Sanitising and Cleaning Timber Floors
Cleaning timber floors is not difficult. However, it is important to do it right so that your beautiful floors last for many many years to come.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the danger that unclean surfaces can present, we have decided to focus on sanitising your floorboards, not just cleaning them.
Cleaning and sanitising your timber floors regularly, using the right products, will keep your floorboards looking brand new.
Cleaning Timber Floors
Wooden floors can add thousands of dollars value to the house, and are highly sought-after by home-buyers. When it comes to wear and tear in the home, timber floors can endure a lot! From muddy football boots and stilettos to wet paw prints and everything in between, floorboards have to withstand a lot. Fortunately, timber floorboards are well known for their durability and longevity, so wear and tear will be minimal if you look after them well and clean them the correct way.
One of the best ways to ensure your timber floors remain in optimal condition is to invest initially in quality floorboards. High-quality floorboards will be easier to maintain long-term and require less upkeep. Back To Timber offers a range of the highest quality floorboards for residential and commercial spaces.
Products for cleaning timber floors
There is an old wives’ tale that claims a mixture of vinegar and water with soap is the best solution for cleaning and sanitising floorboards. We recommend approaching this solution with caution as the acidity from the vinegar can damage and leave uneven marks on the surface, and potentially damage the seal on timber floors.
Hardwood cleaning products from the supermarket are generally fine, as the pH levels are balanced to be gentle on the timber. It’s best to check the chemicals included in a product before you buy it, as some commercial-grade floor cleaners can be excessively harsh and will do more damage than good. Look for a product that indicates it’s soft and non-abrasive on floorboards (and does not include bleach.) Bleach is too harsh for timber floors and should be avoided where possible. It’s also wise to avoid all-purpose cleaners, unless they specifically say they can be used on wooden floors. All-purpose cleaners are like one-size-fits-all clothes – they do not fit everyone!
To sanitise your floors, look for a product that says anti-bacterial or disinfectant. No product can claim to kill COVID-19 yet, because there has not been enough testing. However, if you choose a wooden floor cleaner that also disinfects, you can rest assured you are protecting your family as best you can. Do not use hospital-grade disinfectants designed for bathroom tiles as they will damage your timber floors.
Always do a patch test when using a new cleaning product on your timber floors. Apply a small amount of the product to an area of the floor that is not very visible (e.g. behind a door,) and clean and mop as usual. We recommend leaving it for 24 hours to make sure it hasn’t damaged your timber floors. But, if you are in a hurry, at least make sure the area is dry before you check for an adverse reaction from the product. If the patch test area is looking good, then continue with the whole floor.
How to clean timber floors
Once you have found a product that is kind on your floorboards, it’s time to start cleaning. To make things as efficient as possible, here is a five step process that will have your floorboards squeaky clean and sanitised ASAP.
- Sweep or vacuum the area to pick up any large particles, dust or dirt. Remember to use something that will be soft and non-abrasive against your floorboards. Your vacuum or broom should have soft bristles so as not to scratch the floor. If your vacuum has the option, you can turn off the roller to prevent scratching.
- Pre-wipe any exceptionally dirty areas before you mop, to avoid contaminating the water and spreading the dirt over your timber floor. If you can see a patch of dirt or grime, wipe it with a damp cloth by hand.
- Use warm water to fill a bucket and pour in some of the floor cleaner you have chosen using the guidance above. Follow the directions on the label to ensure excess chemicals are not used on your timber floors.
- Use back and forth strokes using a slightly damp mop. Remember that excess moisture is your floorboards’ worst nightmare so do not use a sopping wet mop. If the water gets murky while mopping, replace it. Mopping along the floorboards in the direction that they were laid (i.e. mopping down the length of the boards not across) will help prevent dirt and water build up between the boards.
- Finish by mopping once more with clean water to remove any cleaning solutions that may still be lingering on the floorboards. Again, your mop should be slightly damp, not wet.
Let your floors air dry thoroughly before putting back any furniture or rugs. Open doors and/or windows, if it’s practical, to aerate the area. This not only protects your floor but will stop mould and bacteria from growing, which means a healthier home.
Cleaning and sanitising have been particularly important during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Many people have increased the frequency of their cleaning regimes and used harsher chemicals as a precaution. However, you should be vigilant about the products you use. Always use a solution made for timber floors, with balanced pH levels. Avoid adding too much of the solution when you clean, and always finish with a layer of clean water (especially if you have children or pets in the home). Following this guidance will ensure your floorboards remain clean and in optimal condition.
We also highly recommend the Quick Step Cleaning Kit, available in all our showrooms, designed to cleanse the floor surface thoroughly and maintain the original look of your floor with no residual layers of cleaning product left behind. If you have any questions on the best way to maintain your floors, feel free to reach out to us or visit us at one of our showrooms!