Dear Home Ec 101:
Any helpful hints on cleaning wood floors? I can get them clean and I can get them shiny, but not at the same time without doing two rounds. First with water/vinegar, then going over it with Orange Glo wood floor cleaner. But who has time for that?
And another thing about my wood floors:
Its been cold here this winter, the heat is always on. Its very dry, and the wood has actually shrunk! There are small separations between the pieces. Like cracks! They are getting filled in with crud! Yuck! Aside from sitting there with a nail file and digging it out, any ideas? And how do I stop this from happening again?
Hopeless in Hartford
Chin up my dear, the secret to shiny floors is to STOP using Mop & Glo! Mop and Glo leaves behind a film. In fact some hardwood floor manufacturers say nothing but vinegar and water. Now, it sounds as though you may have a layer of build-up. It may take several moppings and some elbow grease to get rid of the crud.
Always make sure you sweep or vacuum thoroughly before mopping, otherwise you’ll push grit into the finish. A slowly dulling finish is inevitable if you have children, pets, or feet, but we would like to put it off as long as possible.
Personally, I alternate between very dilute Murphy Oil Soap and heavily diluted vinegar. Why? It’s chemistry folks. The Murphy’s Oil Soap is a base and will leave one kind of reside behind, while the vinegar is acidic and will leave a different layer of goo. By switching between the two, you pick up what the other left behind.
My boards also contract and expand during the year, it’s almost like glacial movement on a micro scale and I find it oddly fascinating. I give the floor a good once over with the vacuum on occasion, to catch the bits that fall between the boards.
The picture on the left is of the area where my rug monkeys have breakfast, it gets sticky in a hurry. A once over with a damp mop was all it took to restore the shine. A final note, when you mop, always follow the grain of the wood to prevent streaking.
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