How to Clean Hardwood Floors

Cleaning Hardwood Floors and Other Wood Flooring Maintenance Tips

Many higher-end commercial office spaces and heritage buildings feature hardwood floors. Hardwood floors definitely add a timeless beauty to any office or retail setting, but we know it can feel a bit intimidating when it comes time to clean them. Hardwood floors do need to be given a bit more TLC than standard laminate flooring, but it’s relatively easy for you or a professional cleaner like Mayfair Building Services to get and keep your wood floors looking their best. All that’s needed are gentle cleaning and refinishing products, some know-how and a bit of elbow grease.

In this article, we’ll guide you in the best ways to prevent damage, clean, and erase unsightly marks on the natural wood flooring in your workspace.

how to clean hardwood floors

Prevent Wear and Tear of Hardwood Floors

Protect Your Flooring

Taking the proper steps to protect hardwood floors from daily wear and tear will go a long way to preventing scrapes and scuffs.

  • Task chairs should be outfitted with hardwood casters, specially designed to prevent scratching or scuffing.
  • Task chairs can also be used with plastic protective floor pads or low pile floor mats. If you’ve got some carpeting, look at our helpful post on how to clean and maintain the carpeting around your office.
  • Other pieces of furniture like waiting room chairs and coffee tables should always have felt floor protectors applied to the bottoms of the furniture legs, since they get moved around quite a bit.
  • Over time, clients getting up and pushing the chair back and forth could result in quite a bit of scuffing and scratching on hardwood floors. In that same vein, when moving furniture, you’ll want to pick it up and avoid dragging it whenever possible.
  • Add a welcome mat, a heavy-duty rug and a good solid boot tray/shoe tray by the front door. This will help keep dirt, water and mud off the flooring.

Sweep Daily and Vacuum Weekly

A quick daily sweep and a weekly or bi-weekly vacuum will keep your floors looking fresh and prevent damage from dirt and dust.

  • Before vacuuming or sweeping, go over the flooring with a dry mop or Swiffer-type sweeper. This will attract any hair, dust and dirt.
  • Next, vacuum with a floor brush attachment. For wooden floors, you’ll want to avoid using a powerhead or beater bar, which can scratch the wood.
  • Vacuuming should be done weekly or biweekly, depending on the volume of traffic through your business.

Deep Clean Hardwood Floors as Needed

It’s a good idea to do a deep seasonal clean to remove dirt and oil build-up. This grime can dull the finish and durability of the flooring over time.

  • After you vacuum, use a good wood floor cleaner and saturate a mop (sponge or rag) well. Let the cleaner sink into the fibres.
  • Wring out the mop really well so it only feels slightly damp. This is important because you don’t want to have any standing water left on the floor.
  • Damp-mop, working from the back of the office to the front, making sure to get underneath furniture and in corners.
  • Rinse and wring out as often as needed. Depending on the size of your office, you may need to change your water.
  • If the cleaning product recommends a fresh-water rinse, use a second mop rinsed in clean water.
  • To speed the drying process for your newly clean floors, turn on the air conditioner or ceiling fans.

Removing Marks from Hardwood Floors

Despite our best efforts, wood floors do get marked up from time to time. Because wood is so durable, however, this is an easy fix. The key is to know the finish of your floor to be able to safely remove the mark.

  • If the stain is sitting on the surface, the wood likely has a urethane or polyurethane finish, which is a hard finish that stays on top of the wood.
  • If you’re working in an older building or a heritage building, the original flooring is likely to be oil finished. If the stain has spread through to the wood, you can bet it’s a soft oil finish.

Removing Marks from a Hard Urethane Finish

The best choice for removing marks from modern hardwood flooring is a clean microfiber cloth. Avoid using abrasive cleaning solutions, sandpaper, steel wool or any other gritty material, since these will damage the finish. A good, gentle cleaner is all you really need to remove a surface stain.

Removing Marks from a Soft Oil Finish

This is a bit more complex and can involve some staining, waxing and buffing. If you’re really stuck, call us at Mayfair Building Services for advice or to schedule your floor cleaning service.

Heel Marks- Floor wax and very fine steel wool make short work of those pesky heel marks. Use the steel wool to gently rub in the floor wax, and it will gently scrub away the markings.

Oil-based Stains-Use a soft cloth and gentle dishwashing soap to cut the grease. Rinse the soap with a soft cloth dampened with clear water. This might take a couple of applications. Once the damp spot has dried, you’ll see raised grain. Gently buff the raised grain of the wood and finish up with stain if needed.

Pet stains or Dark Spots- Did the office pet have an accident? Just rub the spot with very fine steel wool and floor wax. If you still see a dark spot, let a small bit of vinegar soak into the wood. This should completely lift the stain. If not, try bleach once the vinegar has completely dried. Finish up by rinsing with a clean damp cloth.

Water Marks- Use your trusty steel wool and floor wax here too. If the stain has saturated the floor, you can very lightly sand the floor using a fine grit paper. Clean the rest of the stain with your fine steel wool and mineral spirits.

Professional hardwood floor cleaning, deep office cleaning, pressure washing and more —at Mayfair Building Services, we do it all. Whether you need daily, weekly or monthly office or industrial maintenance and cleaning, our team is expertly trained to handle any mess you can throw our way. Contact us at our Burnaby, BC office via email or by phone at (604) 439-0312 to schedule an initial consultation and join our growing list of happy clients.