How To Clean Engineered Hardwood Floors
If you’re wondering how to clean engineered hardwood floors, then you’re in the right place. Maybe you’ve just got new floors installed, or your current ones could do with a good cleaning. Either way, we’ll break down all you need to know.
We’ll cover the best way to get your floors nice and clean, as well as a way to do it using only natural products. Lastly, we’ll go through the steps for when you need to do a big thorough deep clean. Keep reading to learn exactly how to take care of your engineered hardwood floor.
What this article covers:
- What Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?
- What Can You Use to Clean Engineered Hardwood Floors?
- The Best Way to Clean Engineered Hardwood Floors
- Natural Way to Clean Engineered Hardwood Floors
- How to Deep Clean Engineered Hardwood Floors
What Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?
Firstly, what is engineered hardwood flooring, and why is cleaning it different from how to clean oak wood floors, or how to clean raw wood floors? While engineered hardwood looks similar to actual hardwood, that’s only on the surface.
Engineered hardwood is made from plywood with a layer of hardwood on top. This makes it a lot more affordable than solid hardwood, which can be very pricey. Engineered hardwood gives you the beautiful finish of hardwood at a fraction of the price.
But the fact that it is made up of layers of plywood, rather than one solid piece of wood means that it has different cleaning requirements. It’s the same logic as how to clean shiny wood floors being very different from how to clean unfinished wood floors before staining.
Another major difference is how long these different types of floors will last you.
Unlike solid hardwood floors, engineered hardwood cannot be refinished or sanded down, because there is only a thin layer of hardwood on the top. This means that once they are worn, they will need to be replaced. However, with proper maintenance and cleaning, they can last around 20-30 years.
What Can You Use To Clean Engineered Hardwood Floors?
With engineered hardwood floors, you’ll have to look into what is the best way to clean prefinished hardwood floors. This is because engineered hardwood is almost always sold prefinished and ready to install. It has a lovely shiny finish and looks great in a home.
That’s why it's so important to know how best to clean it, and keep it looking fresh and new for as long as possible. It’s important to remember that while it is engineered, the top layer is still genuine hardwood, and needs to be looked after accordingly.
This means that you need to make sure all of the supplies you are using are appropriate for hardwood floors. While you can get excellent professional carpet cleaning products, that won’t be helpful if you’re trying to clean engineered hardwood floors.
The Best Way To Clean Engineered Hardwood Floors
This might seem simple, but you need to start off by sweeping your floors regularly, ideally daily. Engineered hardwood is often very smooth, with fewer cracks and gaps than other wooden floors. This means that there is less space for dirt to get trapped, but it also makes it very obvious when the floor is dirty.
Engineered hardwood is slightly similar to tiles in this regard, but you definitely can’t use something like a tile cleaner. The Hydro-Force Gekko SX-7 tile cleaner is a brilliant choice for your tiles, but will only damage your engineered hardwood.
Make sure you choose a broom that is designed for wood, and not one for outside use. You want to make sure that the bristles are firm enough to dislodge dirt, while also not so hard that they will scratch your floor.
Mop Or Vacuum Weekly
On top of this basic maintenance, you want to do a more intense clean at least once a week. We recommended either a dry mop of the floor after you’ve swept the floor, or even using a vacuum.
If you do use a vacuum, make sure that you are using a head specifically designed for hardwood floors. And if you opt for a mop, always use a microfiber mop as this is the best for your floor.
Doing this means that you’ll have a wonderfully clean floor, and have to put a lot less effort into deep cleaning.
Immediately Clean Stains
As soon as you spill something on your engineered hardwood floor, you need to clean it up immediately. Anything left to soak in can leave a long-lasting stain. Particularly with liquids, you need to get them dried up as soon as possible.
Start with soaking up the liquid using a microfiber towel. If a stain is left behind, try to remove it using a specific cleaner designed for hardwood floors. If you don’t have one, there are a few homemade alternatives.
Two natural options are a bicarb or a vinegar solution, which we’ll look at later. Another is a mixture of water and a few drops of gentle dish soap. Apply this mixture to the floor, scrubbing gently, and then immediately dry it.
The faster you clean the spill, the less likely it is to leave a stain. Make sure to avoid putting too much water on the floor, as this will make the problem worse and create a new stain. Be very careful of the homemade recipes, particularly those using things like lemon that are very acidic.
If you are concerned about scratches showing up on your engineered hardwood floors, you can invest in a scratch concealer that both covers up visible scratches and leaves behind a protective coating.
Get Your Floor Refinished Every 5 Years
Lastly, the way to make sure that your floors stay in top-notch condition over the years is to get in professionals every 5 or so years.
Natural Way To Clean Engineered Hardwood Floors
If you are wanting to avoid the use of chemicals in your home, there is also a natural alternative to help clean engineered hardwood floors. But, be careful of other home remedies, as these can cause significant harm to your flooring.
When opting for a natural cleaning method, the first few steps are exactly the same. Your floor needs to be swept and dry-mopped, and you can also vacuum it. This removes superficial dirt and dust.
The key distinction in this step would be in your choice of tools - maybe you’re looking for the best tool to clean wood floors, or maybe you’re focused on choosing a plastic-free mop or broom. The basic advice stays the same: be gentle with your floor, and always opt for a microfiber mop if possible.
Vinegar Water Solution
As with many natural cleaning alternatives, vinegar is the key to getting things clean without using harsh chemicals. The chemicals used in hardwood cleaners aren’t harsh, as they are designed to protect the wood, but that doesn’t mean vinegar isn’t a workable alternative.
What is very important is to make sure you are diluting the vinegar enough. Straight vinegar will damage the hardwood, so you must ensure that you use 1 cup of white vinegar in 2 gallons of lukewarm water. This solution is strong enough to clean without being too harsh for the floor.
The reason that this works so well as a natural cleaning agent is that the acidity of the vinegar strips away the dirt and potential contaminants in the wood without doing any damage to your floors.
Spot Clean With Bicarb
As part of your natural cleaning regimen, you can clear problematic spots with a bicarb and water solution. You can simply make a paste and leave it on the stain for a few minutes before wiping it up with a damp cloth. You then need to follow this up by drying it with a clean cloth.
Bicarb is a very effective stain remover, and people often choose it over store-bought alternatives. It also won’t do any damage to your floor unless you let it dry there. However, avoid using other homemade cleaning agents like lemon juice as these will gradually damage the wood.
How To Deep Clean Engineered Hardwood Floors
Now that you’ve got the hang of keeping your engineered hardwood floors clean, let’s talk about how to do your deep clean every few months. Obviously, you need to start with a swept, vacuumed floor.
This deep cleaning is about going above and beyond to fully refresh your floors and have them look brand new again.
Invest in a Proper Cleaning Product
When it comes to deep cleaning, you have to be very careful when choosing your cleaning product. You can’t just use a general hardwood cleaning solution, but have to use one formulated specifically for engineered hardwood floors.
What’s more, you need to use the one recommended by the manufacturer of your specific engineered hardwood floor. That’s because the production of engineered hardwood varies so much amongst different brands. The chemical composition of the finish is different, so it required a very specific cleaner.
As a general rule, stay very far away from cleaners containing bleach and ammonia, as these are very likely to react badly with your floors and cause serious damage.
Get Scrubbing (Gently)
Once you have your cleaning solution, you want to lightly mist it on a small area of floor around 2-3ft, and then mop it with a dry broom. Because engineered hardwood floors come prefinished, you can use some water on them, but you still want to avoid getting too much water on the floor.
One option is to do this using a traditional mop, and you can read all about our pick for the best mop to clean hardwood floors. With this, you get to control the pressure you put on the floor to make sure it doesn’t get damaged. It’s very important to never use a steam cleaner on engineered hardwood floors. The combination of moisture and the pressure of the steam is particularly bad for your floor.
If you are wanting to try out some of the best tools to clean wood floors, you can look into the Orbot Floor Scrubber, which is multifunctional and can be used on a number of surfaces.
When it comes to how to clean engineered hardwood floors, you have a lot of options, and also many things to stay aware of. You need to remember that these floors are a unique material that must be treated accordingly.
These floors can be a great addition to your house, and elevate the style for much less than actual hardwood floors. And while they have particular cleaning needs, they aren’t actually a hassle to maintain.
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