Frequently Asked Questions

  1. QUESTION:
    Best way to clean hardwood floors?
    What is the best way to clean hardwood floors? It seems I have tried everything and there is always a film left over the floors taking away the shine. My floors are original bamboo floors. Thank you.

    • ANSWER:
      Most wood floors can be kept clean by first sweeping or vacuuming with a floor nozzle to remove most of the surface dust and dirt, then damp mopping with clear water (dip a sponge in clear water, squeezing it out so that the mop is barely damp, almost dry). Use very little water and rinse your mop thoroughly after each use since excess water can dissolve protective coatings, alter the color of the wood and raise the grain to roughen the surface.

      If your floors are not dirty enough to need mopping every week, then you should not do it, as it will wear the floors faster, not to mention waste your time. Simply sweeping is often all they need.

      If need to restore the shine to your wood floor after you get it clean, try damp mopping it with 1/2 cup vinegar and 2 tablespoons furniture polish in a gallon of warm water. Vinegar is also useful for removing any soap residue or build-up, but should not be necessary every week.:)

  2. QUESTION:
    What is the best way to clean hardwood floors?
    Whats the best way to clean hardwood floors? What commercial or natural product do you use?I think I used to use vinegar and water, is that good? What are your methods, whats the best way to remove grease from hardwood floors? Do those steam cleaners work well? If so what brand do you recommend?

    • ANSWER:
      My entire house is is hardwood floors and I am well…. NUTS! when it comes to things being clean and shiny!!
      I have used most of the stuff out on the market. Do not use the Swifter wet stuff it just leaves a film and the steam cleaners really just pushes the dirt around at least that is what I have found. The best method vinegar and water and a good clean sponge head mop. The true method to bringing out the shine is to wipe the floors dry, I have a bunch of old towels that I just throw on the floor and with my two feet and sometimes hands buff the floors dry. I have a very light wood in my home and when the sun streams through the glass doors off the back of my house you see a brilliant shine. Best of luck

  3. QUESTION:
    What’s a sure way to clean AND shine hardwood floors?
    With two kids and a dog our hardwood floors are looking somewhat dull. When I use any of the commercial hardwood cleaners they seem to make it even duller. Vinegar is a great cleaner but does nothing for the shine.

    Does anyone have a great recipe to clean AND shine hardwood floors?

    • ANSWER:
      If they’re real hardwood floors, it’s the finish (most often polyurethane) that makes them shine. Cleaning with vinegar is great but, you’re right, it won’t shine them. If they were shiny at one point, you’ll need to reapply the semi or high gloss finish. Products like Pledge, Murphy’s Oil or other waxy cleaners will not give you the results you’re looking for. It will make them appear dull. (and actually trap dirt.)

  4. QUESTION:
    What is the best product to use to clean hardwood floors?
    I have hardwood floors throughout my house. My dog has started having accidents due to his age. What do I use to clean them that will not destroy the poly/shine finish?

    • ANSWER:
      One cup of vinegar to a gallon of warm water is the safest and best way to clean your hardwood floors. The vinegar will also neutralize the urine.
      Murphy’s Oil Soap is to be avoided as it does nothing to neutralize the dog urine and leaves a residue that may make a buff and recoat impossible in the future.
      Having been the owner of an older dog (Boxer) I have been through this too, hardwood is infinitely easier to clean than carpeting for accidents.^

  5. QUESTION:
    How do I clean and shine hardwood floors?
    I live in a house built in 1945. I have taken the carpet up and am using the original hardwood flooring. It will be sometime before I am able to sand and re-finish these floors. Anyone have suggestions on how to properly clean the floors and make them shine nice? The floors were finished at one time but it has a lot of wear and tear so the finish isn’t on the entire floor.

    • ANSWER:
      Hardwood floors are one of the easiest flooring types to keep clean.
      The quickest and most effective way to clean hardwood floors is with a damp mop. Before mopping, make sure that you have removed all surface dust from the floor. This can be done with a soft broom or lightweight vacuum cleaner. Then, simply mop, rinse and repeat. It is important to remove grit and dirt
      Refinishing a hardwood floor can be a challenging project for the do-it-yourselfer. The number one item on your tool list for this job is patience. The job requires lots of sanding with heavy tools. The sanders create lots of dust. Take heart though, your hard work will be rewarded with a beautiful “new” floor

  6. QUESTION:
    What is the best cleaner for hardwood floors?

    I have hardwood floors throughout my house and I would like your opinions on what the best hardwood floor cleaner is and what makes them really shiny. I use orange glo and the shine doesnt last long at all.

    • ANSWER:
      Hi, It is important to regularly remove dirt and debris from your wood floors as it can wear the finish. I usually vacuum with a hard floor brush. If I don’t feel like pulling out the vacuum I use a broom or swifter.

      I damp mop only when it looks like it needs it with only a slightly damp mop rinsing the mop regularly. I just use warm water as we like going barefoot and I like natural products. Do not use ammonia based or oil based soaps as they dull the finish of your floor. Once in a while I use a 1/4 cup vinegar to 1 gallon water. I attach a towel to my swifter and quickly dry mop it if it is cold out and it is not drying quickly.

      It is also good to use preventative maintenance such as felt pads on your furniture. Area rugs should be placed in high traffic area and at entrances to help trap dirt. An area rug placed by your sink helps with water being splashed. Any spills should be wiped up right away. Hope this helps.

      http://www.hardwoodlaminateflooringguide.com/cleaning-hardwood-floors.html

  7. QUESTION:
    How do you clean hardwood floors?
    I am supposed to clean someones house tomorrow that has hardwood floors. Is sweeping sufficient? Or am I supposed to use a cleaner? Not really sure what is expected of me. All the other houses I cleaned had carpet

    • ANSWER:
      Wood Floor Maintenance
      Most wood floors can be kept clean by first sweeping or vacuuming with a floor nozzle to remove most of the surface dust and dirt, then damp mopping with clear water (dip a sponge in clear water, squeezing it out so that the mop is barely damp, almost dry). Use very little water and rinse your mop thoroughly after each use since excess water can dissolve protective coatings, alter the color of the wood and raise the grain to roughen the surface.

      If your floors are not dirty enough to need mopping every week, then you should not do it, as it will wear the floors faster, not to mention waste your time. Simply sweeping is often all they need.

      If need to restore the shine to your wood floor after you get it clean, try damp mopping it with 1/2 cup vinegar and 2 tablespoons furniture polish in a gallon of warm water. Vinegar is also useful for removing any soap residue or build-up, but should not be necessary every week .

  8. QUESTION:
    How to get hardwood floors to shine with in high traffic areas?
    I cleaned floors this past weekend with hardwood floor minwax cleaner. Well, they look awesome other than a couple areas where the traffic is the highest. Still kinda dull in that area. Anything to get the dullness back to shine ?

    • ANSWER:
      If the sheen is gone it’s gone. The only products that could make them shiny are also products that are not good for your floors. The solution is to have the floors buffed and recoated. Then do regular cleaning with bona hardwood floor cleaner.

  9. QUESTION:
    What can I use to keep hardwood floors shining?
    I have the original hardwood floors in my home. (1938) What can I use to keep them shining, I have to mop them about once a week, because of dogs and heavy traffic areas. I have tried Mop and Glow, leaves a dull residue, same with Murphy’s Oil.

    • ANSWER:
      I use BRUCE NO BUFF ACRYLIC FINISH ONE STEP for hardwood. This product cleans and shines in one step, just like it says. Do it on a day when you can have windows open as it does smell. Make sure you vacuum thoroughly. If your floor is really dirty, mop it with vinegar water to remove the heavy dirt. Wear rubber gloves. I use a mop for disposable cloths but use an old, soft cloth. Pour the liquid on your floor and mop. This product becomes very tacky so don’t walk on it until it is completely dry. The shine is brighter than using paste wax and elbow grease. and it lasts a long time. I try to do my hardwood floors twice a year (I have 4 dogs). It also works on woodwork and wood paneling. It’s a bit expensive but it works. For laminate, I use Holloway House for wood floors. It is not as expensive and does not smell but the shine does not last as long as the Bruce product.

  10. QUESTION:
    best way to maintain a shine on hardwood floors?
    I am just wondering if anyone has any suggestions for maintaining or reviving a shine on hardwood floors. I own a cleaning business and I am just now getting into this area of the business. I have tried Orange Glow and Halloway house floor shine….any suggestions would be great!!!!!!!! Thanks in advance.

    • ANSWER:
      Hi I work in hardwood floors, firts you need to find out what kind of finish do you have or your customers each finish need something different to keep the wood floor alive, orange glow and morphys oil in definally NOT a GOOD idea that all

      I will recomendo for you to find out what is the finish that your customers have you can used this web site

      http://www.floorsincalifornia.com check the resources page

      you can find out doing the following test
      Here are some simple steps to help you determine if the finish is a wax finish, shellac or varnish finish or a surface finish. If the floor was installed, or last serviced, before the mid ’60s, you should assume the finish used was varnish or shellac. To determine this, scratch the surface with a coin or other sharp object in a corner or other inconspicuous space. If the finish flakes, it is probably shellac or varnish. Shellac and varnish are rarely used anymore and require full sanding to remove before application of a surface finish or wax finish.

      Next, check the floor for wax finish. In an inconspicuous area, corner or behind a door, apply two(2) drops of water. If, within ten minutes, white spots appear under the drops of water, the floor has a wax finish. To remove the white spots, gently rub the spots with #000 steel wool dampened with wax.

      If the finish does not flake from scratching with a coin and white spots do not appear from the drops of water, the floor has a surface finish and should be maintained accordingly.

      I would recomed if you can’t test the floors that you get
      a cleaner made by Bona and a microfiber mop this is one of the best companie in the world, me as a wood flooring installer I would recomend this if you don’t know what kind of finish do you have, never other product except if you for fact what finish they used before.

      good luck!

  11. QUESTION:
    how can I clean an unfinished hardwood floor?
    I have hardwood floors that aren’t raw(unfinished ) but are really worn and practically unfinished and really dingy,how can I clean them thoroughly and maybe even give them a bit of a shine?And I’ve tried vinegar and Murphy’s Oil Soap.Is vegetable oil ok for a shine?

    • ANSWER:
      you can clean until the cows come home but the shine was in the finish that is not there anymore.Call a flooring guy and ask for a price to screen & coat your hardwood, should be cheaper than sanding & will give you then “shine” you are looking for. Don’t use Murphy’s on hardwood floors<<<

  12. QUESTION:
    What should I use to clean my hardwood floors?
    Ok…I swept the dust and dirt off of my hardwood floors but I need something to make them shine. They look dull. Any suggestions?

    • ANSWER:
      Wood Floor Maintenance
      Most wood floors can be kept clean by first sweeping or vacuuming with a floor nozzle to remove most of the surface dust and dirt, then damp mopping with clear water (dip a sponge in clear water, squeezing it out so that the mop is barely damp, almost dry). Use very little water and rinse your mop thoroughly after each use since excess water can dissolve protective coatings, alter the color of the wood and raise the grain to roughen the surface.

      If your floors are not dirty enough to need mopping every week, then you should not do it, as it will wear the floors faster, not to mention waste your time. Simply sweeping is often all they need.

      If need to restore the shine to your wood floor after you get it clean, try damp mopping it with 1/2 cup vinegar and 2 tablespoons furniture polish in a gallon of warm water. Vinegar is also useful for removing any soap residue or build-up, but should not be necessary every week

  13. QUESTION:
    What is a good product to clean hardwood floors?
    My hardwood floors just got sanded, sealed and finished with semi-gloss polyurethane. What is a good product to use that will not leave a dull, sticky build up on my new floors?
    I want them to stay shiny. Someone told me to use vinegar and water, that just does not seem sanitary. I like to kill germs!

    Please help!

    • ANSWER:
      Most wood floors can be kept clean by first sweeping or vacuuming with a floor nozzle to remove most of the surface dust and dirt, then damp mopping with clear water (dip a sponge in clear water, squeezing it out so that the mop is barely damp, almost dry). Use very little water and rinse your mop thoroughly after each use since excess water can dissolve protective coatings, alter the color of the wood and raise the grain to roughen the surface.

      If your floors are not dirty enough to need mopping every week, then you should not do it, as it will wear the floors faster, not to mention waste your time. Simply sweeping is often all they need.

      If need to restore the shine to your wood floor after you get it clean, try damp mopping it with 1/2 cup vinegar and 2 tablespoons furniture polish in a gallon of warm water. Vinegar is also useful for removing any soap residue or build-up, but should not be necessary every week.:)

  14. QUESTION:
    Does anyone know of a good cleaning solution for washing hardwood floors?
    My hardwood floors have a satin (not glossy) finish. I’ve tried Murphy’s Oil Soap but I don’t like the slippery residue it leaves. I’ve tried the all-purpose natural cleaner of vinegar and water, but the floors appear dull. I want to clean the floors and have a shiny finish.

    • ANSWER:
      To clean hardwood floors with a shine, use tea! Brew one quart of tea, then let it cool and come to room temperature. When it does, dip either a cloth or mop into it, wring it out, then wash with it! There’s NO need to rinse! The Tannic acid in the tea shines wood! Keep the cloth/mop clean between cleaning.

  15. QUESTION:
    What can we do to make our hardwood floors shine again?
    We live in an old apartment in a historic area in a major city and our hardwood floors are looking pretty sorry. We won’t be refinishing them because its an apartment. We’ve tried some basic wood floor cleaners/polisher but none have done anything great and they are all pretty expensive. Before we spend any more trying products, does anyone out there have any good suggestions? The floor space isn’t that much. Thanks!

    • ANSWER:
      it is very likely that being an older area, the floors were finished with varnish, this will typically ‘yellow’ and dull out over time and with exposure to sunlight even through windows. To restore a real shine, you need to add a new topcoat. Decide on the gloss you prefer, semi-gloss or high gloss. Begin with 00 steel wool, or approx 220 grit steel wool.(I prefer the steel wool for this). Lightly buff the floor with the steel wool to completely dull the surface. This will create some very fine particle dust. Once the entire surface is dull, use soft (lint free) cloth rags, dampened with mineral spirits to ‘tack’ clean the dust from the surface. After cleaning and the mineral spirits has dried from the surface, you are ready to renew the topcoat with your choice of gloss in Polyurethane. Brush the Poly onto the floor, following the direction of the flooring boards, doing several at a time end to end. Go back to the end you started, begin several more, working your way to the other end, and continue until floor surface is complete.
      I dont know how big an area you are looking at, but if you have help, the steel wool is about .00, the Polyurethane is approx .00 per Gallon (gallon covers about 250 sq feet)
      and a good quality brush about .00, the mineral spirits about .00 per gallon(1 gal. per about 300+ sq feet)
      Add 2 people, a dash of ambition, add one full Saturday, and your floors will look beautiful for about the next 10 years at a total cost of about .00
      All above products are available at any hardware, or big box store.

  16. QUESTION:
    how to clean hardwood floors?
    I have old hardwood floor and after I clean them, they still look dirty, how can I go about cleaning them and making them healthy enough for two small children.

    • ANSWER:
      That dirt may well be just the patina of the floor. As wood ages it takes on a different look from new – the wood becomes more ruddy and the shine is a bit fuzzier. Dark spots appear in various crevices, etc. Antique collectors and lovers of old homes find this to be quite attractive. The only way to get ride of it is to strip. Don’t do that…old floors are beautiful!! If you are using a wood cleaner that contains silicone (like Pledge) your floors will look dull. The more silicone that is added, the duller they will look. Forget about that. Clean them well with a fresh mop and plenty of warm soapy water. Scrub them GOOD! The water will be grey and need to be changed often. After they dry, get another clean mop and a heavy dose of wood oil (a good brand with no added color or citrus) and apply this to the floors with your mop. Buff to a high shine. They will look great. Think about sweeping and polishing wood floors, not mopping them with a harsh liquid.

      Good luck!!

  17. QUESTION:
    I am looking to make my hard wood floors really shine again and wanted to know what I could use?
    Trying to get my hardwood floors to shine again. Do you have any ideas has to what I can use for them to shine like brand new?

    • ANSWER:
      If you’re just cleaning it, the other two have good answers, but it needs a new surface, try a product called “Rejuvenate for floors”. Don’t know how it works exactly, but it’s easy to do and we sell it like crazy at my store.

  18. QUESTION:
    What can I use to make my hardwood floors shine again?
    Last year I sanded them down and applied 4 coats of polyurethane. Now they seem dull and they aren’t as shiny as they use to be. I live alone so there is no extreme foot traffic. What can I use to make them shiny again. I’ve tried every hardwood floor cleaner I can find. they still seem to have a dull residue on them. Is there some sort of wax I can apply to polyurethane? Thanks for all your help!

    • ANSWER:
      try a cup of white vinegar with a galon of warm water and one of those modern terry cloth floor cleaners.

  19. QUESTION:
    How do I restore hardwood floors as a DIY project. What materials do I use?
    I am buying a home with hardwood floors. They don’t seem to be in too bad of shape and I wish to clean and shine them.

    • ANSWER:
      It really depends on their condition. There is an option between a full sanding refinishing and just a regular mop and shine.

      What I did on mine – I rented a sander. Not the big rotary drum sanders the pros use but a vibrating rectangular pad sander. I used one of the finer grit sand papers and went over the entire floor. I then used a tack rag to pick up any dust. I then went over with a quick drying water based polyurethane based floor finish. I applied the finish with a lambswool mop. It dried in about an hour. I was able to sand and apply 3 coats of finish in a day. They looked 100 times better than when I started and it was an easy project to do.

  20. QUESTION:
    What are good cleaning equipment for floors?
    I have been using the Swiffer Wetjet to clean the tile and hardwood floors but it don’t really get the job done. What is the best object to buy that will pickup the dirt, hair, sand, etc.. off the floor and give it a nice shine to it?

    • ANSWER:
      steam cleaners are the best equipment for cleaning tile floors because of perfect cleaning results.

  21. QUESTION:
    What do you put on hard wood floors to keep the shine without them being slippery?
    I would like to know if anyone can recommend something for hardwood floors to give it shine and clean without it being slippery for days after – (almost broke my neck after orange wood oil and I dont really like the smell of Murphys Oil)

    • ANSWER:
      Have the floors recoated. it is a simple process usually takes about an hour and costs about per square foot. then you can choose the shine level, satin, semi gloss, or gloss. This will bring back the shine better than any product and it will add additional protection to the floors.

  22. QUESTION:
    How to clean my hardwood floors?
    I bought my house a year ago. It has beautiful cherry hardwood floors made by Bella. I have tried to upkeep them with several kinds of cleaners.. including murphys oil, some stuff made by orangeglow, and the swifter hardwood floor cleaner and thus far nothing can bring back the original shine. Its splotchy. In some places it is extremely shiny, but in my high traffic areas its dull. Any advice?

    • ANSWER:
      These floors are finished with polyurethane. Poly is a glass like finish and should be treated as such. Don’t put things on the floor that would smear a window like Murphy’s …What you want to do is vacuum. Swiffer dry mop then armed with a spray bottle of straight white vinegar (or windex) and a large faced terry or microfiber mop have at it. Rinse the mop head often and wring it as dry as you can.

      After all the smeary stuff you put on the floor it may take a few times before the shine comes back. DO NOT over wet the floor expecting instantaneous results. Mop in the direction of the grain.

      Buy the white vinegar by the gallon..it’s great to use in the shower too. Just spray it after a shower and it will break down soap scum and mineral deposits. It’s great in the wash too it will soften the water letting the detergent work better and clothing will be cleaner and odor free. It’s great in the kitchen for cleaning counter tops and counters and the fridge. It kills germs, bacteria and mold and does not discolor things. It’s cheap. It’s great on sofas, coats or fabric to freshen the odor without washing. The smell goes away taking any bad odors with it when it dries. (They should pay me for this endorsement)

  23. QUESTION:
    What cleaning products can i use to scrub my hardwood floors?
    My apartment has hardwood floors that I love, but I’m just not sure on how to scrub them as i don’t want to cause them damage. I know about Murphy’s Wood Soap, but is there anything else out there that will work as well?

    • ANSWER:
      Here are some hardwood floor cleaners available, but a neutral cleanser (i.e., neither too low or too high a pH level) and water will do the job just as effectively. The hardwood floor must be properly sealed before any mopping. If there are worn patches, do not use water, as the liquid can penetrate the wood and cause warping. Most hardwood floors are now finished using a surface finish called polyurethane. These floors look glossy and shiny. It looks like a plastic coating over the wood and is extremely hard wearing. Another finish, called penetrating seals, consists of wax or oil finishes that penetrate the wood and protect from within. A little alcohol can also be used to remove stains from clean hardwood floors. Finish off by polishing and buffing. If the stain remains, then sanding down the area may be the only option in order to remove it. Some people also use a floor polish to add a shine to the floors. If wax or polish is used regularly, there may be a problem with adhesion when it comes to recoating the hardwood floors.

  24. QUESTION:
    How do I get the shine back in my hardwood floors?
    We bought our house last year and it has hardwood floors throughout the whole house. I have 2 dogs and a cat and I am constantly sweeping and mopping the floors. I’ve been using Murphy’s oil soap to clean them but now they are really dull and never seem to get completely clean. I just want my floors to shine and look clean after I spend all the time cleaning them. Help!

    • ANSWER:
      Screen them and recoat. You’ve just dulled the finish

  25. QUESTION:
    How do I remove white paint droppings from a hardwood floor?
    I recently just moved in an apartment that has hardwood floors. When they were painting they left a couple of droppings in every room of the house and I’m hoping and praying this is not a hands and knees type of job. But nothing has worked so far bleach, wax, Fabuloso, kitchen cleaner with bleach, NOTHING!!

    Please help my floors have even lost its shine due to the chemicals.

    • ANSWER:
      Nailpolish remover or rubbing alcohol, let it soak a litle, then if it all doesnt dissolve then you can scrape the rest off once it has softened up. The wash the floors with Murphy’s Oil, and use a floor wax after that to restore shine. Good luck, hope this helps.

  26. QUESTION:
    How do I keep my hardwood floor shiny?
    I recently purchased a new home. It has the original hardwood floors. Has been very well kept, and is coated with polyurithane My question is how do I keep that high shine. I have used a couple of differant products, and they are seeming to dull the shine and the floor feels sticky. I would appreciate any suggestions you may have.

    Thanks!

    • ANSWER:
      Here is a great website on tips on how to clean and maintain glossy wood floors

      http://www.wikihow.com/Care-for-Hardwood-Floors

  27. QUESTION:
    How to remove refinisher from hardwood floor?
    I rejuvenated my hardwood floor with a finisher I bought. I put it on with a damp mop. I thought it was just something to bring the shine back to my floor and I could clean it off. But its like a thin coat of varnish and it won’t come off. I want to remove it because it went on blotched and smeary my floor looks awful. How can I remove it and not ruin the finish on my finished hardwood? I have finished hardwood but it has gone dull in places.

    • ANSWER:
      Read the instructions on the product before you use it next time. You’ll have to have the floor stripped and refinished now.

  28. QUESTION:
    What should I use to clean a hardwood floor?
    Is water ok, or should I use a special chemical. It’s just a regular hardwood floor. Thanks!

    • ANSWER:
      I use white vinegar and water, do not use a regular mop as it will leave too much water on the hardwood floor…I use a micro fiber dust mop and wet and wring out the micro fiber put it back on the head of the mop and run it over the floor rinsing the micro fiber as needed, then I use the same dust mop to apply orange glo for hardwood floors, a nice thin coat will really put a shine on the floor…
      Just mix the vinegar and water in a bucket, I use about a half bucket of water and 1/2 cup of vinegar, rinse the micro fiber dust mop head out in the bucket…

  29. QUESTION:
    How can I get streak free shiny hardwood floors?
    I have dark brown “cappuccino” colored engineered floors. There has not been a product that I can find to provide both a streak free clean and a shine. The products that I have used leave a dull residue behind and it doesn’t feel clean. Can anyone suggest a solution that is safe for the floors and provides a streak free shine?
    I’ve tried hot water with a few drops of dish soap, vinegar and hot water, bona floor cleaner, Murphy’s oil soap, Bruce’s hardwood floor cleaner and some other home concoctions…. :(

    • ANSWER:
      Fill a bucket with a water/vinegar solution (half water, half vinegar) and use this to mop the floors. You may have to do this a few times if you are hoping to achieve shine as well. Also, do let the water sit on the floor, make sure it dries quickly.

  30. QUESTION:
    what floor cleaner or dressing do you suggest for old hardwood floors?
    I have old hardwood floors they are in good shape but no finish left and I can not afford to refinish them at this time. What can I use on them to give some life back to them.

    • ANSWER:
      I suggest Bruce’s Hardwood Floor Cleaner. I use it on my hardwood floors and it is excellent. It works great as a cleaner and keeps the shine nice. It is available at Home Depot in the flooring section. I have seen it at other places as well, I just don’t remember where.


how to clean hardwood floors so they shine