How to Clean Wood Floors and Parquet

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When you first had your wood floors installed, they were beautifully pristine, and added modern elegance to your room. But floors take on a lot of everyday wear and tear. Dust, grime, and dirt can accumulate in the nooks and crannies of your floors, creating stubborn stains even if you sweep and mop everyday.

Parquet floors, too, need consistent upkeep especially when used as decorative pieces in high-traffic areas. With their intricate designs, any dirt or stain can make the floor look drab and neglected.

How to Clean Wood Floors

So how to clean wood floors? How to clean parquet floors? Before you grab those scrubbing sponges, check out our guide on how to properly clean and maintain your wood floors to make them last for a long time.

The first thing to note is that wood and water don’t mix. Wood is a natural, organic material and as such, is susceptible to rot. It is also a sensitive material, so you may want to keep away from corrosive cleaning solutions like bleach. 

Regular Cleaning

Most wood floors can be cleaned well using routine cleaning methods. Vacuuming away dirt, and mopping up spills do a great deal in maintaining the cleanliness of your parquet and wood floors. 

Stick vacuum on light wooden floor
Vacuuming is a great method of daily cleaning.

For your cleaning solution, you can use commercially available wooden floor cleaners that are specially formulated to be gentle on hardwood and bamboo, while tough on dirt and grime. Alternatively, vinegar is one of the best household cleaning supplies, even for parquet flooring. 

  1. Move out any items or furniture that may get in the way of cleaning. For everyday cleaning, you may move furniture around and about as you clean along the area. 
  1. Make sure your floor is dry. Wipe up any spills or moisture to prevent dirt from sticking onto them. 
  1. Take your vacuum or broom and clear away any loose dirt, dust bunnies, and other muck that may have been brought in from outside. Take careful consideration to go over hard to reach areas as to not allow the dirt to accumulate over time.
  1. Using diluted wooden floor cleaning solution, or diluted vinegar, wipe a wrung mop or cloth over your wood floors. Make sure to wring your mop or cloth until only damp, and not dripping. The cleaning solution or vinegar should dry almost immediately after being wiped on. 
  1. Allow your floors to fully dry. Do not walk on the floor or set items on the floor until it dry to the touch.
  1. If desired, apply a protective finish on completely dry wooden flooring. You may apply mild finishes, like mineral oil, once a week in high-traffic areas. Apply sparingly.
Helpful Tip: Some wood finishes react with vinegar, so best to test it out on a small spot first!

Removing Stains

When regular cleaning just isn’t working out, time to use a little elbow grease to remove stubborn stains. Grab a gentle cleaning solution, a clean cloth or sponge, and let’s get scrubbing!

Take note that with abrasive ingredients like baking soda, use only on unvarnished or unfinished wood to avoid scratching away the protective layer.

For Dark Spots and White Marks

Shoes and backpack on light parquet flooring
Parquet has lines that may be difficult to clean.

For unvarnished wood, make a paste out of baking soda and water and use it to scrub away at the stain. For more stubborn spots, allow the baking soda paste to sit on the stain for a few minutes before scrubbing. Wipe away any excess and allow the wood to dry completely.

For varnished wood, use ½ a cup of apple cider vinegar diluted in a gallon of water to wipe away the stain.

For Oil Stains

White walled kitchen with vanished wooden flooring
Kitchens are susceptible to oil stains.

Parquet floors in the kitchen can be a dream, but oil and grease spillage can create a nightmare of a stain that is tough to remove. Rub the stained area with a few drops of dishwashing liquid and a soft sponge. Let the dishwashing liquid breakdown the grease, and wipe away with a clean, damp cloth. Allow the area to dry before using. Repeat if needed.

For Scuff Marks and Permanent Markers

Child colouring with crayons on Easter paper
Kids can accidentally get crayon or market stains on floors.

For those unsightly marks when moving heavy furniture or walking on heels, use a little mineral oil or natural wax and wipe away the scuff marks with a clean cloth. Make sure to use an oil or wax that is compatible with your hardwood floor and varnish. 

Kids thought drawing on the floor would be fun? For permanent markers on a varnished wood floor, use a whiteboard marker to completely cover the permanent marker stain. Wipe away with a dry cloth and watch as the mark magically erases.

Heavy Stains

For heavier stains that simply won’t go away, reach for commercial heavy duty solutions that will get rid of the stain for good. Just make sure to reach for solutions of pastes that are formulated for your type of hardwood floor. 

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use the stain solution properly, and use gentle scrubbers to work at the stain.

Helpful Tip: Leave your steel wool for your pots and pans! Wooden flooring is delicate and can scratch with abrasive scrubbers. When in doubt, a soft sponge or cloth works well to remove stains from wood.

Wooden Floor Upkeep and Maintenance

Now that you’ve restored your wood floors to their former glory, the next step is to maintain its condition for as long as possible. After all, your wood floors deserve a little pampering. Here are a few tips on wooden floor upkeep:

Lessen Grime and Spills

Smiling Samoyed dog on wooden flooring
Pet stains can cause wooden floors to look grimey.

A bit of obvious practice that most people overlook is wiping away dirt and grime from your shoes before entering the house. Pet paws should be wiped off before entering whenever possible, and avoid 

Avoid spillage by placing liquids out of reach from children and pets, and where people are less likely to bump their elbows into them. Vessels like flower vases should be bottom-heavy to prevent toppling over. 

Add a Protective Coating

Hardwood finishes aren’t just for the shine, they’re also meant to protect your floors from the usual damages, like water damage and mold. Natural finishes, like linseed oils and beeswax, are safe, inexpensive, and commonly available for home DIY use. 

Industrial protective coating solutions are also available to be used with caution and with proper gear and equipment, but can provide heavy-duty protection against dirt, spills, and even pests.

Preventing stains is a better upkeep for wooden floors than cleaning up after them. By adding a protective coating on the surface of your floors, you are cutting down on your cleaning time as well as maintaining the immaculate finish of your hardwood floors.

Keep Away from Moisture and Heat

Moisture and heat are the two usual culprits in wooden floor damage. Especially in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry areas, take extra precaution when working with moisture and heat. Allow wood to completely dry with proper ventilation, and do not place heated objects, like pots, irons, and hairdryers, directly on wooden surfaces.

Schedule your Cleaning Day

Whether you’re figuring out how to clean parquet floors, or maintaining your wooden flooring, proper upkeep is essential to keep your floors spotless.

Prevention is key in ensuring your wood floor keeps its shine, and condition. Take time every month or so to refinish your floors, or simply allow the wood to dry when it gets wet. These can go a long way in lengthening the life span of your wooden floors.

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