Best Way to Sanitize Wood Floors



Maintaining a wood floor can be a challenge. It takes your time, effort and attention to a few details.

It also means having to use the correct cleaner, and there are many available on the market.

Each of these cleaners has its pros and cons, but which one can sanitize wood floors the best?

Before You Start Cleaning

Before cleaning your hardwood floor, it’s necessary to know how it has been finished. This helps you to determine the cleaner to apply. Most floors are:

  • Pre-finished
  • Unfinished
  • Finished with sealers
  • Finished with urethane coating

Floors finished with urethane, polyurethane, or poly acrylic coating are the easiest to maintain because they are water and stain resistant.

If you have finished flooring with a sealer like shellac or lacquer, it’s not likely to be as durable as one with a urethane coating. The situation is the same with a pre-finished floor. Such floors shouldn’t come into direct contact with water, but cleaned meticulously with a wood floor cleaner.

Sanitizing Wood Flooring

Start Cleaning

To start cleaning, you will need:

  • A dust or steam mop
  • A broom
  • A dustpan
  • A spray bottle
  • A cleaner

Always do a thorough sweep before attempting to clean with any type of cleaning product. This ensures that there won’t be any loose dirt that gets caught in the mop, scratching the floor and leaving scuff marks.

If you’re using a steam mop, set it up according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Fill your spray bottle with your desired cleaner and spray each section of the floor.

Mop each section, working towards the edge of the floor until each has been cleaned. Remember not to wet it with water, especially if it’s pre-finished, unfinished or sealed. Buff the floor with a dry cloth.

The cleaning method for wood floors is largely the same. The success of your cleaning attempt will lie in the type of cleaner you use. Those with a formula specific to cleaning hardwood floors are:

  • Method
  • Pledge
  • Bona

Method and Bona tend to be expensive and clean thoroughly. Method, though, loses out to Bona in terms of being able to restore the shine to your floor.

Pledge restores shine and strips off buildup. It’s also less expensive than other cleaners.

Oil soaps, like castile or Murphy Oil soap, are easily available and do not harm your floor. As with all soaps, they tend to leave build up.

If there’s one thing you’ll have to remember about chemical cleaners, it’s that they can provoke allergic reactions. Pledge, in particular, is toxic and not suitable to use if you or your family members have sensitive skin.

In cases such as this, you might want to opt for a more natural sanitization method involving natural cleaners such as:

White vinegar is a versatile cleaner that can be used all around the house. It cleans well. Though it can be used on its own, it’s easily mixed with olive oil and lemon.

Lemon is a wonderful cleaner. It is easily available and inexpensive.

The key to using lemon and vinegar is to remember moderation. They contain acid and may cause damage over time.

Olive oil is a good cleaner, but will leave the floor slippery if not buffed properly.

If your objective is to clean and stain your hardwood floor, use tea, which contains tannic acid. This will react with your wood floor, darken it and give it a beautiful shine. Note that cleaning with tea is not suitable for urethane finished flooring, which are stain resistant.

With each cleaner having its own pros and cons, the most effective way to sanitize your wood floor depends on your needs, preferences, and flooring type.



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