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.


    How can I clean my hardwood floors? What are some good cleaners for hardwood floors?
    I just moved into a home with all hardwood floors. What is a safe way to clean them without destroying them. NO harsh chemicals, Can I use bruce hardwood floor cleaner? Ive heard from friends that bruce is no good. What are some good cleaners for hardwood floors?
    house was built in 1969. If that helps Wood is in great condition, I would hate to do it wrong and destroy my new house..

    • ANSWER:
      After some 25 years of cleaning display homes we found the best to use is white vinegar in some warm water. To a bucket of water add one to two cups of white vinegar. Wring the mop almost dry and mop .
      Do not wet wood floors they will warp. A flooring expert told us NEVER use soap of any kind on wood floors including Murphy’s oil soap as it will cause streaks and over time ruin the floors.

    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.

    What’s the best product to use when cleaning hardwood floors?
    I have tried just about everything (including apple cider vinegar) and I haven’t found anything to keep the floors shiny without any residue..
    Murphy’s oil soap leaves a residue.

    • ANSWER:
      What are your floors sealed with? That may be the source of your problem. If you have floors sealed with water-based poly then you’re more likely to have streaks if you don’t use a floor cleaner specially made to clean that finish. If you have a wax or oil-based poly sealant, then you should be able to use any wood floor cleaner and/or mop with a solution of water and white vinegar.

      Have you tried steam cleaners? That may be something to look into….I think you may have a water-based poly topcoat on your floors, which would explain why Murphy’s leaves a haze on them…

    How can I clean high polished floor boards without streaks?
    they are original jarrah (old style) floor boards

    • ANSWER:
      The best product I have found is “Orange Glo Hardwood Floor Cleaner” they also make a restorer that does and excellent job.

    What do YOU use to clean your laminate hardwood floors?
    I’ve tried everything.
    From vinegar and water, to Murphy’s Oil & Soap, to Bona’s cleaning system.
    NOTHING seems to work. I have 3 pets, and my floors will look great for about 10 minutes, and then when someone walks on them you can see their footprints, ALWAYS.

    What is the secret to having floors where you can not see the footprints!?
    Any and all advice is welcome.

    • ANSWER:
      BONA! I love it:

      its my all time fave. its eco and it doesnt streak.. its cleans really well… gets the shine without the slip… wouldnt use anything else… comes on a mop… nothing like the swiffer… thankfully.

    How can I get that darned black top stove clean?
    I have an electric Kenmore cook stove. It is stainless steel siding with a black top. I can’t find a way to keep that top from streaking when I clean it without a great deal of trouble. Is there a product or method out that that makes this an easy job?

    • ANSWER:
      I go over mine with Windex after using the regular old heavy duty cleaner. I also mop my hardwood floors with windex because everything else leaves streaks. REAL windex, too – the cheap alternatives don’t work.

    ok I am getting very frustrated How do I clean my hardwood floors? They always seem cloudy.?
    Ive used minwax squirt and mop, Ive used a very wrung out mop with nothing on it. All the bottles of cleaners say leaves no cloudiness Which one do I trust before I buy the whole store They are prefinished oak aztec cherry in color
    by the way my floors are brand new and beautiful until I cleaned them

    • ANSWER:
      Get rid of the mop. I have 2400 square feet of wood flooring–brand new, too. Do a Google search for a Shmop (short for Shine Mop). It’s bigger than a swiffer, and it comes with several terry cloth covers. You can use plain water, water with vinegar, or water with a drop of Murphy’s Oil Soap. I can clean the whole house in about 15 minutes without streaks, cloudiness or dullness. I use it about 2 or 3 times a week.

      If you already have some cloudiness, go with the water+vinegar first, and then after that, stay with plain water.

    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.

    Condensation streaks on painted walls.. Do they have to be removed a certain way?
    I recently got sick and needed a humidifier in my room. I pointed it a long way away from the wall and cracked the window for ventilation, but it left long streaks on my walls from what I assume was condensation. My bad. :(

    Frankly, my mother is going to murder me if I ruined the paint on the walls. :]

    Is there anyway to remove these streaks safely? Or have I ruined it? I’m too afraid to attempt anything without being advised first…

    • ANSWER:
      Go to your local hardware store and buy a box of TSP and some rubber gloves. Mix 2 gallons of TSP solution per instructions on the box and clean the walls with this solution. Rinse the walls with clean water. Do not get TSP in your eyes. It burns like crazy. Do not let TSP drip onto hardwood floors or, you’ll end up having to wax them.

    can i use a clorox wet jet on hardwood floors?

    • ANSWER:
      I do not know. But I do know that the best way to clean hardwood floors that were installed and finished in place with polyurethane is 1/4 cup of white vinegar to a gallon of warm water. Use a sponge mop that is wrung out and dry behind you with towels for a streak free floor. The vinegar is acidic enough to clean everything without adding a waxy residue to your floor, which so called “hardwood floor cleaners” tend to do. And NEVER wax your hardwood. If you ever go to resand a waxed floor, the flooring contractor will charge you dearly in sandpaper, as the wax clogs it instantly, costing you labor and materials.

    what is the best vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors?

    • ANSWER:
      I truly truly love mine. I have porcelain tile but I’m sure if it works on tile it will work on hardwood. It’s a Bissell Flip Ease. I have 1300 sq. ft. of tile in my downstairs and it vacuums all of it without losing any charge. Then if you want you can flip it over and mop. I suggest changing the pad in between vacuuming and mopping because it’s gets dirty from vacuuming. They are washable though, so you don’t have to continually buy disposable pads.

      I was looking for the best way to care for all that tile and read the reviews for the Flip Ease, that’s the reason I bought it. You can check the reviews. It has a lot of happy customers.I haven’t been sorry I bought it and I tell ya I have a bunch of Swiffer products, Sweep n Mop etc. etc. that I wish I could get the money that I spent buying them back.

      Hints if you do buy one… be sure to change the pads between vacuuming and mopping and be sure you don’t use fabric softener on the pads when you wash them. It will make them less absorbant and may cause streaks as well. Most all of the customer reviews are happy ones and the ones that do have a problem I think have either tried to mop after vacuuming with dirty pads and some I think have washed their cloths in the washer with softener. One reveiw even complained about the dirty water left in the cup….Which is really funny because it doesn’t suck the water back . It doesn’t have a cup for dirty water. I think they have the Bissell Flip It. I got them confused once myself.I can’t vouche for it as for mopping hardwood. I don’t currently have any hardwood. I can however say for certain that it is a wonderfull little hard surface vacuum.

    cleaning laminate/hardwood floors properly?
    I use a spray floor cleaner (for laminate/hardwood) on my laminate floor. In combination with a cheap swiffer type, cloth floor cleaner sweeper (I bought at the dollar store).
    I end up with streaks on the floor alot. Just wondering what is a faster, proper way of cleaning my laminate floor without all the streaks?
    Thanks! :)

    • ANSWER:
      If you switch to a microfiber mop and water, you won’t have streaks anymore.

      Mop with a very damp mop, but not dripping wet.

      And with laminate, steam is not a good idea…it can cause warping.

      You can buy microfiber mops just about anywhere…Target, Walmart, K-mart, hardware stores, Home Depot, and even Dollar General,

      Good luck.


    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.

    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.

    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…

    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….

    House is a complete mess, I’ve given up.?
    I’m 16, I live in a house with my mom and my 6 year old sister. Our house is like un-keepable.. everytime anyone cleans up, there’s just a big mess again. There are so many renovations we have to do: kitchen cabinets, replace our grimey, disgusting, dusty carpets upstairs, sand and polish the hardwood downstairs because that’s disgusting as well.. and we can’t clean up all the crap in our house to start any of it! My mother, given she’s a single mom and works three jobs, is a pig! Our kitchen is a disgusting, dirty mess because of her. I rarely even go in there! My sister is the second offender because she leaves her clothes and toys EVERYWHERE! I’m the ONLY one who tries to clean up once in a while! There’s piles of dirty dishes, food stains, dust, crap everywhere, a ton of old clothes just LYING all around my mother’s bedroom!

    I give up trying to clean it, it makes me want to cry every night when I can barely get around my house. I can’t even invite a friend over! I keep asking my mom to either help clean or hire a house cleaner and she’ll either do just a little bit or tell me that we have to get all the useless crap out of our house because maids don’t clean up people’s stuff lying around.

    If we DID hire house cleaners, could they do the job? I don’t know what to do anymore it’s just depressing.

    • ANSWER:
      Put On Some Music.
      Pare Down and Organize .Toss or donate everything that you don’t need or love. Find a place for everything that’s left, so it’ll be easier to clean up.
      Clean a little bit every day, and you just may have the magic formula for a cleaner, stress-free living environment.
      Focus on one room at a time to make housework more manageable. Plan room by room cleaning for the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and living room so you’re not overwhelmed with a major cleaning project.
      Try dusting cloth lampshades with a lint roller. It works quickly and effectively without the hassle of a vacuum. Slip an old unmatched sock on your hand and dust as you go.
      Use old newspapers to clean mirrors and windows. You’ll have a great disposable cleaning rag and be recycling at the same time.Vinegar is an inexpensive easy cleaner that can be used on windows and mirrors.To prevent streaking and extra rubbing, wait for an overcast day to clean your mirrors and windows.
      Make each person responsible for washing, drying, and putting away their own clothing. Write and post some basic instructions in the laundry room.
      When you begin cooking, run a sink of hot soapy water, and wash as you go. Food on dishes won’t have a chance to harden, and you’ll be that much ahead when the meal is done.
      While the dishes are soaking, go through the kitchen clearing out trash from your floor, countertop, cupboards, etc.
      Move on to gathering all the items that do not belong in the kitchen. Put all these items into a basket.
      Wash down your counter-top, appliances, and sink.
      Sweep and mop, or vacuum.
      Take out the trash

      I can understand your frustration but you need to understand your mom too. She must be exhausted after work and hence she cannot clean the house by herself. You could help by doing some simple task such as doing the laundry, washing the dishes or vacuuming the house. I know that you are still young and probably you got your homework too but it would boost her moral to see you supporting her.And I can assure you that those house chores do not take a lot of time to be done if you are motivated. Try to ask someone ( a friend or a cousin) to help you. You could give the friend something in exchange for thanking him/her.

      P.S: I can completely understand your situation cause I have been there. I had my share of house chores to do in my early teens. Both my parents were working and I was the eldest child so it was tough for me. Good luck to you.

how to clean hardwood floors without streaks