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How To Clean Old Hardwood Floors

Old hardwood floors are hard and durable, as they are great. But as they age, they can begin to lose their attractiveness, especially without proper maintenance and care. Nevertheless, you can still restore them to their former glory with little effort. 

This is done by scraping off materials such as wax deposits, grime, dried paint, and pieces of carpet that may have covered the floor. Also, the stains can be removed with the use of a hardwood cleaner or mineral spirit.

 Meanwhile, hydrogen peroxide is used to remove the strong odors from pets such as cats and dogs. Furthermore, filter and polish the old floor if required, and avoid sanding unless necessary. After repairing your old floor, keep it tidy regularly to maintain its excellent shape.

5 Ways To Clean Old Hardwood Floors

Below are five ways employed to clean old hardwood floors:

i. Make sure to sweep the floors daily.

Never neglect the essence of sweeping every day. Your modest broom can eliminate most of the minor cleaning issues as soon as they start before they take shape and become real problems. Sands, dust, dirt, pet hair, and other debris accumulate quickly if they’re left unchecked. Therefore your old hardwood floors require daily cleaning. 

Ensure you give each room with hardwood floors a methodical cleaning every day. Endeavor to always sweep from one side to the other to eliminate the dirt. Also, a dry mop can be used in place of a broom. 

Furthermore, foxtail can be used to get into cracks and crevices. Careful attention should be paid to the flooring around the molding or wainscoting, as these are the main places for hair and dirt to accumulate. Use foxtails to sweep the debris into the vacuum cleaner.

ii. Vacuum hardwood floors weekly

Even though sweeping is an excellent first step, you will still have to deal with dirt that the broom cannot remove. Dust and dirt can accumulate in the pores of the wood. To remove this type of dirt, you need something stronger than a broom. This is where your vacuum comes into play. The vacuum is exactly what you need for effective cleaning weekly.

However, ensure your vacuum does not have a beater bar attachment. Although the beater bar is great for carpets, it can cause dents on wooden surfaces.

 A soft brush is also ideal when you need to know how to clean worn out hardwood floors thoroughly. The vacuum should be run across the floor. Also, pay special attention to areas that the broom and foxtail cannot touch.

iii. Treat your wood floors with vinegar

If there are spills and stains, such as cat feces, urine, or other unpleasant things on your hardwood floors, a cleaner is needed to deal with the mess without damaging your floor covering. Vinegar is what comes recommended in such situations.

The natural cleaning power of white vinegar will eat away at spills on the surface of the floor without damaging the sealant or the underlying wood. Also, clean your floors with vinegar when needed.

iv. Use a commercial hardwood floor cleaner

If you come across stains that the vinegar can’t remove, then switching to a hardwood floor cleaner is your best shot. You can purchase commercial cleaners like “Bona” at home improvement stores like Home Depot. Commercial floor cleaners are suitable for finished wood. They are effective at buffing hardwood floors and cleaning up almost any clutter.

Try using a floor cleaner every month to make sure your floors stay clean and in excellent condition. All furniture should be removed from the floor before cleaning it with a hard wood cleaner. Sweep the floor and wet mop it using a floor cleaner.

v. Make use of boiling water and two teabags to clean hardwood floors.

Boiling water and two tea bags can be used to clean old hardwood floors. The tannic acid in tea can produce a beautiful glow on the floor. Allow two tea bags to soak in boiling water for a few minutes. Add the tea into a bucket.

 Take a soft towel and wring it out in the tea. The fabric just needs to be moist, not soaked. As a result, the floor will dry quickly. After that, wash the floor, and you will be surprised by the total transformation.

5 Ways to Avoid Major Damage on Hardwood Floor

  • Pay attention to wet or sticky dirt. If you don’t tackle it, they won’t go away on their own.
  • Be careful not to flood the area. Standing water and excessively wet mop shed moisture between the planks and through small cracks in the coating that occur as the wood shrinks and expands over time. Over an extended period, water can damage the wooden floor.
  • Ensure you do not place heavy equipment on your hardwood floors. You can cause damage to the finish by attacking with a garage broom or floor cleaning machine designed for harder floors.
  • Make sure you don’t apply fake cleaning agents on old hardwood floors. According to experts, Murphy Oil Soap leaves a residue on polyurethane. And paste wax just makes it slippery. Furthermore, acrylic polishes can dull polyurethane.
  • Don’t ever use a steamer to clean on the wood surface. Instead, you can use it for vinyl flooring, tile, and linoleum.

7 Steps to Recoating Wood Floors

The seven steps mentioned below will help you to recoat your old wooden floor.

i. Ensure you empty the room

You must empty the room first. Don’t try to think that you can complete this project by having your furniture moved around in the area of work. Your room has to be empty. 

ii. Make any needed repairs.

It is this period you countersink and fill exposed nail heads. Also, you plug up holes from old television or telephone lines or use a wood stain or stain marker to touch up deep scratches.

iii. Clean the floor

All contaminants on the existing surface must first be removed so it can adhere to an existing finish. Some common contaminants include; grease, dust, soap film, cleaning residues, dust oils or aerosols, furniture, or varnish for floor and wax. Additionally, avoid using soapy water or homemade recipes to clean. 

Strong chemicals can have the surface of the floor damaged while soap usually leaves a residue. Furthermore, excess water or moisture causes the wood to swell. Instead, you should apply a commercial cleaner made for hardwood to dissolve the dirt without dissolving the existing surface. Then scrape off the coating with your fingernail to see if the surface is completely clean.

iv. Allow the floor to dry

After you clean the hardwood, use a soft and dry cloth to wipe the floor. Then wait for some time so the remaining hard floor cleaner can evaporate before moving to the next step. You can switch on a fan to blow air through the floor to help it dry faster.

v. Gently scuff the old finish.

Note that neither oil-based nor water-based coatings can create a chemical bond with a previous coat of finish. A mechanical bond between the two layers should be made by adding thousands of small scratches to the existing coating.

With the use of a large synthetic pad and a floor polisher, a hand polisher with a synthetic pad, or a palm or orbital sander with 180 grit sandpaper, gently scuff the existing coating surface.

vi. Vacuum the dust

Remove the dust created by abrasion through the use of soft bristle attachment on a vacuum. Make sure you don’t sweep the floor, as a broom or mop pushes the sand in the gaps between the planks.

vii. Apply your chosen finish 

The selection of the right coating is crucial. However, irrespective of the type of coating you apply, keep in mind that there is a distinction between curing time and drying time. The finish may dry in minutes, but will not reach its maximum hardness until it has had time to harden. This usually happens after about a week.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to remove sticky residue from old wooden floors?

A bottle of white vinegar and warm water is all you need to get started. Just pour a glass of vinegar into a gallon of water. Clean and remove debris from the area before you wipe. A sponge or cotton mop can clean most hardwood floors safely.

Can you restain hardwood floors without sanding?

The best way to restain wooden floors without sanding is to apply a technique called screen and recoat. In this technique, you scuff up the finish with a floor buffer and apply a refresher finish.

Final Wraps

Ensuring your old hardwood floor is not flooded with water and moisture will keep it in top condition. However, keeping your floor clean is also a priority. When it’s time to clean and shine your old hard floor, it’s recommended you use home remedies like lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, olive oil, and lemongrass. 

Also, it’s required you use a very damp cloth. So if you accidentally pour a large amount of water on your floor, soak it quickly with towels to avoid staining and damaging the wood.