What Can I Use to Get Smudges & Smears Off My Hardwood Floor?

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Cleaning wood floors is a snap with the right techniques.

While some people prefer the ease and comfort of carpet covering the floors of their house, many opt for the polished look of a hardwood floor. Though this can be a significant investment in your house, the wooden floors can pay off with their sharp looks if you keep them clean. This can sometimes be harder than it sounds, as your floors may tend to collect smudges and smears. But these eyesores can be removed with some easy techniques.

Water-Based Cleaners

As one of the cheapest and easiest methods of removing smudges and smears from your hardwood floors, water-based cleaners are safe and can be used on floors of different finishes. With a water-based cleaner, you should normally apply about three coats onto your floor, but it may take as much as four in areas with heavy traffic or multiple trouble spots to remove the smudges. These cleaners will not react with the oil or wax-based finish of your floor, but they work to effectively remove the spots and blemishes.

pH-Neutral Cleaners

A pH-neutral cleaner can be one of the most effective tools in cleaning your finished floor, and leaves a glossy shine on your hardwoods. In addition to removing the smears and smudges, this type of cleaner can dissolve dirt and grease as well. Be careful, however, to monitor your use of this type of cleaner. Extended use of pH-neutral cleaners may leave your floor dull over time. They are also not as safe as water-based cleaners, and you should be careful not to expose your skin to them.

A Damp Mop

A much simpler way to clean your hardwood floors, the effectiveness of a damp mop should not be underestimated. If the smudges and smears are not deep into the surface, a damp mop can get rid of the spots in as little as two cleanings. Start by wetting your mop slightly, wringing it out to almost dry, and then going over your floor twice. The first pass dissolves the smudges, smears or dirt, and the second pass gives you the chance to wipe them off of the floor.

Wood Washes

A wood wash is a type of product that is meant specifically for use with wooden items, such as your hardwood floors. This cleaning solution is safe on a glossy finish, and is both concentrated and inexpensive. Apply the wood wash with a mop, or apply it while on your hands and knees. This will allow you to really attack the smudges and smears with a soft brush or with a wet rag. After scrubbing the spots, you can then remove them from the floor with a clean pass with your rag or mop.


Jean Asta

Jean Asta has been a freelance writer for domestic and international clients since 2005. She also acts as a training consultant to businesses and nonprofit organizations in the southeast United States. Asta holds a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management and a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, both from the University of Georgia.