Drop the Mop—You’re Destroying Your Beautiful Hardwood Floors

Photo: Getty Images / Kathrin Ziegler
This past year has pushed some of us into cleaning overdrive. But if you find yourself regularly wet mopping your hardwood floors, it's time to pump the breaks. Melissa Maker, host of the CleanMySpace YouTube channel, says that hardwood floors are one of the most over-cleaned areas in your home. Mopping your hardwood floors too often ruins the finish over time.

"Hardwood floors get over-mopped," says Maker, who is also the founder of Toronto-based cleaning company Clean My Space. "Mopping hardwood floors, whether they're old or new, you don't want to do that frequently."

Maker says the key to keeping your hardwood floors clean without mopping is taking off your outside shoes when you enter your house and slipping into house shoes.

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"If you're walking around barefoot, your feet will give off kind of oils, dead skin cells. Over time you might notice there's a filmy buildup," says Maker. "An easy way to get around that, and to mop your floors less, is to simply wear slippers or indoor shoes, which is a habit that my husband and I are very much into. We both have super comfortable indoor shoes that help to reduce that."

If you spill something on your floors, Maker says to spot clean instead of dragging out the mop. "Spills and stains can be wiped up on the go. If my cat vomits on the floor, my daughter gets some paint on the floor, we obviously clean those as soon as we see them," says Maker. Regularly vacuuming will keep your floors nice and clean. "We probably mop our hardwood once a month," says Maker. With older, unfinished hardwood wet mopping should happen very infrequently, if at all.

Dry mopping is a great way to keep your hardwood floors clean, too. This involves using a spray cleaner with a dry push mop. The Bona 4 Piece Hardwood Floor Care System ($39) is beloved by hardwood floor experts because it breaks down and removes grease without harming the finish. The system includes a dry mop, a microfiber cleaning pad, a microfiber dusting pad, and a spray solution designed for hardwood floors. All you do is spray your floors and then go over them with the cleaning pad. Your floors will be left clean and conditioned, bringing out the wood grain without leaving any residue. If you like spray mops, Bona also carried a hardwood floor mop that works wonders.

As long as you're maintaining your floors by vacuuming regularly and wearing indoor shoes, Maker says they'll look really good for a really long time.

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