Deep Cleaning a Hardwood Floor

The CDC Says to Clean Before You Disinfect

With everyone spending so much time at home, this may be the right time for you to save some money and deep clean your wood floors yourself. It’s easy to do, is a good form of exercise, and it’s important if you have someone sick or at risk in your home.

As you can read here, the CDC recommends that you clean your hard surfaces before you disinfect.  The reason for this is that disinfectant sprays, like bleach-based mixes, 70% isopropyl alcohol and others, work best when they are applied to a clean surface.  With that in mind, here are the Mr. Floor Instructions on deep cleaning your hardwood floor.

What Is a Deep Cleaning of a Hardwood Floor?

Almost all professionally installed hardwood floors, whether finished in the home or prefinished at the factory, are protected by a polyurethane coating.  Polyurethane, when fully cured, is virtually impervious to water. However, if left unprotected or if the coating is compromised, wood will act like a sponge, absorbing contaminants and causing flooring to become a magnet for dirt.

Over time, dissolved dirt, grease and oil combine to form a stubborn film that adheres to the top of the polyurethane. This layer of grime is nearly impervious to vacuuming and typical mopping. To be successfully removed, this film must be dissolved and the contaminants released so that they can be pulled away from the wood floor’s coating.

Deep cleaning is the mechanical and chemical process of loosening the bond between the layer of grease and dirt from the polyurethane coating and then collecting the loosened contaminants for disposal.

Surfactants Loosen the Layer of Dirt and Grime From the Floor

To loosen a film of contaminants from the polyurethane coating, a cleaning solution of surfactants mixed with water is required. Surfactants are molecular substances that are able to attach one end of their molecule to water and the other end to the dirt or grease. The surfactants help the water-based solution to grab hold of the dirt and grease and pull it away from the floor’s coating.

There are numerous surfactants in various cleaners throughout your home. Both Windex and Dawn dish soap contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, a fairly common surfactant. The problem, of course, is that these aggressive cleaners also contain solvents like isopropyl alcohol in Windex and ethanol in Dawn. Solvents can irreparably damage the polyurethane protecting the floor.  The perfect hardwood floor cleaning solution is aggressive enough to release 99% of the common floor contaminants into the cleaning solution without using chemicals that can invade, dissolve or degrade the polyurethane.

While there are a number of cleaning products on the market, it will come as no surprise that we believe Mr. Floor Wood Floor Cleaner is the safest and most effective cleaning solution for any wood floor. The surfactants in our wood floor cleaner are aggressive enough to break the bonds of dirt and grease from your floor’s coating without doing any harm to the coating itself.

In fact, the exact same wood floor cleaner that we sell to thousands of consumers is the same solution we use when we charge $500 to $1,000 for our wood floor deep cleaning surface.

How Mr. Floor Deep Cleans a Hardwood Floor

Increasingly we have clients call us in to deep clean their wood flooring.  Despite the cost, the speed and consistency with which we can deep clean a wood floor is very attractive, especially to those for whom time is money.

There’s no magic to our process (other than the Mr. Floor Wood Floor Cleaner). You simply need the right cleaning solution, a bountiful supply of cleaning cloths or microfiber mop pads, and either the mechanical or human muscle power required to release and wipe up loosened contaminants once they’re suspended in the water-based solution.

Of course, prior to any deep cleaning, you need to remove the loose surface dirt, hair and debris from your floor. This is an essential step. Do not use any wet cleaning solution on a floor that has not first been cleaned of loose debris. If you do, you’ll turn the loose dirt and debris into sand paper that scratches your floor with each pass of a mop.

Once the floor is free of loose debris, we start by spraying Mr. Floor Wood Floor Cleaner in a small section of the floor.  We then run a professional buffing machine equipped with white cotton cloths across the sprayed area.  After a few passes with the machine, we replace the cleaning cloths and repeat the process. If the white cloths come up dirty, we know we need to work the area again. When the cleaning cloths come off the buffing pads free from dirt, we’re ready to move on to the next section.

After a few hours and attending by hand to those sections that the buffing machine can’t reach, the floor is deep cleaned, beautiful and certain to pass the white sock test!

You Can Deep Clean a Floor Yourself

Of course, you don’t need a thousand-dollar professional buffing machine to deep clean your hardwood floor.  You can accomplish the same results by using a microfiber mob, a dozen or so microfiber pads and the time and energy to do exactly as we described above.

A sturdy microfiber mop is essential to allowing you
to really put some muscle into the cleaning.

The first step is to loosen the grease and dirt from the wood floor’s finish using Mr. Floor Wood Floor Cleaner and a microfiber mop and pad.  This is really easy. First, spray the cleaner on the floor (mist, not puddle) and then using a good amount of pressure, use the mop to “scrub” the floor. The microfiber pads will supply the mechanical friction required to pull up the dirt that the Mr. Floor Wood Floor Cleaner has loosened.

The microfiber mop pads also have enough padding to sufficiently emulate the flex of a machine pad.  It’s like using a sponge versus a sheet of paper towel to clean something.  The sponge conforms to an irregular surface, insuring that the entire floor is cleaned.

Professionals and Homeowners LOVE Mr Floor Wood Floor Cleaner

Second, after you’ve gone over the entire floor with a microfiber mop and pad, using Mr. Floor Cleaner to loosen the dirt, you need to repeat the process, replacing the microfiber mop pad with cotton bar mop towels.  Take a typical bar towel, fold it in thirds, and place it under the mop. It won’t be attached tightly, like with the microfiber pad, so you’ll need to be a little careful to insure that the towel doesn’t flop around under the mop.  It will take a bit of time to get the hang of it, but you’ll soon be a pro.

The cotton bar towels are more absorbent than the microfiber pads and do a good job at sopping up the solution of Mr. Floor Cleaner and suspended grease and grime. You could use a clean set of  microfiber mop pads to do a second or third pass on your floor, cotton towels are more convenient and less expensive.

Plus, white towels also give you that gratification of seeing the dirt collect on them as you spray and wipe the floor during several passes!

Depending on how much built up dirt you have on your floor, you may need go over the same area three, four or five times to truly match the quality that we can get with our buffing machine. As with most things, patience is a virtue and the more effort you put into the work, the better the results will be.

For Those Interested in Wood Floor Cleaning Perfection

Here’s a Mr. Floor Master Class tip.  If you’re serious about the most pristine and even-looking wood floor, you’ve got one more step.  After you’ve cleaned the floor to the point that it can pass the white sock test, put a dry pad on the mop and buff the cleaned area one more time.  You don’t need to apply a lot of force, like you did during the cleaning cycle. Just go back and forth over the area several times with the dry mop.

Buffing a floor after cleaning will pull up the microscopic film that forms on top of a just-cleaned polyurethane floor. This nearly invisible layer is cleaning solution that dried on the floor while you were cleaning.

Now the truth is that this last step isn’t totally necessary, especially for every-day cleaning. However, this is what it takes to achieve a Mr. Floor shine.

Resources You’ll Need to Deep Clean Your Wood Floor

Here’s a list of the things you’ll need to deep clean your wood floor

  1. Mr. Floor Wood Floor Cleaner (Not Windex, not vinegar and definitely not Murphy’s Oil Soap)
  2. A sturdy microfiber mop (NOT the cheap Swiffer mop)
  3. Plenty of microfiber pads (Figure on a dozen to rotate through the wash)
  4. A dozen white, 16″ x 9″ bar towels
  5. The time and patience to go over the same section of floor until it passes the White Sock Test.

That’s really it!

You can buy the first two things directly from our online store and if you use the coupon code “DeepClean20” you’ll save 20% off on your first order of any products in our store. (New customers only)

Write to us with any questions and to let us know if your floor can now pass the White Sock Test!



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