Hardwood floors are one of the most pleasing materials in interior design. And for most people, the type of floors they have in their house or apartment is not up to them.
And if you’ve found yourself with hardwood floors in your home, it’s both a blessing and a curse all at once.
They’re durable, attractive, and relatively easy to clean.
If you’ve been asking “How often should you mop wood floors?” check out our guide below on the finer points of making those floors shine.
Sealed Vs. Unsealed
Before we get started, we’d also like to mention that it’s important to try and find out whether your wood floors are sealed or unsealed.
Sealed wood can be mopped with no problems, as long as it’s dried fairly quickly.
Unsealed wood will still have a fair amount of water resistance but shouldn’t be exposed to copious amounts of water for too long.
When mopping unsealed wood floors, make sure to wring out your mop thoroughly so that it’s just moist. This will help preserve your floors for years to come.
If you’re not sure whether your floors are sealed or unsealed, then it’s best to err on the side of caution and follow the above instructions for unsealed floors.
A General Rule of Thumb
Regardless of how many people live in your household and how much traffic your wood floors have to deal with, it’s a good rule of thumb to try and mop wood floors at least once a week.
This will help make sure that any dust or dirt that has accumulated on the floors over the past 7 days won’t have a chance to ground into the wood by even more foot traffic.
Even if you’re not able to fully mop and clean your floors once a week, try to make an effort to sweep and/or dust about three times a week.
Wood floors that experience light traffic may be in a room that doesn’t see much activity. A dining room or living room would be a good example of light traffic areas in most homes, especially if these spaces aren’t used on a daily basis.
While we still recommending mopping your floors once a week, if possible, light traffic floors may only need to be dusted regularly.
Most wood floors, whether in a residential building or an office building, tend to fall under the category of moderate traffic.
This just means that they’re likely to see a significant amount of foot traffic, 7 days a week. Much of this traffic may also include shoes or boots, all of which may be carrying dirt or other contaminants on their soles.
Moderate traffic wood floors should be cleaned at least once a week, preferably twice or three times to help maintain their quality.
The floors should be swept first, removing all particulates. Then you can move onto mopping and drying the floors thoroughly.
Falling behind on cleaning moderate traffic wood floors can lead to the degradation of the hardwood over time and may even require replacement in just a few years, which is a much shorter lifespan than wood floors tend to enjoy.
Heavy traffic wood floors can be defined as areas where 15 or more people are walking across them every single day.
Heavy traffic wood floors tend not to be found in homes, but rather the lobbies of apartment buildings or in businesses and other public buildings.
We recommend mopping heavy traffic wood floors either every day or every other day. This kind of consistent cleaning is absolutely necessary to keeping your floors looking great and ready to last for decades.
Another great tip that may help preserve your heavy traffic floors is to provide highly absorbent floor mats at the entrance points to the area. This will give everyone another chance to brush their shoes clean before stepping onto the hardwood.
We also highly recommending polishing wood floors in high traffic areas for extra protection.
A Note on Polishing
Regardless of how much action your wood floors are seeing on a daily basis, polishing your floors can add some extra shine, making them look brand new.
Polishing compounds also offer a thin layer of protection from any of the horrors your floors may face.
Polish can also help fill minor scratches in your floors and hide small blemishes.
Polishing should be done once a month or every two weeks, depending on your needs. Be sure to give the floors plenty of time to dry before allowing anyone to walk on them.
This will help guarantee that the polish has settled.
How to Maintain Clean Floors
We’d like to offer just a few additional tips as to how you can make sure that your floors stay beautiful and durable for the foreseeable future.
As we mentioned in the heavy traffic section above, providing high-quality welcome mats can help save your floors a lot of strife. They also tend to be easy to clean, making them a no-brainer for preserving your floors.
Try to get an up-close view of your floors every once in a while. Look for imperfections, stains, or scratches you may not have noticed before.
If you find any major defects, you can start looking into ways to resolve these problems without breaking the bank.
And finally, if your wood floors in a high-traffic area such as a hallway are taking a lot of abuse, despite your best efforts, then you may want to purchase a narrow runner rug that you can lay in the hallway.
Yes, it will cover a portion of the floors, but the hardwood will still be visible around the outside of the rug. Also, people will naturally make an effort to walk on the rug, not the hardwood itself.
In closing, we’d like to say that all this effort to keep your wood floors clean and beautiful is definitely worth it.
And once you’re in the routine of cleaning your floors on a regular basis, you may not even mind taking the effort.
If you’re looking to clean more than just your floors, check out this article on cleaning an entire apartment.