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Hardwood Cleaning 101: Sometimes It's Okay to Throw Food on the Floor

by Matthew Fields

When you want tidy, shiny floors between professional cleanings, it's actually helpful to use a few specific food products on some floors. There are several rules to follow if you want to try offering your floor a bit of food and drink to keep it clean. The first rule is, you won't actually be throwing food on the floor. There are several other key points to remember:

No vinaigrette dressing allowed on the floor. Ever.

If you've recently had your hardwood, laminate, or bamboo flooring installed, you should follow the manufacturer's suggestions when choosing cleaning products. Modern flooring shouldn't be exposed to vinegar, which will actually dull the shine on some floors.

If you have older hardwood flooring that's sealed, there are some experts who suggest mixing vinegar with other materials to clean floors, but it's best to play it safe and use another cleaning formula or product.

Mild, water-based cleaners are usually fine for a damp mop or quick spill cleanup. There are disposable mop pads, preloaded with hardwood-safe cleaning solutions, available for homeowners who prefer convenience.

Plain oil dressing is fine for most floors.

A light coating of olive oil will work on most hardwood or laminate floors. There are recipes for floor-cleaning solutions that combine olive oil, lemon oil, soap, and water. Cleaners like this are perfect for families who want to go more green when they clean.

Check first to be sure the oils will not harm your particular type of flooring. Be sure to use only a scant amount, and wipe wood off thoroughly after applying any oil or oil mix. Hardwood floors can become dangerously slick if excess oil is not buffed or wiped off immediately.

Scratchy floors love a spot of black tea.

If you have stubborn scratches on older, unsealed floors, brew up a pot of tea as dark as your flooring, and give your planks a sip. The tannins in the tea will help hide obvious marks and scuffs and will give a warmer look to the floor.

Make sure floors are swept or vacuumed first so there are no crumbs, dust blobs, or pet hairs to deal with, and protect carpets and furniture. Use the tea sparingly. You never want to get hardwood floors too wet, since water will seep between the boards and could damage them or the sub-flooring.

If you have unique or stubborn spots on your hardwood, laminate, or bamboo flooring, consult floor cleaning professionals to find out the best remedies. The experts, ones like J Maintenance Co, have tools and products to deal with every sort of stain on most types of flooring, and they can repair sections of flooring that are damaged.