Make Hardwood Floors Sparkle

Here are helpful hints for cleaning hardwood floors, daily and yearly.

Aug. 6, 2007 — -- Wood floors look great, but they don't have to be as high maintenance as many of us think. The folks at the Good Housekeeping Institute have been at it again, this time investigating the best and easiest ways to clean wood floors.

Wipe Out Dust Bunnies — Without Vacuuming

Go no farther than the laundry room. Used dryer sheets are like magnets to dust! Use them to wipe the corners and baseboards. Be sure to use the sheets after their spin in the dryer — fresh sheets have softener in them and you don't want that on your floors.

Deep Cleaning: Wax, Paint, Scuff Marks

Wax: Take a bag of ice and cover the wax for about 30 seconds. This hardens the wax and makes it brittle. Then take a blunt-edged putty knife and chip the wax off.

Dried Paint: Soak a rag in alcohol and wipe the paint — it should loosen the splatter marks. Then use a putty knife (or spatula) to scrape off the paint

Scuff Marks: If you're wearing socks, rub the streaks with your toe. This almost always makes the lines disappear. If that doesn't work, apply a finish-friendly cleanser with a soft cloth, then buff.

Weekly Vacuum Once-Over

Be careful — upright vacuums all have rotating brushes, which can scratch floors. Newer models give you the option of disabling those brushes, but older ones don't. If you can't turn off the brushes, use a Swiffer or a broom.

Heavy-Duty Cleaning

Polyurethane finish: When using a floor-cleaning product, spray it on a reusable microfiber cloth and work the rag across a small section of the floor. (Or you could use a microfiber mop and save your knees!) Dry with a clean cloth, then move onto the next spot. Don't wet the entire area at once because that could damage the wood.

Good Housekeeping recommends Orange Glo Hardwood Floor cleaner or Method's Omop Wood-Cleaning Kit.