Maintaining old, damaged hardwood floors can be a challenge depending on the type of finish used on the wood floor and the extent of the damage. The payoff to bringing to life a neglected old damaged wood floor is great. Healthy, shiny hardwood floors look amazing and provide comfort and warmth to any space.
How to clean old damaged wood floors without causing more damage
Before beginning to clean an old hardwood floor, remove all objects and clean the floor of debris. Sweep and mop the damaged wood floor clean with a damp mop to remove any surface dirt.
If your wood floor is badly damaged, avoid a wet mop altogether, instead either use something like a dry mop. To clean old damaged wood floors, spray down a good amount of hardwood floor cleaner using a spray bottle, then wipe down the wood floor with a dry mop or terry cloth mop. You can also use mineral spirits to remove spots and stains after wiping off the cleaning solution.
Aside from mineral spirits, the solution of vinegar and warm water can cut through dirt and debris, leaving a clean wood floor. Remember to give your wooden floor time to dry after using a hardwood cleaner to clean it before you walk on it.
If you don't have a mop for your hardwood floor, it's best to clean the floor by hand. However, hardwood-specific mops aren't too expensive so if you have a day or two to spare, getting the right tools for cleaning wood floors can be a huge help.
NEVER cover a hardwood floor with water, this will cause more damage.
We recommend a microfiber mop with washable pads. This minimizes the risk of causing any more damage to your old wood floors.
This premium quality mop is designed to work flawlessly on hardwood floors. If you don't have a proper mop to clean hardwood floors, this inexpensive option is a great choice.
Base Your Cleaning Tactics On The Situation
The hardwood floor may have a wax finish or a polyurethane finish. You can tell the difference using water. When water is left on a wax floor, as it dries it will create a white spot where the water was. Polyurethane will not turn white when water sits on it.
If the wood floor has been hidden away under carpet inspect the floor and remove any staples or nails left in the floor from the carpet installation. Start with small damaged areas. If the old damaged hardwood floor has small scratches or dents, steel wool or light sandpaper can be used to buff these away.
Larger areas may require sanding the old hardwood floor down until the stain is gone and applying a new finish on the stained area. If the area has mold it is important that mold be treated and removed completely so it does not spread and create a health hazard.
Dining room floors can have food residue from years of use built up. Cleaning the wood floor could be as simple as gently scrubbing away the build up until you find the beautiful floor beneath. You may not even need to use a wood floor cleaner. However, do not scrape the build up away or use harsh chemicals to clean wood floors because it will damage the finish. Instead, stick to homemade wood floor cleaners, such as olive oil, vinegar, and baking soda because they're eco-friendly and the best for cleaning floors of any finish. Use a floor cleaner at least once a month to keep your floors clean and in top condition.
Old hardwood floors that are greasy or oily can be cleaned by diluting dish soap in water and scrubbed gently. The ragged used to scrub away the grease should be squeezed of as much water as possible so that the rag is damp.
When You Need To Refinish The Wood Floor
It is normal for hardwood floors to show signs of wear like heel scuffs, dents, scratches and stains. Most can be easily removed with steel wool or sandpaper. Once the stain is removed, the area can be protected again to match the rest of the floor. If you have squeaky floors, you can adjust and tighten them with nails or dry lubricant. If the actual wood needed to be sanded away, apply a wood stain that matches the color of the rest of the damaged hardwood floor and apply a wax or polyurethane coat finish.
To maintain your wood floor, use a floor polish that matches the type of finish for the entire floor. Wax floors need a wax finish and polyurethane floors require a wood-floor polish.