it's inexpensive. You can buy it by the gallon (Costco). I use it for cleaning windows, bathrooms... a natural disinfectant... no harsh chemicals as in most commercial cleaners.
January 20, 2014 at 6:30AM     
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iloveittwo
BONA PRODUCTS WORK REALLY WELL IN OUR FLOORS.
January 20, 2014 at 6:44AM     
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bungalowmo
Lucidos...I have the varnished floors like yours. From 1916.
January 20, 2014 at 9:44AM     
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lucidos
Beautiful, Bungalowmo :)

Oh did I also mention that I damp dust? Not with vinegar but plain lukewarm water. I live in an area that's very dusty. Damp dusting keeps that stuff from floating around the air. Spending my child's college fund on Swiffer cloths is not my idea of wise money management.

And, yes Elyse big 'ole gallon jugs of white vinegar at $ 2.00 per are my go to cleaning product. Did you know Febreeze's main component is vinegar to take away odors? Also Windex Multipurpose has vinegar added to it. Windex itself has an interesting chemical mix http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windex
January 20, 2014 at 10:10AM     
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kmkane
@lucidos, thanks for that, but I still don't think I'll use it. Vinegar is good for grease, soap scum and mineral deposits. Wood floors usually don't get soap scum and mineral deposits. If they get greasy, you need soap. Excessive soap can cause streaking, Vinegar can ease streaking, But then you're just leaving soap on your floor. So I guess I'll continue to use warm water, and soap when I need it, and rinse again with warm water. Though it's a very, very mild disinfectant, hey, it's a floor! Call me crazy, but VINEGAR SMELLS LIKE STINKY FEET!
January 20, 2014 at 4:36PM     
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silk789
an 'Enjo' floor mop - use just water, wonderful results.
January 20, 2014 at 4:46PM     
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bungalowmo
Yeah...I hate to dust & don't do it nearly as often as I should. But...I also do it all myself & work 40 & travel another 8 every week.

It is what it is...I vacuum, dustmop & wet wipe when I can.

If I don't have time, I'm ok with that too...
January 20, 2014 at 5:00PM     
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pattikee
generally, I just wipe down with water. Sometimes I use windex, I try to use ammonia free windex rain, because it makes them feel clean.
for cutting boards, wood bowls, wood countertops use Boos oil. It works great. I try to treat my cutting boards and black walnut wood island every few weeks. It's a food grade oil and makes the woods look beautiful.
January 20, 2014 at 5:33PM     
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574steele
I haven't seen anyone mention Simple Green as a great household cleaner. After using it to clean all the grime & bug guts off our motorcycle, started using it in the house. Works great!
January 21, 2014 at 3:36AM   
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lepstein
Never use a Swiffer cloth on your wood floor. It will scratch it.
January 21, 2014 at 11:28PM   
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mbrabr
To /firsthouse81 mineral oil to oil chopping/ cutting boards
January 22, 2014 at 4:42AM   
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wubbie
I've had my wood floors for eight years and all I will ever put on them is Bona. It does a fantastic job and they look as good as new.
January 22, 2014 at 5:17AM     
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cloudpants
We live in Sydney and have wood floors - no carpet. I vacuum them weekly and steam mop (water only) every few months. I get asked regularly how I manage to keep them so clean and shiny. So easy and keeps allergies away.
January 22, 2014 at 5:27AM     
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jenecho
I use coconut oil on our huge butcher block island. Unlike olive or canola oil, it won't go rancid and it smells heavenly.
January 22, 2014 at 5:43AM     
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lepstein
I have some vestiges of glue on the wood floor at one end of my room. Any suggestions how I can remove it without sanding? I'm not sure whether it is varnished or polyurethane, but it is in pretty good shape otherwise for having been under carpet for 20 years. I have tried several GooGone type products without luck. It is a big floor, so I don't want to sand. Floor is over 60 yrs old.
January 22, 2014 at 6:05AM   
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Soren Andersen
about the glue...take a papertowel and put some petroleum on it, press it against the glue and then leave it on for 10-15 minutes...then you should be able to remove it by rubbing on it....i have seen this on a home improvement show.
January 22, 2014 at 7:09AM     
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Joanne Maurer
I tried everything at big expenses. Best product ever is the e-cloths or the e-cloths mop and reusable washable pads. Spray bottle with water and off you go.
January 22, 2014 at 7:18AM     
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lkathrynwood
When our home was built, the builder and the person who did our hardwood floors said don't use anything except warm water - DAMP not wet mop and be sure to dry them, not allowing the water to sit at all. NO product. That's what we've done and they look pretty good. We do have scratches from the dogs, but that is to be expected.
January 22, 2014 at 7:30AM     
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hopesilver
Bona comes in two different qualities..and they make all the difference. The weaker solution is filmy and does not shine, and is sold at Cosco, Bed Bath, & Beyond, etc. But the more concentrated and original Bona is sold at the smaller cleaning Supplies, vacuum stores, etc.
Also Bona makes a laminate and stone cleaner for floors, so make sure you are not using this on the wood. But many people have discovered the Big Chain stores version of Bona, and the original. Check it out.
January 22, 2014 at 2:10PM   
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notme11
I have Bona and use it only when I need a quick clean. It does leave a film and my floors (real wood) look dull. I really don't like it at all. I have dogs and within a day, you can see splotchy marks where the dogs have walked when I have used Bona. On the bright side, it doesn't build up. You can wash it off with vinegar and water and a good solid drying.

I wish I had a good solution. I am waiting for the perfect solution to washing and drying. My knees are sore!
January 22, 2014 at 2:21PM     
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lilyhammer1
Murphy's oil soap is great for wood
January 22, 2014 at 2:25PM   
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calexandra
This may seem odd but I use a light spray of the original version of 'Nature's Miracle' stain and odor remover. It is an enzymatic cleaner used to clean up puppy 'mistakes' and other pet related spills. It has been great on my wood floors and is safe and non toxic. I buy it by the gallon at online pet supply sites. I spray it on and mop immediately with cold water. Of course I would recommend anyone who wants to try it to do a test area first.
January 22, 2014 at 3:45PM   
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heartlander
Rubbing alcohol and distilled water, 50/50 mix, put in a spray bottle. After thoroughly vacuuming, I spray this lightly on my hardwood floors, followed up with a microfiber floor cleaning pad on a "mop" made to hold the pads. The alcohol cleans great, leaves absolutely nothing behind to cloud or attract more dirt. Most importantly the solution evaporates quickly. Remember that excess moisture will migrate between the boards, where there is no protective finish. As with any new product, test in an inconspicuous spot, just to be on the safe side. Agree w/others about Bona; it left a visible film even on my satin finish, and I was definitely not over-using it. Agree also that oil soaps, etc. are not the best for modern floor finishes. Besides, who wants to wring a mop?
January 22, 2014 at 4:56PM     
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bevballew
I first vacuumed, then a mop with a soft cloth, then a swiffer with dry cloth, and a damp mop. Worked great. I had remodeling done in my house and had tons of dust so that is why so many steps. For scuff marks I just rub with my foot with a sock. Comes right off.
January 22, 2014 at 8:22PM     
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Kari Palomo
My Norwex mop and water. Seriously the best for my dark floors. Norwex has extremely high quality microfiber dry and wet mop heads. They pick up everything and the wet head even self sanitizes. It is the safest thing (who wants to slather their floors in chemicals?!) and works amazingly. Another plus is that it doesn't leave any residue so it doesn't attract dirt.
January 22, 2014 at 8:36PM   
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PRO
Luxor Fireplaces
Buy a Roomba Vacuum. and let that clean it.
January 23, 2014 at 1:12AM     
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soonannee
Our family home was over 200 sq metres of Wandoo (Australian hardwood) floors. I cleaned with Enjo floor cleaner which is a pole and head with microfibre - one for sweeping and one for washing
Go to You Tube and search for Enjo floor cleaner.
Easy green cleaning and preserves floor surface.
January 23, 2014 at 3:30AM     
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ruthmand
@soonannee, checked out the Enjo system (Zabada in the USA) and boy that is pricey. Looks pretty much the same as several systems that are quite a bit less costly.
January 23, 2014 at 7:54AM     
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printesa
Vacuum first and then wipe. I have a Ladybug steamer, but for the wood floors, I use the steamer just enough to get the cloth moist. Too much steam would damage the wood. I don't use vinegar. I used to add a bit of vinegar when I was wiping with a mop, but someone who is installing wood floors said that it's not a good idea.
January 23, 2014 at 8:28AM   
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mls1953
Our floors are oak. All I have ever done is keep them vacuumed and then mop them with black tea. Dip a clean, soft rag in brewed black tea, wring it out really well, as dry as possible and clean floor. I wash the rag out with clear water before rediping it in the tea, so the tea stays as clean as possible. Labor intensive but only have to do it every few months. Our floors were refinished 15 years ago and still are gorgeous. So much better for us than the carpets, they replaced.
January 23, 2014 at 2:29PM     
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PRO
ldpram
I like the Bona products - no film or build up
January 27, 2014 at 5:43PM     
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bmskelly
Bona and Shark steam mop.
January 27, 2014 at 5:47PM     
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Cindy Hannon
Thank you lucidos for the difference in Poly and Varnish... we built a beautiful Victorian house, Brazilian Cherry floors, but what ever kind of Poly the guys that installed it used is TERRIBLE! Painters tape will pull it off. We know (and dread) that we need to redo and were leaning towards Tung Oil...we have been living in it for 6 years and there are so many scratches... still working on trim work (we have done as much as we could ourselves, and have had to redo other things done by pros... I know there are good ones out there, we just seemed to have not found them lol) and planned on doing them over when all is done. If anyone has other recommendations on finishes I would love opinions... I damp mop (microfiber swifer type mop) with vinegar & water, also use it on my granite counter tops, it does a great job on both (buff counters dry after I do it with soft cloth)
January 27, 2014 at 6:03PM     
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dailypainter
I love Bona and have been using it for years, never ever had a film issue. My floors were refinished about 10 years ago and look brand new. They used an oil based poly on them, and that could be the difference.
January 27, 2014 at 6:18PM   
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dailypainter
@Cindy Hannon The problem isn't the poly, it's the wood. It probably wasn't cured enough, meaning the wood wasn't dry enough for the poly to stick to it. I would sand off all the poly, let the floor cure for a week or two, then apply a couple of coats of a good oil based poly. I think if you use tung oil, and you decide it's not the right finish, I don't think you can apply a poly over it….the tung oil is absorbed into the wood and would make it impossible to get it all off so a poly could stick to it.
January 27, 2014 at 6:28PM     
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gracey999
Whoa! Okay I have two lil problems. First: I pulled up w to w carpet and decided to clean the hardwood really good. We had one dog and she loved to sneak in the room and pee. So the only thing I could think of was to use soap with bleach, mainly to get up stains. Of course it left lighter spots....so I did put another carpet down...not w to w. Second: I had a room upstairs painted and we spilled a lot of paint on the wooden floors...is there any way to get the paint up without a lot of scrubbing, sanding, etc? I have a feeling these rooms will always have carpet but I would at least like to try to make them nice...in case I decide to sell...the floors are well over 70 years old. Lots of good info on here...thanks so much :)
January 27, 2014 at 6:30PM   
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Patty Talana
The Ultimate Cleaning Cloth with warm water, that's it, these cloths are amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!! I constantly get compliments on how fantastic my dark hardwood floors look.
January 27, 2014 at 6:31PM   
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PRO
Linda
First of all, the proper way to clean a wood floor depends on the finish. If you have a newly installed or refinished floor, follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

My dining room, entry hall and stairway all still have their original shellac finish. Any spots which can't be removed with a damp cloth are cleaned with a solvent type cleaner. The other wood floors in my house are oil base poly and spots on those are cleaned with a hardwood flooring cleaner - typically I use the one from Bona.

I'm a real fan of the two part Swedish finishes. They cost more than the basic oil based poly products but they're quite durable. Plus, being a water based product, they dry faster than oil...just follow the instructions and leave plenty of time for curing before putting down any rugs.
January 27, 2014 at 6:32PM   
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PRO
Linda
Dried latex paint can be removed using "Goof off" or scraping it off with a sharp knife, chisel, razor blade etc. If you try to scrape it, use only a small blade and try to get it to pop off the surface
January 27, 2014 at 6:37PM   
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stacydukes
I have used Bona for years on my Bamboo Floors,we just put new floors in our bedrooms and they match up perfect!! So my floors that have been down at least 10 years look brand new! Every other product left streaks.
January 27, 2014 at 6:58PM   
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lucidos
You weren't wrong with the bleach it's commonly used to lighten stained wood. Problem is it sucks out the old stain and natural oils. I suggest you get a good professional in to address the floors. You will want to tell them that you don't think the floors are polyurethane because many of the re-finishers aren't schooled in dealing with these old floors. Get in a few guys to look and give you estimates/advice. Question them on what processes they use. If your floors are like mine they may be able to address just the troubled areas.

You will know when you have someone there that knows their stuff.

OK true story-time. My house was built in 1895. At one point the plumbing backed up. We called in the rooter rooter guys. He worked on the main line for over 3 hours with this great big machine. Then explained that the plumbing was corroded and he could not get through, probably a pipe that was breached by roots. He told me the plumbing was antiquated and drew pictures of how it was Rube Goldberg connected. The estimate to fix this issue was very high and would require bulldozers and breaking through the foundation. He left and charged me $250.00 for his time. And yes, the water was draining a tiny bit better. As long as we waited to do wash 3 hours after the last load or shower.

While we considered what we needed to do to pay for this, I had a brainstorm. I called in another expert. This time I called a plumber that is an older (very very odd) gent we sometimes use for our industrial jobs. He came over, he brought a plunger on a long stick. He then unscrewed this strange thing on the floor next to the main and in 5 minutes the issue was resolved. We have NOT had an issue since and that was 2 years ago.

Every story has a moral: Call the old guy :)
January 27, 2014 at 6:58PM     
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karelina
What do you all think of Swedish finish? Would you recommend it?
January 27, 2014 at 8:10PM   
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curacaoblue
Steam mop! I've tried everything and I swear this is the best! Expensive investment but no chemicals, just water. It is by far the best I've used in over 20 years.. Fast, non allergenic, and cheapest in the long run. I use shark brand.
January 27, 2014 at 8:20PM     
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Darla Scheuerman
Quick damp mop warm water in small section followed immediately with dry towel. No chemicals no standing water. And yes, I wish I had staff.
January 27, 2014 at 9:12PM   
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cmcole1121
The guy who refinished our floors (sand and stain) told us not to use anything on our floors other than dusting and windex, if needed. Definitely no mopping or wood cleaner. It's a bit of a pain but bum trying to follow.
January 27, 2014 at 9:47PM   
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Abdel HD
I have some vestiges of glue on the wood floor at one end of my room http://bricolmaison.blogspot.com/
January 28, 2014 at 2:34AM   
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Cindy Hannon
@dailypainter Thank you! That makes sense, it was dellivered here, sat in the house for a couple of weeks then installed and finished the wood is gorgeous just not liking the "plastic" on top... I would rather see dents in the wood than scratches on the finish if you know what I mean. I would love to distress them but my husband dosen't lol Let the wood dry out more? It has been down since 07 .... I suppose we could work that out when we go for a trip sometime...
January 28, 2014 at 3:54AM   
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Cecy Garza
I thought water damages wood but I seem to have read in a lot of comments that they use water. I use Bruno from Home Depot it's ok recently tried Murphy oil spray b/c I heard good reviews I find it ok too! So far I can't say nothing has wowed me! Maybe I should try vinegar with water since I think people really seem to like it! Can someone tell me what kind of mop I should buy? And how is the vinegar good for wood as far as disinfecting?
January 28, 2014 at 4:10AM   
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PRO
reSAWN TIMBER co.
Choosing the right cleaner for your wood floors really depends on the finish. We offer a hardwax oil finish that is easy to clean and can be spot repaired. Learn more here: http://www.resawntimberco.com/About_Hardwax_Oil.html

Besides cleaning, here are some tips from reSAWN TIMBER co. to keeping your wood floors looking beautiful:

GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS TO PRESERVE THE LIFE OF YOUR FLOOR:
• Sweep or vacuum regularly to keep your floor free of dust and eliminate abrasives that can scratch the finish. Beater bars and dirty wheels on your vacuum can mar your floor.
• Quickly wipe up any spills from the floor to protect wood from excess liquids.
• Use mats outside and inside entrances so sand and other rough particles cannot build up on the floor. Avoid mats with rubber or other dense backings that will block airflow beneath rugs or might retain abrasives and humidity.
• Use mats near sinks, dishwasher and workstations to protect your floor from cooking tools, water, soaps, oils, and other kitchen mishaps.
• Stick felt pads under all furniture or chair legs so they can easily slide and to avoid scratches. Always keep such pads clean. Check often for signs of wear, in which case replace promptly.
• Large soft polyurethane or rubber casters are much better than narrow hard plastic casters.
• Protect your floor when moving heavy furniture. One idea: Turn a mat over and then place a piece of plywood on it. Put furniture on this so it can slide smoothly over your floor. Make sure the mat’s surface is clean and free of sand, rocks, or other abrasive objects.
• Pointed objects such as spiked heels or sport shoes, can easily damage the finish of your floor especially if worn or damaged. Water and sand are the worst enemies of hardwood floors. Next are spiked heeled shoes. This is true for all floor surfaces, even concrete flooring.
• Keep the relative humidity level between 35-55% for your health as well as for your wood floors and wood furnishings. Wood is a natural material that absorbs and releases moisture depending on the relative humidity. With high humidity, wood absorbs the excess humidity and expands, which can cause buckling in the flooring. Keep the humidity level down by using a dehumidifier or dehumidifying air conditioning system or with a heating system and good ventilation. During dry periods (periods of low relative humidity), wood releases moisture and will contract and shrink which can cause gaps between strips and even cupping.
• If the relative humidity is low, use a humidifier to reduce shrinking of the wood. Engineered flooring is not as prone to movement as traditional solid wood flooring, but it is still subject to the physical laws of nature and can shrink or expand in very dry or extremely humid environments.
• Pet claws should be trimmed regularly to avoid scratching floors.
• Your floor should be protected from sunlight and intense artificial lighting to reduce discoloration. Wood naturally changes color over time and with exposure to light. This is a natural phenomenon with all wood surfaces. Different kinds of wood will change color to varying degrees. You can minimize this color change by moving around furniture and carpets and reducing strong light sources. If you follow the above preventive maintenance suggestions, you shall enjoy the beauty of your floor for a very long time.
January 28, 2014 at 4:21AM     
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Ann Lee Fuller
Living on southern Florida we just "reluctantly" had engineered amendoim floors installed in several rooms. The are gorgeous, but having lived in the north I am accustomed to full hardwood and am very intimidated with the cleaning process for engineered floors. Any suggestions for products?
January 28, 2014 at 5:18AM     
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PRO
OMNIA Group Architects
If you are environmentally conscious, the best way to clean your wood floors is by vacuuming and then very lightly damp mop with water. We use a Libby mop pad system, with a rubbermaid reveal pad (bigger than the Libby pad). The pads are washable and wring able. You can fill your Libby mop system with whatever your preference…vinegar and water, detergent or cleaner. We used to use Bono, until the Environmental Working Group website data showed it was not a good non toxic cleaner. Once in a while, a little vinegar and/or dish soap is mixed in with the water. Right now, on the East Coast, we have salt being tracked in on our hardwood floors at the office. This is the perfect time to add something other than water to be rid of the white salt stains.
January 28, 2014 at 6:37AM     
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ruthmand
@Ann Lee Fuller, Bona makes a product specifically for laminate flooring as well as one for hardwood. They also have a mop system that works great (see posting by Judy G on 1/19/14 above)
January 28, 2014 at 7:12AM   
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Nelda Mcewen
I have 700 square feet of bamboo flooring. I use a fiber mop and make my own spray cleaner (use it for everything). Mix equal parts distilled water, white vinegar and wood grain alcohol. That's it. For fun I add essential oils such as orange or eucalyptus.
January 28, 2014 at 2:44PM     
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Barbara Neuerman
My wood floors are 85 years young. They are not treated or sealed….they are vacuumed twice a week and twice a year I use a tinted liquid wax then buff with my Oreck floor polisher (worth its weight in gold)
January 28, 2014 at 3:42PM     
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bungalowmo
Lucidos...I'm with you on "calling the old guy"! My floors are not even as old as yours (more like 100) and some of the old guys know the most about old finishes, old houses, old hardware...and lucky for me...old skeleton keys too! :0)
January 28, 2014 at 4:01PM     
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karelina
Barbara Neuerman: My 114 year old floors would like to know where you get liquid wax?
January 28, 2014 at 10:33PM   
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PRO
Classic Remodeling
We recommend Bona to all our clients.
January 28, 2014 at 10:53PM   
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Patricia Salgado Falconi
I use vinegar and water on my wood floors .All my life i have hated "mops" I found shark steam mop. I can wash the cloth and desinfect after used! These works perfectly for us
February 19, 2014 at 8:32AM     
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jayjaybirdy
I get on my hands and knees with warm wet rags(just water) the old fashion way! You'll never miss a corner, you can hit up the baseboards -and a little workout in the meantime :)

No
February 19, 2014 at 8:54AM     
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jayjaybirdy
Vinegar is great for almost everything but wood. It acts as an acid to wood. Wood needs oil to nurture. That's why I got with water only!
February 19, 2014 at 8:57AM     
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Donna Swonke-Reeh
Good old warm H20.
February 19, 2014 at 4:04PM     
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Patricia Boley
The only way I get 100% clean floors without a film is vinegar and water and dry it with a clean old towel as I go. Every other way I have tried I get film and/or dirt when I wipe it with a wet paper towel when I have just washed it. It's also what my floor refinisher recommended.
April 7, 2014 at 1:48AM     
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colesmomii
I also found that Bona left a milky film on my hard hardwood Jatoba wood floors. What a mistake! I'm so tired of fighting these floors. The biggest mistake we ever made was putting in espresso colored glossy hardwood floors. I have hardwood from one end to the other on my main floor. The marks aren't as bad as my dark stained oak staircase, but there's very little grain in Jatoba (Brazillian cherry), so it shows everything. Add to that the fact that we have hard water, and it's an instant nightmare. I can't get this film off my floors. Vinegar helps, but still doesn't make them perfect.
April 7, 2014 at 8:17AM   
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Patricia Boley
Do you dry with a towel or air dry? Try a towel and switch to a dry one when necessary.
April 7, 2014 at 10:32AM   
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lepstein
My cleaner was using a vacuum on my new wood floor and there are (not deep) scratches/marks (only visible when the sun is shining on the floor). She was also damp mopping with Mr. Clean. I have stopped both practices but wonder if there is a way to get rid of the marks.
April 7, 2014 at 10:37AM   
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ispoildogs
Bruce Hardwood and Laminate floor cleaner leaves no film. I use a spray mop to dispense it, the kind with a microfiber pad and spray lever on the handle.
April 7, 2014 at 10:48AM   
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justjill70
I used Bona and it left a film. I find vinegar and water pretty good. Murphy's Oil Soap has worked on, but I still haven't found the right cleaner for my dark wood floors.
April 19, 2014 at 2:57PM     
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Nelda Mcewen
I have bamboo floors at home. I also have a cleaning job of 1200 square feet of wood floors. Also some vinyl and bathroom clean up. I just use one thing FOR EVERYTHING. Windows, counters in Kitchen too. I make it myself by the gallon and put it in a spray bottle. 1 part vinegar, 1 part distilled water, 1 part wood grain alcohol. You can add a few drops of essential oil just for fun. I like orange/eucalyptus. The alcohol evaporates quickly so no streaking.
April 19, 2014 at 10:09PM     
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wendyperezmonsanto
I vacuum first, wash with Murphy's Oil Soap, and "rinse" with JetSpray Swiffer. They glow beautifully.
June 4, 2014 at 3:50PM   
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PRO
ESB Hardwood Flooring
Wood Flooring Cleaning and Maintenance Tips
Every wood floor is an investment, and you want do everything possible to ensure your investment lasts for decades. Luckily, to keep wood flooring looking its beautiful best for longer, you simply need to give it a little regular care and maintenance. Here are some tried and tested care tips from the experts at ESB Flooring: Buy doormats. They work wonders keeping away dirt and grit from the first step. Regular cleaning is essential. To remove surface dirt and grit, vacuum the floor using a soft bristle head or sweep with a soft bristle broom.

Don’t let stubborn dirt get you down. We recommend damp-mopping the floor using a well-wrung mop.

Do not over-wet the floor – this can change the moisture levels and, over time, cause a floor to expand, resulting in cupping.

Go natural. Use eco-friendly floor cleaners available in any supermarket. ESB stock a floor cleaner called Blanchon which provides added benefits to simply cleaning. No chemicals. Never clean the floor with common household detergents, methylated spirits, Kerosene, polishes, steel wool pads, wax or similar products. These can be abrasive and may scratch the surface, or make it dangerously slippery. Some of these products can also leave behind a residue, which might make it difficult to stain the floor in the future.

Avoid steam. Do not use a steam mop to clean timber floors. The steam is forced into the joints and any incisions or cracks, which can cause cupping. The heat from the steam can also damage the floor’s finish.

Act fast to avoid stains. Wipe up spills and leaks immediately with a dry cloth or paper towel.

Embrace natural changes. As a natural product, wood flooring will inevitably change colour, fade or darken over time – especially is exposed to direct sunlight. Rotate rugs periodically and use curtains or blinds to protect the floor from direct sunlight.

Take off high-heeled shoes. This will not always be possible but please remember high-heeled shoes can and will damage a wood floor surface.

Beware the claws! Pets with long claws can scratch and dull a wood floor surface. Be sure to cut and trim your pet’s claws regularly.

One of the major benefits of hardwood flooring is it can be re-stained or re-finished as needed. When looked after, wood floors should last at least five years before you need to re-coat them. However, it does depend on the amount of wear and tear the floor is subject to. Talk to our ESB Flooring experts for more advice and check what cleaning product we are offering http://www.esbflooring.com/flooring-shop/accessories/cleaning-and-maintenance.
June 9, 2014 at 12:50PM     
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PRO
Carie Gentry
The trick with Bona is to dampen your microfiber pad first (damp not wet....wet = bad for hardwood) then use the Bona with the damp mop. You will need to rinse the pad out, (or use multiple heads) to clean the floors. Its a little bit time consuming to do it this way...however it wont leave that film behind. Its when it is used full strength with a dry head that you will build up a film.
June 9, 2014 at 1:23PM   
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bevballew
I heard by the experts bono is bad.
June 9, 2014 at 2:14PM   
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fredm51
To firsthouse81 only oil you put on butcher block is mineral oil.
June 9, 2014 at 2:39PM   
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lepstein
My former house cleaner used her stick vacuum on my new hardwood floor despite my instructions to use a soft broom only. Damp mopped with water and original Mr. Clean after. I now have numerous scratches on the floor, but cannot afford to have them redone (they were only done about two years ago in a room that is barely used). The room is south facing and the scratches can definitely be seen on sunny days. Any suggestions to minimize this problem?
June 9, 2014 at 2:39PM   
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karelina
Mineral oil is toxic. I wouldn’t put it on a surface that food goes on.
June 9, 2014 at 2:49PM   
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karelina
lepstein: I just ran into scratch repairs on a different Houzz page. Here they are:
Tibet Almond Stick
Amish Secret. Product also comes with wood repair / scratch markers http://www.amishsecret.com
a cotton rag with a bit (not sopping wet) of linseed oil on it. Rub it in & let it fully soak in.
Home Depot scratch repair (there’s a video).
I don’t know how well they work (I just found this info today), but I’m going to start with the linseed oil.
Good luck!
June 9, 2014 at 2:53PM   
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PRO
Belle Chaise
We use dish soap and water. I have used vinegar but it seems to dull the floors. Just make sure all of the soap is up or they can be slippery.
June 9, 2014 at 3:25PM   
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ruthmand
@bevballew: What experts told you that "bono" ( I assume you are referring to a product named Bona) is bad? It was recommended to me by the people that sold us the flooring, a long time locally owned company, and you would think they know what they are talking about. I have used it for two years now with excellent results (no film and no slipperyness). The instructions state to use one spray per four square foot area. It could be that some people are applying more than necessary with poor results.

The damp moping with Bona is also a new concept and I am not sure why one would do that unless they are using the concentrated Bona product without diluting it as they should according to the instructions on the bottle.
June 9, 2014 at 4:20PM     
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stacydukes
@bevballew: I have used Bona on my for years and they look beautiful!! The place where we bought our floors also recommended it.
June 9, 2014 at 4:30PM   
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csevene
Have always used Bona, recommended by installer.
June 9, 2014 at 7:34PM     
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wendyperezmonsanto
Karelina, mineral oil is not toxic. Many people use it as a stool softener for constipation. And rubbing it on your counters isn't going to hurt you.
June 9, 2014 at 7:55PM     
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wickedxx
I use a mixture of vinegar and warm water. It leaves a nice sheen and stays cleaner longer than other methods.

I fill the sink with about one part vinegar and 10 parts water. Dip a microfibre mop into it, so it's saturated with the water and clean away. It dries fairly fast.

Windex is a no-no!! Paper towel might scratch the surface and leave the floors looking dull.
June 9, 2014 at 8:17PM   
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wickedxx
@firsthouse81

Possibly you might try olive oil for the cutting board
June 9, 2014 at 8:19PM   
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Leslie L
Hi. I bought Bona a few weeks ago. All I can say is WOW. It beautifully cleaned my hardwood floors. Might buy the polish next.
The Company who installed my hardwood floors advised I stay away from Vinegar and water.
Vinegar is acidic and over time would ruin the hardwood I have on my floor.
June 9, 2014 at 10:59PM     
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wickedxx
I see reading through the comments we've all been told different solutions by the installers, so it may depend on the finish of the hardwood. I have Brazilian walnut with an aluminium oxide coating. The instructions were do not ever put wax, oils or windex. Use vinegar & water.
June 10, 2014 at 2:10AM   
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fredm51
wickedxx is right follow the floor makers instructions. you are cleaning and shining the coating not the wood. As far as cutting boards. you need an oil that does not turn rancid . Mineral oil does not turn rancid, olive, canola, etc will. Walnut oil is another oil that can be used. Google what to use on cutting boards or the hazards of rancid oil. We all know not to reuse frying oil but some will wipe their chopping blocks with the same oil for months or years and wonder where they got cancer from.
June 10, 2014 at 5:39AM   
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kmkane
That's right, how you clean your wood floor depends on the the type of floor you have, plus how your floor is finished.

So this question could have been asked in a much better and more helpful manner. Instead, it opens the door to lots of talk about, oh, say using 60-yr old cleaning methods that may be damaging to flooring made with new technology.

I may be wrong, but I believe it is linseed oil that shouldn't be used on cutting boards? I'm sure someone can verify that?
June 10, 2014 at 8:32AM   
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hatetoshop
Mineral oil is good for cutting boards.
June 10, 2014 at 8:40AM     
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mustangwife
Karelian,
Mineral oil is given to patient to promote healthy digestion! You are suppose to drink a couple of teaspoons daily. Check out webMD. It is not a poison.
June 10, 2014 at 11:06AM     
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PRO
Travis Robert Renovations
For cleaning your hardwood, It's best to follow the manufacturers user care and maintenance instructions which your installer/supplier should be able to provide for you. If your floor was sanded/refinished vs. prefinished- follow the care and maintenance instructions of that specific finish to keep your floors looking like new!
June 10, 2014 at 11:51AM   
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Kevin Strader
We dust the floor with crushed up dog food and let the puppy lick them clean. :) Just kidding, we use Pledge multi surface cleaner.
June 10, 2014 at 12:24PM     
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Donna Swonke-Reeh
haha!
June 10, 2014 at 12:57PM   
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Donna Swonke-Reeh
Has anyone tried Dr. Bronner"s Pure Castille Soap or Meyer's Clean Day Multipurpose Cleaner? They're both all natural and I've been curious.
June 10, 2014 at 12:59PM   
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PRO
Cancork Floor Inc.
A hardwood should never be cleaned using "soap" products. The Dr. Bronner's does NOT state it can be used on wood....which is precisely what I've seen with other products. The Meyer's products state they are "safe" for use on "non-porous" materials....like glass, metal and tile.

I've just had a floor ruined by a "Multipurpose" eco-friendly cleaner...because it is still "soap". If you are going to do it, PLEASE RINSE your floors 2-3 times everytime you use it...and wood doesn't like to be this wet. These "soaps" (made with oil and surfactants) leave behind an oil/soapy residue that builds up over time. This residue is sticky and LOVES to grab dirt and dust. All that glued down dirt and dust then grinds down the finish on your floors.

Inside of 5 years your hardwood's finish should be worn through in places. And the chances of refinishing the hardwood once you've applied these cleaners are VERY SMALL. Please DO NOT USE these on hardwood, bamboo, cork, laminate, etc.
June 10, 2014 at 1:56PM     
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bevballew
Dr Bronners is for the body.
June 10, 2014 at 6:27PM   
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Donna Swonke-Reeh
It's engineered hardwood. Someone early in this discussion said that "Dr. Bronner's is the best" on their hardwood floors. IDK what type of hardwood floors they actually have, but I knew that Castille Soap was gentle and had MANY uses, not JUST for the body! I have a great, high quality foam mop that I squeeze out very well when I use, as to not make the floor wet. Everybody just calm down! I wouldn't dare just put things on my beautiful, hand scraped engineered hardwood floor unless I knew it was safe. That's why I was asking, and I'm researching elsewhere too!
June 10, 2014 at 9:42PM   
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pikachu7
I use bona most of the time and swiffer hardwood cleaner when I don't have much time.
June 11, 2014 at 3:53AM   
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bevballew
We are not in a state to be calmed down. Just trying to share what we know. I would not dare put anything on my not pre finished floors. It looks beautiful and I just use a damp mop. To me common sense says putting chemicals on wood is asking for problems later on. But perhaps using Castile will not cause problems. You will eventually find out. Go for it. Let us know down the road how they floors are doing.
June 11, 2014 at 5:00AM   
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PRO
Mary Dancey Interiors
Bev my BIL has unfinished floors and loves them! He says that when they get scratched by the dog he just damp mops and the wood swells and the scratches are gone. Not what I'm used to but it works for him!
June 11, 2014 at 5:20AM     
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Genevieve
Murphy's soap
June 11, 2014 at 5:23AM     
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karelina
Mustangwife: I know it’s used externally, but had no idea it was used internally. Thanks for straightening me out.
June 11, 2014 at 12:41PM   
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kellyslobodian
QHolloway Quick Shine,goes on with a mop no rinse no film Two products available at Walmart most grocery stores,one for heavier cleaning the second quick shine coat from squirt bottle.
June 11, 2014 at 12:49PM   
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stacydukes
Leslie L I have used the Bona polish on mine and loved it.
June 11, 2014 at 4:56PM   
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bevballew
Thank you Marcy! I have a dog also!
June 11, 2014 at 6:28PM   
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leslie91324
My floors are throughout my home and well used. We don't take off our shoes, we have 3 medium size dogs and 3 cats. I can't use many cleaning products because they start me wheezing and eventually my asthma kicks in heavy duty. Even Simple Green starts me wheezing, not that I would ever use that on my oak floors, but it was suggested earlier. Many floor cleaners recommend using in a "well ventilated" area....how can that be healthy for me or my floors? I usually vacuum or dry mop and then use a 4:1 water/vinegar mix but it doesn't leave my floors with the soft glow that I like. I'm tempted to look at the Bona product I've seen people talking about on here but wonder if there's a more natural product with no "warnings" that hopefully won't start me wheezing!
June 22, 2014 at 9:01PM     
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Melanie Jones
I used Murphy's oil soap on hardwood floors, it left a foggy film. I used bona then the next day and it removed the film. I have to use it again to really see if I like it. I have used plain water and water and viniger. That I believe is my favorite.
June 25, 2014 at 10:23AM     
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Marilyn Wilkie
Lucidos, I used to own a home cleaning franchise and one of the things I learned in training was that you NEVER use Windex on plastic. You said "Consider polyurathaned floors they are in actuality clear plastic fused over the floor. You would no more clean them with oil or wax then you would clean a window with oil. Vinegar/Windex works best after a good cleaning of loose dirt. " I strongly disagree with that.
June 25, 2014 at 12:56PM   
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Tracy Blevins
i have tried every product from method , murphy's to bona from vinegar to plain water which that leaves spots to pledge wood floor cleaner to steam cleaning it and it is the same over and over dull and filmy and its just 3 yrs old it looks especially horrible when the sun hits it just right in the evening sometimes i may use a new product and it works great the first couple of times then it seems to quit im almost ready to knock one of those people off of those buffer machines and ride off with it lol
July 24, 2014 at 10:02AM     
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