There are a variety of ideas as to how to clean hardwood floors, and none of the methods should be used unless they are recommended by the manufacturer. Nevertheless, many people mop or hand-wash the wood floor whenever it becomes very dirty.
Mop the floor shifting the towel as it soils. Generally drying wood floors is unnecessary if you are using a lightly dampened towel. Mop floors with clear water or just a dash of liquid dish soap. Be sure to change the water when it gets cloudy.
Mop as you would if you were dry dusting. Wipe dry, then after the floor is dry. Mop a small section of the flooring with a slight damp, soft sponge or white cloth mop head. Dry the section with a lint free white towel or rag as you mop before going to the next section.
If in any doubt contact whatsoever the manufacturer or supplier of your hardwood flooring.
Caring for Hardwood Floors
Wood flooring, being a natural product, will absorb and expel moisture. This natural process will cause the flooring to expand and contract from season to season resulting in cracks or separation between some of the boards in your floor. Wood floors that are cared for properly should never have to be replaced. Most nicks and scratches can be fixed by replacing the finish on the wood, and spills can be cleaned easily with very little worry of staining. Wood is a natural material with variations from board to board. Therefore, each plank or strip will take stain differently.
Spills are among the worst things for floors. Water and other liquids are a wood floor's worst nightmare. Spills can be treated with proprietary cleaners.
Spills must be wiped up immediately with a lightly water dampened cloth and then hand buffed dry.
Regular vacuuming is essential in any home so that dust does not permeate the whole house and cause allergies. Vacuum, sweep, or dust mop often to prevent scratches caused by tracked in dirt, and periodically buff the floor to make it shine. Hardwood floors sometimes need to be partially sanded and re-waxed to remove individual stains.
Solid-colored floors tend to show scuffs, scratches, dirt and general wear more than patterned floors, especially those in light shades. Once you determine the wear your resilient floor must endure and examine factors such as color and traffic pattern, you will be able to address your individual cleaning needs. Solid hardwood floors repay a little care with a lifetime of value. When you first glimpse a solid hardwood floor, you sense richness, warmth and natural beauty.
Surface finishes can be polyurethane (the most common), pre finished floors, water based polyurethane (second most common), and catalyzed. Penetrating seals can be acrylics, oils or waxes.
Some surface finishes cover the wood with a clear finish that keeps anything from damaging the wood. Please note that ammonia is especially bad of oils and waxes.
You may prefer to buy floors which are tiled, carpeted, or laid with linoleum etc. It all depends on your personal choice and taste. However, do realize that wood floors tend to pass sound, particularly heavy footsteps and low bass frequencies . Floating floors can reduce or eliminate this problem.
Finally, here is a safety note to say that wood floors can be quite slippery, especially after cleaning, and without the rug guards, rugs can slip right along the surface of them. So take care and be safe!
Steve Evans has put together leading information on Hardwood Flooring at the How to refinish hardwood floors and care for hardwood flooring web site.