Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the best thing to clean hardwood floors with?
    I need something that will clean my hardwood floors without leaving a nasty streaky look!! Any suggestions??

    • ANSWER:
      I use Apple Cider Vinegar and water. Mix the two in any ratio you want. Then mop and scrub with this mixture. Don’t over-saturate the mop…you want damp, but not dripping wet.

      Apple Cider Vinegar contains tannins, which condition the wood while it cleans. It makes hardwood floors absolutely glow. Plus it’s non-toxic and can be used as often as you like.

      Once in a while I also add a couple teaspoons of Lemon Oil to the mixture…but you could use just about any Essential Oil. If you do add oil, stir the mixture often to keep the oil mixed.

      I used to use Murphy’s Oil soap, but it left a dull residue, so I switched to this method after hearing about on HGTV.

      You might consider using a Microfiber mop, too. Microfiber + apple cider vinegar will get rid of those streaks you’ve been getting. You can buy microfiber mops just about anywhere…Target, Walmart, Home Depot, even Dollar General.

      Good luck.


    What is the way to clean a hardwood floor?
    I have distressed,low gloss,oak floors that were recently put in throughout the house,and I can’t seem to find anything that will clean them without leaving streaks where I have mopped. It looks like there is a cloudy film over the floors. This is not a laminate floor. It is suppose to look distressed,but there is no gloss at all to them now. I need some help.

    • ANSWER:
      most floor cleaners need to be rinsed from hard wood flooring.

      (put a cup of vinegar in a gallon of hot water for rinse)make sure mop is clean
      and then when dry, to restore luster, it must be buffed (like shining shoes)

      my mom struggled to keep their old oak wood floor nice so my dad stripped it and refinished it and then put gymnasium floor sealer on it. It looked great and was easier to clean.

      If you do use a sealer, be sure to read cleaning instructions on the package.

    I have just bought two new parakeets.Can you help with names & information please?
    I bought two parakeets this weekend. One is mostly white, the other is mostly blue with streaks of black & white. I would believe they are still to young to tell their sex from what i have already read. I would like a few ideas for names that could fit for either sex. Also, I would deeply appreciate any information regarding websites that can educate me a little more on my new additions to my family.Thank you for all your answers.

    • ANSWER:
      How about Pinto and Ivory?

      Parakeets Are Easy to Care For if You Follow These Tips

      Parakeets make for fun and entertaining pets, without requiring a lot of maintenance or cost. Given the proper care, parakeets can live as long as 10 to 14 years–nearly as long as cats and dogs. The folowing ten tips will give you the information you need to raise happy, healthy birds!
      1. Parakeets Like Company

      If you have a single bird, a mirror is practically a must. A lone parakeet will enjoy your company, but a mirror helps them feel less alone when you are not around. You can also buy bird stand-ins from pet stores to give your keet company, but that seems rather silly to me. Consider getting a second bird for ideal level of companionship for your parakeet. However, you may want to keep multiple birds separate when they are young so they will learn to bond with humans rather than just other birds.
      2. Be Sure to Vary the Food

      Plain old bird seed gets old fast. Pet stores and most supermarkets sell a range of birdie treats, from clip-on treat sticks to millet sprays to birdie biscuits. You can also give your birds small pieces of fruit as a special treat.
      3. Parakeets Love Toys

      Parakeets are playful creatures. And there are many toy options you can get for your bird, from rings to swings to bells and beads. Parakeets are drawn to shiny things, things that make noise, and objects they can move around with their beaks or feet. Just take care that any toy you give your parakeet does not have small parts which can come off and become a choking hazard. Don’t over-clutter the cage, either, but rotate through several different toys for variety.
      4. Earn Their Trust

      With parakeets, trust may take months to build. They will likely be very shy when you first bring them home, but their personalities will emerge within a few weeks. Build trust by placing your finger in front of your bird. Do this every day until it gets the courage to hop on. After a few days of this, try coaxing your bird by gently nudging your finger against its lower chest. With patience, you will build trust in this way. Do not worry if your bird is slow to trust you. Eventually it will be climbing all over you. Just remember the next tip:
      5. Never Grab Your Parakeet

      To a small bird, few things are more terrifying than an open hand reaching in and grabbing it against its will. Trust between bird and human can evaporate quickly if you grab the little guy. Your parakeet might frustrate you in the beginning by refusing to sit on your finger. But resist the urge to grap. I’ve found it very helpful to buy a cage with a top that detaches–this allows you to easily let your birds out without grabbing and pulling them through the cage door.
      6. Parakeets Love to Sing

      In fact they can be quite loud! They will chirp, sing, and squawk on their own, but they love to sing along to music or even your own singing. If you’re not vocally-gifted, try playing some music near your birds and see how they react. If you are away all day, consider leaving the radio on for them at a moderate volume.
      7. Make Sure They Get Exercise

      There is only so much exercise your parakeet can get inside of its cage. It should be taken out regularly to run and fly around. Rooms with hardwood or linoleum floors afford the easiest clean-up. Be sure all doors and windows are shut and curtains closed (birds may fly into windows and injure themselves).
      8. Keep a Clean Cage

      Parakeet droppings come along at an impressive rate–once every 12 minutes, give or take. I find that taking the cage outside and spraying it down with the hose is the easiest way to get it clean–remove any perches and toys first, of course. Then make sure each perch is scrubbed free of droppings. A clean environment means healthy birds.
      9. Get the Right Perches

      Cages usually come with a couple boring perches. These should be replaced because they don’t meet your bird’s needs. Bird feet don’t get a proper work-out unless perches vary in diameter. You can buy natural tree branch perches or plastic perches that have fat and thin spots. Perches with a sandpaper finish are also good for parakeets.
      10. Keep Your Parakeets in a Bird-Safe Area

      Parakeets don’t fare well as temperatures drop below 70 degrees. It is very important to keep their cage away from drafts, either from a window or an air conditioner. Also, the kitchen is not a good place to keep your birds–cleaners and cooking fumes are not good for them, and be sure not to place their cage on top of the refrigerator as the vibrations will disturb them.

    I have Bruce harwood floors. I haven’t found anything to clean & shine?
    them without streaks. Can anyone help?

    • ANSWER:
      I use Future Acrylic Floor Finish for no wax and regular floors; for all of my hardwood floors; (I have different types in different rooms) It isn’t very expensive and it works great. You can also get the generic DG brand at they dollar general stores for about .50 and it works just as well. They both leave the floor looking clean and bright and gives them the wet look mirror finish. Best of all no streaks and easy to maintain.

    I have prefinished hardwood floors and cannot find a good mop to clean them without leaving streaks. advice?
    I have tried Swiffer wet, left streaks. I’ve tried the OrangeGlo cleaning system, works but still streaks and builds up after a while. I’ve been using Murphy’s hardwood floor cleaner, and it works if you constantly rinse the mop pad out. Works really well if you do it by hand with a damp cloth to wipe away the cleaner but with 1100 sq ft of hardwood and 200 sq ft of ceramic tile, I don’t have time to do that every week. I was wondering if I could use a hardwood floor steamvac/cleaner even though my floors, while they are prefinished and each plank is sealed, they don’t have that thick polyurathane coat they would have if we finished them ourselves. In other words, they have grooves between the planks. Are they still considered “sealed” enough to use a steamvac?

    • ANSWER:
      1/2 cup distilled white vinegar to a gallon of warm water. Use a sponge mop that you rinse out and blot on a towel before putting on your floors so that you don’t swell the joints of the floor.
      the vinegar won’t leave a residue and will remove residue from your previous cleaners. That way you can use your orange glo or whatever was working, and use the vinegar once in a while to remove build up. It won’t damage your floors either.

    Steam mop leaving floors streaky?
    I purchased a steam mop (It’s the shark steam mop) and It leaves all my floors very streaky and cloudy looking. I have hardwood with a nice shine on them and the steam mop makes them so cloudy looking!! It also streaks my laminate tiles too!! Why is it doing this??

    • ANSWER:
      you need to be aware that when cleaning wood floors or tile floors you are cleaning the seal on the top of the surfaces. This seal is plastic (polyurethane) and is sensitive to heated water which softens it. Ammonia and soaps will also soften the finish thus producing streaking. The best and most efficient cleaner we have found for wood floors is the BONA mop system. its product is specifically designed to clean the poly seal without streaking. We were devotees for years of the old wringer mop and rinse system until we switched happily to a better system. Bona has a tile cleaner that works equally well. try it, you will love it…(and no i don’t work for BONA).

    for all you moms with children with asthma, can u share some cleaning recipes for kitchen floors and sinks…?
    my two boys have asthma and i dont feel comfortable using diluted bleach to clean the house, even when theyre not around…is there any safer alternatives i can use that give good results like bleach?

    • ANSWER:
      I have asthma and I use a vinegar/water solution to clean my floors. Works great on vinyl, hardwoods, and tile. It doesn’t streak and evaporates without leaving any caustic odors in the house.

      I mix vinegar 3:1 with water. So, for every cup of water I add (3) cups of vinegar. This is great on windows too…

    Am I liable for damage to the wood floor in my rental house?
    There are a lot of issues with my housing situation, but I’ll try to keep it to the topic of the hardwood floors.

    First, back to when I first saw the place. The owner lives in the house, too, and rents out different rooms. The shared kitchen has wood floors and it was pretty apparent that the finish was trashed. The homeowner told me pretty clearly that there had been previous renters that she did not share the place with and they had been the ones to cause all the damage. She also stated that those people had paid for the damage, but she hadn’t gotten around to actually having the work done.

    At the same time, the floors in my private part of the house were in better shape. The wood is of a different type (red oak, Swedish finish; kitchen floors are darker and rougher). These floors still weren’t freshly finished and there were some obvious dark spots.

    I’ve now been here for 1.5 years. The kitchen floor has never been mentioned again and was never refinished or treated in any way. The homeowner simply pocketed the money and everyone in the house had no choice but continue to add wear and tear to the unprotected wood. It also became clear that not one tenant has left this house without being accused of excessive damage to some part of the floor or another. A girl rented one room for less than a year and was a total neat-freak. Even she was told the damage she caused exceeded her 0 deposit.

    Now, I want to move and I know there actually is significant damage to the floors in my rooms, beyond the spots that were there when I moved in. The question is, how much of it am I really responsible for? Two spots were caused by cats (not just my cat lived here, so I don’t know which did it), but others were caused by water that was spilled and cleaned in reasonable time. Another stain has streaks in a strange, artificial shade of green; I have no idea what caused that. The big stains are all under heavy furniture where I rarely, if ever, saw in bright light. It’s only now that I’m considering moving and getting rid of things that I can see there are various levels of discoloration all over.

    It seems like I shouldn’t have to pay for the entire job of refinishing these floors since I never moved in to a fresh finish and to actually change color in less than two years seems bizarre (I’ve lived in houses with wood floors before, I’ve never seen anything like this). I also feel annoyed at the idea of handing my less-than-stellar landlady/roommate a lot of my cash for a job that may likely never be completed. So, what do I do? Do I suck it up and pay a LOT of money for 360sq-ft of refinishing, or do I try to pay her what I feel my % of the cost should be? Or do I do what I’d like to, which is tell her to bite me.

    The floors seem really sensitive (especially considering the wood and finish types are supposed to be really durable), everyone is told they have to pay when they leave, and repairs are never made even when they’re paid for. I really am leaning toward the last plan, but I need to know how my chances if she actually tries to sue over it.

    I doubt it makes a difference, but the owner lives in the remodeled attic, illegally, and she got kitchen linoleum floors and it’s always a terrible mess. Her treatment of her own house is nearly opposite of how she demands her tenants treat it. Easy to stop caring when the landlady clearly doesn’t care.
    I live in the state of Oregon.

    Previous tenants who rented the house as a whole paid for the kitchen floor, since then she’s just claimed every scratch, ding, or mark on the floor is reason to charge for refinishing.

    Any other situation, I would find a way to pay, no questions asked. There is damage to the floor above and beyond normal wear and tear. But, the combo of never actually repairing damages and seeking damages from every roommate has me suspicious. That the floors have worn worse than any I’ve ever seen adds to my suspicions that these floors are low quality or were poorly finished to begin with. I don’t want to accuse her of knowingly doing it, but it’s nearly a money trap.
    Pardon, since then she’s just claimed every scratch, ding, or mark on the floor *in our private areas* is reason to charge for refinishing.

    • ANSWER:
      Yes, you are liable for refinishing and possible replacing of some of the wood. The wood your cat pissed on needs to be replaced and possibly the green wood. Green stains can be caused by anything dyed red or by exposure to copper, from say, a planter. I can’t think of anything else that would stain the wood.

      Refinishing that small an area will not cost that much.

      I would sue you over ruining my floors, but I can’t say about her. I would win. But it does not sound like she would be as upset as me, and I do have several homes with wood floors and have cried over them, literally. It honestly sounds like she won’t care.

    what is best to use to clean and get a nice shine on my hardwood floor?
    We had glue down, floating floor put down a few months ago. It is a beautiful floor but not as shiny as I would like. I recently tried using Orange glo on it after a friend suggested it. Well the orange glo looked great after the first use, but after the 2nd use I could see a milky build up that was so ugly! Looked online and found out that plain old windex would take that off. Now back to my original issue , how can I clean and shine the floow without that ugly milky buildup? What products are best and wont leave streaks?
    These are real wood, not laminate, but listed as “commercial grade” if that makes any difference.

    • ANSWER:
      Mix a 1 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar into a bucket of water. Then mop using this mixture.

      Don’t over-saturate the mop, tho.

      The Vinegar should also cut through the milky build up.


    Damn floors – how do you wash hardwood without leaving white strokes and smears?
    I’m at wit’s end with building management coming. My cat has been sick and the smell permeates everything. Or my neighbour’s snout is like a hound dog. I’ll be tossed in the street if I can’t get these floors clean. I use bleach to wash with string mop. Then a damp mop to go over the floors and it still streaks. I constantly use clean water.

    Why do I have to suffer at the hands of housework. Help kind people.
    orange glo – hmm, better sweep and run to store – i was thinking moth balls

    • ANSWER:
      I clean my floors with a sponge mop with very little water. Barely even damped. Then I use orange glo. You just squirt a little on the floor and take your barely damped mop and clean them. You should not use bleach and water on the hardwood. My floors are nearly 75 yrs old and still going strong. I had them refinished about 3 yrs ago and the still look good.

      Oh and for the smell…you should really get some plug in air fresheners….

how to clean hardwood floors without leaving streaks