From Dull and Boring to Sparkly Clean Floors! Must Read!
If you have a hardwood floor in your home, you will know just how beautiful and hard-wearing they are. They are an investment that adds great value and attraction to your home. But they often take the most abuse of any home flooring given that they are usually in high-traffic areas: people coming in from outside in all kinds of footwear, tracking all sorts of dirt across them. Many people often presume that they are high-maintenance and, as such, are somewhat afraid cleaning and polishing their floor! They then find that their hardwood floor, which was once shiny and bright, is now rather dull and lackluster. So, how to make hardwood floors shiny? How do you even begin to tackle it? With just a few simple changes to your cleaning routine, your floor will be shiny again in no time.
When Is It Time to Clean Your Wood Floor?
There’s never a wrong time to clean and shine hardwood floors, after all they end up over trodden with dirt all the time! However, you should be extra vigilant for any signs and symptoms of mold exposure.
A wood floor can be an ideal environment for mold growth given that they are often in warm places and have moisture and a source of food for the mold to grown. Mold can stain wood floors and it can also contaminate them to the extent that the wood becomes discolored, warped or even rots.
If you experience frequent headaches, any problems with breathing of concentrating or have itchy eyes, you could be experiencing symptoms of mold exposure. If you’re unsure, take note of any musty smell in your home. Mold gives off a gas which produces that musty smell with which you may become familiar. It could be that the mold in your floor isn’t particularly visible and, as such, you should become observant of any fusty mildew smells that begin to appear as well as any visible signs.
If your floors are beginning to warp it could be a sign that there is mold growing beneath. Eventually, the floorboards may start to twist. This is a late sign of a mold problem – hopefully most people would spot a smell or mold exposure symptoms long before their wood becomes warped. Unfortunately, if your mold problem isn’t discovered early enough, it could cost you your wood floor!
To reduce the spreading of the mold you must eliminate any sources of moisture in the room. Mold on the surface of the floor is much easier to treat than mold which is deep in the wood. Read below for how best to tackle a mold problem.
Why Is Your Wood Floor Not Looking Shiny?
There are many reasons why your hardwood floor might not be looking as lovely as it once did. Firstly, you should sweep your floor every day, especially in heavy traffic areas such as hallways. This removes the dirt on the surface and means you don’t need to deep clean it as often.
Mopping a Dirty Floor
If you wish to mop your floor without the use of chemicals, you should combine vegetable oil and white wine vinegar in a spray bottle in equal parts. Make sure you make this up fresh each time as it will separate in the bottle. Spray the solution on to the floor and mop about once a week unless the area is especially prone to heavy use. The dirt will be removed by the vinegar and the oil ensures the wood does not dry out! Shiny hardwood floors in no time! If there is a residue, wipe it off with a towel or clean mop. Buff the floor with a cloth in circles to bring out its shine.
Not Using the Right Product
Your floor may look dull because you are using an unsuitable product on it. To ensure that you are using something that will bring out the shine you must determine the type of finish that your hardwood floor has.
If your floor has a shiny finish you should determine whether it is finished with wax. To test for this, find a hidden area and wet some steel wool (extra fine is best) and rub it on the floor. A wax floor will appear with light gray smudges. You could also add a few drops of water to your floor and watch what happens. If the water stays beaded after a few minutes, your floor probably has a more modern finished seal to it. However, if it soaks in or darkens the wood, it is possibly an older type of seal and, as such, your floor needs to be handled even more gently. If you’re ever unsure, opt for the gentlest method that you can!
There are several other reasons why your hardwood flooring might not be looking its best. Are you using too much cleaning product? Remember, less is more!
Do you buff your hardwood floor dry? Once your floor has been cleaned it should always be buffed dry with a dry clean cloth or towel. This will ensure it’s at it shiniest and will be mark-free. Buff in circles with a lint-free cloth!
Wax Your Waxed Floor Often
If your floor is waxed (see how to determine this above), it may need more specific care. You can even wax your floor if you know how to do it. As well as the usual vacuuming and sweeping, you try not to use much water on a wax floor. If any water is left on the floor it should be dried as quickly as possible as it can damage the wax. Furthermore, do not use any detergents! Wax floors can be buffed easily (but use a lint-free cloth!).
You will most likely need to strip the wax coating once a year and apply a fresh coat. You can buy special wax strippers to do this. Once complete, you can reapply a thin layer of wax with a cloth. Once it is dry you may wish to add a second coat, but be careful not to over-wax your floor. Want to know how to shine your wood floor if it has a wax coating? Buff! Always buff along the grain for the best and shiniest results.
Not Refinishing for a Long Time
Depending on the finish of your floor, it will need refinishing from time to time to really get the most out of it. Remember, hardwood floors take a lot of abuse and over time they will lose their shine and finish. Refinishing your floor is one method of how to make hardwood floors shiny again.
How to Remove Mold from Hardwood Floors?
To clean your hardwood floor you will need a few simple items:
- a vacuum or dry brush
- bucket of water
- a dry cloth/rag
- dish soap, chlorine bleach or any other suitable products from your hardware store
However, you should firstly deal with any mold and mildew issues when looking at cleaning your whole floor and looking how to make hardwood floors shiny.
You should ensure that you make some safety adjustments when you are working with chemicals or around the mold. You should wear suitable safety glasses and protective gloves when you are working on the surface mold. However, for larger areas, you should use a mask or even respirator too. Furthermore, your clothing and shoes are likely to become contaminated and, as such, you should wear clothes that are easy to wash afterwards or can be disposed of. Ensure you read through any safety precautions that are specific to any of the product you are going to use on your floor.
You should choose an appropriate cleaning agent for your mold problem. For mold on the surface, you should use a product for floors with urethane finishes. You could make your own solution with chlorine bleach and water (with a ratio of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water). There are special mold cleaners available at garden centers and hardware stores too.
Wipe up the Mold
You should start by wiping away any mold using a cloth or old rag. Minor mold on the wooden surface is relatively easy to clean. After spraying the area with your bleach solution or cleaning product, let it rest for ten minutes before wiping it away. If the stain is more stubborn, you could use a scrubbing brush with firm bristles. Once you have finished, ensure you clean the brush and throw away the rag.
Be cautious using your chemicals. Do not allow the bleach or cleaner to soak into areas where it is not needed as it will damage the finish of the wood.
How Deep Does Your Mold Go?
The mold may travel beyond what is visible to the eye. If mold is on your walls, it could have easily spread. In a mold spot, gentle push a sharp tool such as a screwdriver into the mold. If you wood flooring feels soft, this means that the mold has gone deeper into the wood and not just the surface. As such it will require additional treatment and cleaning. However, if the wood is easily damaged or crumbles, your wood may not be salvageable.
a. Eliminate the Moisture: Deep-rooted mold needs treating well but before you start, you need to ensure that there is no residing moisture in the wood. If you have a large fan, direct its air flow toward the moldy area and leave it on for several hours. This will ensure that your floor is protected from future growth of mold.
b. Ventilate the Area: As we explained above about mold-related symptoms, mold can be dangerous if you breathe in its particles. Ensure that you wear a mask over your mouth and open up all of your windows and doors while you are carrying out your work. Leave them open for the duration of your task and for a while afterwards to allow all mold particles to dissipate from the room. Again, your fan can direct air towards open windows and doors.
Once you have cleaned any surface mold, the next step is to get rid of the top layers of mold through sanding. Firstly, use a metal scraper or sandpaper (100 grit) to remove the mold. You can then use finer sandpaper (220 grit) to remove the remained of the mold. If you have a deep-rooted mold problem, you should use a scraping tool designed for more heavy-duty jobs, like a spackle blade.
Ensure that you only sand the area that is affected by the mold and in circular motions. You should polish the area with finer sandpaper when you’re done to ensure a smooth finish.
Vacuum to Remove Dust
Use a top-class hardwood floor vacuum made especially for hardwood floors to remove any dust and traces of mold. Then you should spray a bleach solution onto the affected area. This time your solution should be at a ratio of 1 part bleach to 8 parts water. Use a spray bottle for even coverage. Allow it to soak into the area for a few minutes and then begin wiping. This will ensure any remaining mold is killed and will prevent further outbreaks of mold in your flooring.
If mold has taken a serious hold of your flooring, you will probably need to remove it as it probably isn’t able to be saved. Ensure that you remove and dispose of it so that the mold does not spread to other parts of the floor or house. You may then need to patch up your flooring with appropriate materials from a hardware store.
Wood Finish Application
With the mold removed, you will need to apply a finish to the floor. You should aim to find one that will cover the stain as well as restore the color of your floor. Finally, to prevent further outbreaks of mold, you should add a polyurethane topcoat to the wood. If your color is difficult to match, opt for the shade that is closest but lighter.
Tips and Warnings
As mentioned above, you should always ensure you use chemicals with caution, following all of the manufacturer’s precautions. When dealing with mold, we advise you to ventilate rooms well and use protective gear, such as face masks and gloves. Mold exposure can make you feel ill and you should ensure you follow our tips above to reduce your risk of exposure.
Also, avoid walking on your hardwood floor with heels – specifically stilettos! The reduced surface area and pressure is likely to damage your now beautifully clean floor. This also goes for any pets – trim their nails and claws regularly to avoid unnecessary scratches. Finally, be wary of your vacuum if it is a heavy, wheeled model. Try to use a high-quality vacuum cleaner that will keep it clean and nice-looking for long.
And remember, don’t wait for a spillage – wipe it up immediately to avoid damage!
With following our tips on how to make hardwood floors shiny, your floor will look as good as new in no time. A hardwood floor that is well looked after will stand the test of time and be a beautiful, long-term asset to your home. With proper care, they can last for generations, giving a rich and warm feel to your home interior.