Choosing hardwood floor cleaners for your wood flooring depends almost entirely on the finish, or coating, applied over the top of the raw wood.
The cleaning products we discuss are specific to wood floors with a urethane finish.
It is important to note that you are not cleaning the raw wood boards - you are cleaning the finish, the protective coating, over the top of the wood.
There are a lot of misleading retail products on the market that have caused un-repairable damage, loss of warranty, or additional maintenance expense that would not have been necessary if the proper cleaning products were used.
1.) Read product labels
Read package labels carefully and be sure they say they can be used for urethane finished floors (if that's your floor's finish).
Some labels actually say they can't be used for urethane finishes (in fine print) though they market themselves to wood floor owners since there are different materials used for various types of wood-style flooring.
Many products don't make themselves clear. They might state "safe for hard surface floors" or even "safe for wood floors" - a very generic description as that could mean solid hardwood, engineered or even laminate (like Pergo).
If you aren't sure, check with your wood flooring manufacturer.
2.) Review your wood flooring manufacturer's warranty
Your manufacturer's warranty will detail the correct care, maintenance and cleaning product to protect your floor investment.
Flooring contractors tell frequent tales of being called back to a recently installed or refinished hardwood floor that the homeowner considers damaged or defective.
Only to discover that the culprit was a non-recommended, inappropriate cleaning agent. There's nothing a wood floor owner can do but live with it - or pay for a full sand and refinish.
Review our article on hardwood floor cleaning products to learn what we (and manufacturers) recommend.
We also cover in detail what NOT to use. Even if a warranty is no longer a concern for you, protect your wood floor investment, make them last, and keep them looking their best.
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