cleaning engineered hardwood floors

Engineered Hardwood Flooring Care & Cleaning

After visiting countless websites and showrooms, you finally found the perfect flooring for your home, engineered hardwood. You love the color, the grain, the style, and everything else about it.

Or, you thought you loved everything about it, until a few days later when you realized just how much dirt and dust it collects!

Is it possible to keep these floors clean? Or will you spend every day (sometimes twice a day) sweeping the grime off your beautiful new floors?

Yes, engineered hardwoods do collect dirt and debris. But so does every other type of flooring.

Dust and dander can lurk in the grout between the tiles of a natural stone floor. And it can really hide out in the fibers of carpet.

But on a wood floor, it is out in the open with nowhere to hide. So what do you do?

First, recognize that it’s a good thing that dust, dirt, and other allergens cannot hide from you. And cleaning them up is especially helpful to anyone in your house who has allergies.

Second, know that a simple sweep of the broom on a regular basis is really all you need to keep them in shape.  An occasional mop or deep cleaning is good for them, too, but you don’t have to do that too often.

Here are some simple tips on how to clean your engineered hardwoods and keep them in shape.

Supplies You Will Need:

  • Soft-bristled broom and dustpan OR lightweight vacuum
  • Damp mop and towel
  • Manufacturer recommended cleaner (or cleaning kit) for tough spots

Things to Avoid Using:

  • Ammonia or vinegar-based cleaners
  • Steam cleaner

Steps to Take:

1) First, for any species of engineered hardwoods, you should clean the dirt and debris on a regular basis. This routine cleaning involves sweeping or vacuuming up loose dirt, dust, pet dander, and other particles that collect on your floor.

It is important to remove the loose debris from your floors because it can act as an abrasive and scratch up your flooring’s finish if left alone.

You can either sweep it into a dustpan with a soft-bristled broom or use a lightweight vacuum.

Avoid using a vacuum with a rotating bristle bar. Instead, use the floor-brush attachment if your vacuum has one.

How regularly you need to sweep or vacuum depends on the amount of traffic your floors get.

If you have children or pets (or both), you can expect your floors to get dirty often. You may need to clean them daily, or every couple of days.

If your floors do not see a lot of traffic, then a weekly cleaning is enough.

2) Secondly, run a damp mop across your floors periodically to pick up any particles that sweeping missed. Make sure the mop is damp and not soaking wet.

Engineered floors can handle more moisture than solid hardwoods, however, too much water can still damage them. And use a towel to dry up any remaining water once you have finished mopping.

Mop weekly in high traffic areas. And mop once a month in areas that do not get much traffic.

3) Occasionally, you should treat your floors to a deeper cleaning to remove the grime that builds up over time. Many engineered hardwood flooring manufacturers have cleaning products or kits that you can buy.

You can also use a commercial cleaning product purchased from a local store or online. Just make sure that it specifically says it is for use on engineered hardwood flooring.

Once you’ve selected your cleaner, you can use a mop to apply it to your floors. Either a rag mop or sponge mop works best.

Wet your mop with the cleaner and then wring it out. Again, your mop should be damp, but not wet.

Mop the floors first with the cleaning solution, and then a second time with fresh water to wash off the cleaning product.

After you have mopped, wipe your floors with a clean, dry towel to remove any remaining moisture from them.

Tips for Maintaining Your Engineered Hardwood Floors

Hardwood flooring, especially the darker stains, tend to show every piece of dirt and dust on them.

So, is there any way to keep them looking clean?  At least for a little while?

This depends, of course, on your home and your family. If you have large dogs or small kids who run in and out of the house frequently, odds are your floors will be dirty more often than clean.

But there are some ways to reduce the mess.

Place rugs or mats at the exterior doors in your home to reduce the amount of moisture and dirt that gets inside.

However, avoid rugs or doormats with a rubber backing. These can cause damage to your floors

And encourage family members and guests to remove their shoes before entering the house.

You can also place long runner rugs in your hallways and high traffic areas. These rugs can also help protect your floors against scratches.

For added protection against scratches, place floor protectors under your furniture.

Tricks for Minimizing Scratches and Marks on Your Floor

If you do get a scratch in the floor, here’s a trick to minimize how noticeable it is:

Rub a crayon that is the same color as the floor into the scratch to fill the gap. Then heat the spot up with a blow dryer and buff it with a soft cloth.

If your floor tends to get white water spots, mineral spirits added to very fine steel wool pad will do the trick. Rub it gently in a circular motion to remove the water spots.

Heel marks also come out with an extra-fine steel wool pad. In this case, add a small amount of wax and rub in a circular motion.

A natural trick for making your floors shine is to clean them with tea.

Steep two tea bags in boiling water then pour the mixture into a bucket. Wet a soft cloth in the tea and wring it out.

(Remember, your cloth should be damp, not wet.)

Then wipe down your engineered hardwoods with the damp cloth. The tannins in the tea will give your floors a beautiful sheen.

And remember, always try to clean up a stain or spill on your engineered hardwood floor as soon as you notice it.

Refinishing Engineered Hardwood Flooring

At some point in the life of your floors, it may be time to refinish them. You can do this to erase the many dings and scratches.

And yes, you can refinish engineered hardwood.

The number of times you can refinish it depends on how thick its top veneer is. But you should be able to refinish it at least once.

If the top layer is at least 3mm thick, then you can sand it down and refinish it in the same manner as solid hardwood. If it is 2mm or less, then scuff sand it with a buffer before applying a new finish.

To keep your floors well-maintained, choose a tough, aluminum oxide finish,  and apply at least seven to 10 coats. This will help prevent future scratches, water damage, and other possible issues.

Engineered hardwoods, like any other type of flooring, do require regular cleaning and some maintenance. And if you keep up with it, you can enjoy your floors for many years to come.

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