Saturday, March 17, 2012

How I Clean My Hardwood Floors

Anyone that's been to our house knows that we have hardwood floors on both of the main levels of our house. They do seem like a lot of work sometimes, but I feel that they are so much easier to get truly clean than carpet and I am very happy that we have them.

I've tried a LOT of cleaning products over the years with varying degrees of success, and three years later I've finally narrowed down my floor-care routine into something cost-effective, time-effective, and manageable. And most especially, healthy and safe for the pup and the kiddos.

1) Sweep - Just a regular broom and dustpan here, folks. Between the dog and kid and husband, a lot of dirt and leaves get tracked in (I guess I might track in a little bit too), so I have to sweep the high-traffic areas at least once a day. The kitchen gets swept multiple times a day sometimes, especially if Anna has decided it's fun to see how far her dinner can be tossed. Sweeping is by far the most important component of keeping your floors in good shape - all that grit and dirt acts just like sandpaper to your floors, so sweep it up!

2) Rubbermaid Reveal Mop - I bought this mop on the recommendation of a friend and I seriously love it. It uses washable microfiber mop pads, and you can fill the spray bottle with any cleaning solution that you like. I use a vinegar and water mix (1/4 - 1/2 cup vinegar per gallon of warm water) but I have also tried the Bona floor cleaner and that stuff is awesome too, it's just more expensive than the water and vinegar. The kitchen gets mopped pretty much every day, and the rest of the floors get mopped once a week.

3) Eureka Enviro Steam Cleaner - you want to make sure your hardwood floors are sealed before you use a steam cleaner, but if they are, this is a great way to deep-clean your floors, especially without chemicals or without having to get on your knees and scrub. I wasn't in love with this steam cleaner when I was trying to use it on a really frequent basis, because it's bulky and it takes a while to warm up, and the cord needs to be longer. But now that I'm only using it once a month-ish, it's really great. I bought this one vs. the Shark based on the reviews on Amazon but I've heard good things about the Shark too so you probably really can't go wrong with either one. Spraying the floor lightly with the vinegar and water solution right before steaming it also helps give it a cleaning boost.

 4) Swiffer - generally, I am not a big fan of the Swiffer products. I feel like the refills are expensive and I don't really think they do that great of a job...I much prefer microfiber cloths or even my old cut-up t-shirt cloths. That being said, the Swiffer is nice for the very low-traffic rooms like the sitting room and the dining room floors that need just a quick dust. Once my box of Swiffer pads is gone, I plan to use microfiber pads instead of buying more refills. Also, on a side note, you can find some very cool reusable Swiffer pads on etsy, or my craftier readers could probably make their own!

This floor care routine has made it easier to keep the floors clean on a daily basis, as the broom and the Reveal mop are SO easy and quick to pull out of the closet. Not having to deal with a bucket, or a gross sponge mop, or having to get down on my hands and knees to feel like I'm getting a good clean really goes a long way in helping me stay on top of the cleaning and to have a much better attitude about caring for my floors. And having a good attitude is half the battle with cleaning, right?!

If you have hardwood floors, what are your favorite cleaning methods or products? I'm always curious to know how other hardwood owners care for theirs!

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