The question of How to clean wood floors is the most frequently asked question about cleaning and more specifically the cleaning of floors.  We have covered in prior articles the Cleaning Hardwood Floors Do’s and Don’ts and How to Clean Hardwood Floors – Simple Regular Cleaning. These articles cover the do’s and don’ts and step by step procedures on how to clean wood floors. Please click on the link to these articles if they provide you with the specific information you are interested in reading. However, this topic would be helpful in your knowledge of cleaning wood floors and the most common reason how wood floors become damaged.

The following article will cover both Commercial and Residential hardwood floor cleaning – wood floor water damage.


Hardwood Floor Cleaning – Types of Wood Floors

Although this article’s title begins with Hardwood Floor Cleaning, we list all the basic types of wood floors because for they are all related to the extended topic of Wood Floor Water Damage. So knowing how water damages all wood floors and applies to hardwood as well.


Most Popular Wood Floor Types – Factory Sealed or Unsealed

  • Hardwood – Maple, Birch, Oak, Hickory and Walnut woods are the most popular type
  • Softwood – Pine is the most popular type
  • Cork – Bark of an Oak in Europe
  • Linoleum  – Wood flour, linseed oil, fillers and binders 

Note: All wood flooring types require to be sealed before cleaning. Doing so protects the flooring from the most common cause of damage to wood floors…Water!


Hardwood Floor Cleaning – How Water Reacts with Wood

Water raises the grain of the wood creating a fuzzy appearance to the floor and if allowed to soak in or submerged for an extended amount of time, the water will seep deep into the wood and wrap, crack, split and create an environment for mildew and mold to grow. Black staining of wood is normally an indicator of water damage and mildew growth caused by water.


Hardwood Floor Cleaning – Protect Wood Floor from Water

There are some simple things to do you to protect the wood floor from water and the possible damage from water.

  1. Keep the Floor Protected with a Seal and/or Finish Coating 
    • If the wood flooring is not sealed at the factory, seal the floor with an appropriate seal for that particular wood flooring.
    • Seals wear out from foot traffic and wear traffic patterns are easily identifiable. When seal is worn, reseal the wood floor to protect it.
    • Dust mop often, the more dust mopping is done, the more sand and grit is removed from the wood floor. Removing as much sand and grit as often as possible will help keep the protective seal coating from being worn out premature.  Keeping the seal on the wood floor will assist in preventing the water from seeping into the wood.
  2. Clean with Less Water 
    • When it comes to cleaning wood floors, use the minimal amount of water and cleaner to accomplish the cleaning task.
    • The employment of a cleaner and microfiber type mop system will allow the least amount of cleaning solution on the wood floor to complete the cleaning task because the microfiber actually does the cleaning with relying less on the cleaning agent to clean.
    • The cleaning process should be accomplished with a damp mopping process and never a wet mop process. Damp mopping is just as it sounds a damp mop with most of the cleaning solution squeezed out of the mop. Wet mopping or heavy cleaning solution will increase the odds of damage.
  3. Dry the Wood Floor Quickly 
    • The use of fans whether ceiling, floor or window fans is a great way to dry the just cleaned floor quickly.


Helpful Hint – Hardwood Floor Cleaning  

To insure proper, installation, sealing and repairs, it is recommended a profession is used. A professional contractor has the experience needed to complete and insure quality installation maintenance and is money well spent. Using a professional will end up saving money in the long run.


Helpful Additional Reference Websites


The Maple Floor Manufacturer’s Association

National Wood Flooring Association

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