Green Floor, Clean Floor: Natural Cleaning Solutions for Hardwood Floors

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If a homeowner is environmentally conscious and chooses to install a wide plank hardwood floor, it’s easy for them to remain consistent and “go green” when caring for that floor and keeping it looking its best.  Whether one has chosen a responsibly forested white pine or an antique reclaimed hickory, a green approach to upkeep and cleaning will benefit the homeowner and their wood floor.

When considering how to maintain and clean hardwood floors, the American Hardwood Information Center offers the following advice:

  • Place floor mats and throw rugs at entrances to trap dirt.
  • Sweep floors weekly with brooms that have fine, exploded ends.
  • Weekly vacuuming will also keep hardwood floors clean.
  • Wipe up spills, pet accidents, and other liquid mishaps as soon as possible.
  • It is important to remember that water exposure can harm a hardwood floor.

Instead of relying on commercial floor cleaners that may have toxic ingredients, the consumer has green alternatives when choosing materials to keep a wood floor clean and lustrous.  The first step is to determine what kind of finish is on the hardwood floor.

For hardwood floors finished with polyurethane, Greenerchoices.org, thedailygreen.com, and Martha Stewart   recommend damp mopping with a solution of one cup of vinegar per gallon of water.  The mop should be barely wet, just enough to pick up dust and dirt, but not enough to leave water streaking on the floor itself. 

For wide plank hardwood floors and soft wood floors with a penetrating finish, such as Carlisle’s Tung Oil Finish, water should be avoided during maintenance.  In addition to sweeping, dry-mopping, and vacuuming, Care2.com‘s Live Green Producer Melissa Breyer recommends a natural Citrus Solvent be sprayed on the floor in a light film and then dry mopped off with a micro-fiber or regular dust mop.

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