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Green Cleaning of Hardwood Floors

Posted: Friday, January 28, 2011

Green Cleaning of Hardwood Flooring

The inevitable…the fun…the exciting…scrubbing floors!

Okay, it's definitely not the part of the day people actually get excited about. But to keep your floor looking like new, it's a necessary part of any floor maintenance.

You need to be very selective in the ways in which you clean your hardwood floors. Hardwood can last decades if treated with care, but it can be ruined or start to look dull and deteriorate quickly if the wrong products or tools are used.

And as we all try to be, if you want to be environmentally minded, then there's no reason to ever use the chemical-laden products sold with or alongside your flooring materials. Simple is almost always best, and luckily there are some safe, green, and easy ways to take care of your hardwoods.

The sin of all sins, though it's the greenest of all green products, in maintaining and cleaning hardwood is water.

Not just water, but too much water. You never want to flood or pool water on a wood floor. Water wreaks havoc on wood floors, because it's easy for water to seep into the cracks between floor boards or along the edges of the floor, even into tiny cracks and scratches in the grain itself, no matter how fast you swing the mop into action. So, no big mop bucket allowed.

The best method to clean a wood floor is to use small amounts of liquid with either a rag or sponge that has been strenuously wrung out—no drips. And again, there's no reason to spend money and harm your indoor air quality on expensive cleaning products.

Do check out the specs on your particular type of wood, though, to make sure you use the correct natural product for your floor because all woods, finishes, and applications are different. Also be sure and test any method on a small, inconspicuous place before jumping to doing the whole floor. But once you get the go ahead from your supplier and/or your own tests, two of the most popular cleaners are tea or vinegar.

Just mix a weak vinegar mixture (one-half cup of white distilled vinegar to one gallon of cold water) or brew a weak tea (two or three tea bags to a gallon of water), allowing it to steep for about five minutes. Then just rub either on with a damp cloth or mop and dry as you go along.

With these cleaning components and a little elbow grease, you will see luster and shine return in seconds, and you can literally breathe easier.