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How to Clean Hardwood Floors in LA

Updated: May 14

Clean hardwood floors in LA
Clean hardwood floors in LA
Restore the Shine to Your Hardwoods

From the classic charm of older homes to the sleekness of modern apartments, those beautiful wood surfaces add warmth and style. But let's be real, LA life can be tough on our floors – dusty winds, tracked-in sand, and that dry air can make them look dull. Fear not! With the right approach, you can keep your hardwoods gleaming.

We've been cleaning homes in LA for years, and I've learned a thing or two about keeping those hardwoods looking their best. So, let's dive in!

Gather Your Hardwood Heroes

  • The Gentle Touch: Hardwoods are gorgeous but sensitive. Forget harsh cleaners found under the kitchen sink! You'll need:

  • Soft stuff: A soft-bristle broom or dust mop is your everyday go-to. Look for brooms with flagged bristles (split ends) that trap dust better.

  • Vacuum with care: A vacuum with a hard floor attachment is essential (and quieter for apartment dwellers!). Some vacuums even have felt on the attachments to prevent scratches.

  • Mop & bucket: Choose a microfiber mop and grab two buckets if you've got the space. Microfiber is super absorbent and gentle on your floors.

  • Cleaner options: Store-bought hardwood cleaner or DIY with white vinegar (more on that later). A spray bottle is handy for spot-cleaning spills.

  • Soft cloths: Old t-shirts or microfiber cloths work отлично for spills and drying.

  • Polish: Totally optional, and best used sparingly. Look for products made specifically for your hardwood's finish.

Cleaning supplies for hardwood floors
Cleaning supplies for hardwood floors

The Cleaning Routine

Think of hardwood care in three steps: prevention, dry cleaning, and wet cleaning.

Step 1: Prevention is Key

  • Defend the entrances: Doormats with rough textures trap more dirt. Indoor/outdoor rugs in high-traffic areas save your floors too.

  • Shoes are the enemy: I know, we love those cute sandals, but a shoes-off policy indoors is your hardwood's best friend. Offer guests cozy slippers for extra comfort.

  • Protect from furniture: Felt pads under chairs and tables prevent scratches, especially during those lively LA dinner parties!

Step 2: Dry Cleaning for the Win

  • Daily sweep: Or use a dust mop to banish the bunnies. This is the easiest way to keep floors looking fresh and is essential for all types of hardwood floors.

  • Vacuum weekly: Get into corners and under furniture. Remember that gentle setting to avoid scratches! If you see stubborn stains, here's how to remove stains from hardwood floors safely, but prevention is better than cure.

  • Know your hardwood: The type of wood and finish can affect your cleaning frequency. Solid hardwoods may be more durable than engineered ones. Consult the manufacturer's guide if you have it.

Step 3: It's Wet Cleaning Time
  1. Dilute your cleaner: Follow directions on commercial products. For a DIY vinegar solution, it's about a quarter cup white vinegar per gallon of warm water. If you're unsure of your hardwood floor's finish, test your cleaning solution in an inconspicuous spot first.

  2. Two buckets are better: If you have space, one bucket gets the cleaning solution, the other clean water for rinsing your mop. This keeps floors cleaner for longer!

  3. Damp, not drenched: Wring your mop well! You want it damp enough to clean, not so wet it leaves puddles. This prevents streaks and is important for maintaining your floors, no matter what kind of hardwood you have.

  4. Work in sections: Clean a small area, then immediately dry it with a soft cloth. Soggy wood is a no-no! Sometimes, even with regular cleaning, you might need to know how to deep clean hardwood floors – that's where the pros can help.

  5. Follow the grain: Clean in the direction of the wood grain for the best results and to avoid streaking.

Step 4: Polish (Sometimes)

Polish can give extra shine, but it's not for every day. Use sparingly, in thin coats, buffing well between applications. Over time, too much polish can build up and dull your floors.

Know Your Finish for the Right Care

Hardwood floors typically have a protective finish, either sealed or waxed. This affects how you clean them:

  • Sealed hardwoods: Most common today, with a polyurethane or similar coating. These are more durable and generally require less maintenance. Your regular cleaning routine is perfect.

  • Waxed hardwoods: Offer a more traditional look, but need to be waxed periodically (though not every time you clean!). Avoid over-wetting, as water can seep beneath the wax.

  • Not sure? Test a discreet spot with a damp cloth. If it beads up, your floor is likely sealed. If it soaks in, you may have a waxed or oiled finish.

Tackling Tough Stains

Even with the best care, accidents happen. Here's how to handle common hardwood headaches:

  • Watermarks: Try a tiny bit of mayonnaise on a soft cloth (sounds weird, but it works!). For serious water damage, call in the pros.

  • Pet stains: Specialized enzyme cleaners designed for pet messes are your best bet. Avoid harsh chemicals that can further damage the wood.

  • Ink or marker: A dab of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab might do the trick. Test on an unseen spot first!

  • Greasy stains: A paste of baking soda and water can help absorb the grease.

Remember: Always spot-test any stain removal method in an inconspicuous area first!

House cleaner mopping hardwood floors
House Cleaner Mopping Hardwood Floors

Los Angeles Hardwood Hacks

  • Dryness dilemma: Our climate can dry out wood. An occasional humidifier in the room can help if your floors seem extra thirsty. This is especially important during those dry Santa Ana wind spells!

  • Beware of beach grit: If you live near the coast, be extra vigilant about sweeping up that tracked-in sand! It can act like sandpaper on your floors.

  • Apartment respect: Let your downstairs neighbors know when you'll be vacuuming, especially during those weekly deep cleans. A friendly heads-up is neighborly and appreciated!

  • Sun protection: Direct sunlight can fade your floors. Consider window coverings during the hottest parts of the day, especially if you have south-facing windows.

  • Protect from fading: Direct sunlight can fade your floors over time. Consider sheer curtains or blinds during the hottest parts of the day, especially if you have south-facing windows.

  • Humidity matters: While dryness is a concern, too much humidity can also cause problems like warping. Aim for a comfortable indoor humidity level for both you and your floors.

Stains & Serious Hardwood Cleaning

  • Spot treat spills: Act fast with diluted cleaner on a cloth. Blot, don't rub! The sooner you address it, the less likely a stain will set in.

  • Stubborn stain secrets: For tough spots, try a paste of baking soda and water. Apply gently, let it sit briefly, then wipe away. Still stuck? A specialty hardwood stain remover might be necessary.

  • When to call the pros: Got a seriously neglected floor? Or maybe water damage? A professional deep clean and refinishing might be the best way to revive it. They have the specialized tools and know-how.

  • Maintenance is magical: The secret to gorgeous hardwoods is consistency. A little regular cleaning goes a long way, and it's much easier than dealing with a major restoration project down the line.

  • DIY vs. Professional: Most spills and light wear are manageable with regular cleaning. But for deep-set stains, major scratches, or overall dullness that won't go away, a professional refinishing might be the best solution.

With gentle care and the right routine, your hardwood floors can be a stunning feature in your Los Angeles home. Remember, a few preventative habits and regular cleaning will keep them looking fabulous.

One last thing – a few years back, I cleaned this tiny apartment with the most amazing original hardwood hidden under layers of grimy carpet. It was a total Cinderella moment seeing those floors come back to life! So, even if yours feel a little neglected now, there's always hope.


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