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Old 10-29-2010, 04:30 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,819 posts, read 3,113,079 times
Reputation: 1441

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I just bought a townhouse that was originally a model home and then was owned by the builder before it became a foreclosure. I don't think anyone has actually lived in the place for any long period of time (the builder had a renter in it briefly) but the place is in good shape, but filthy.

I've been reading so much conflicting information on caring for hardwood floors, so I'm wondering how I should take care of cleaning the floors. The floors have some sort of seal, so I'm guessing it might be polyurethane, and I know that I'm not supposed to use water to clean the floors, but I've also read that products like Murphy's Oil Soap are a no-no as well. The kitchen floor has scuff marks that look like a result of maybe pulling the appliances away from the walls. The floors themselves aren't scratched, but the finish is just very, very dirty.

What can I use to safely clean these floors? I'm going to probably need something a bit more heavy duty than a soft broom or swiffer. I can broom clean the floor to get the dust and dirt off of it, but I'll need to remove the scuff marks too. I just don't want to hurt the floor!

Also, I've seen "hardwood floor care kits" on sites like amazon.com that come with specific wood finish cleaner and special mops, etc. Are these worth the cost?

Thanks!

Last edited by cowboyxjon; 10-29-2010 at 04:41 PM..
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Old 10-29-2010, 05:53 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,833 posts, read 21,956,687 times
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Probably the best thing to do (if you haven't actually moved-in yet) is have them refinished. And from your description would basically be a screening (light sanding) and a new coat of polyurethane. Get two coats if you can afford it- you won't be disappointed! They'll look dynamite- and you'll have a fresh floor to care for.
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:06 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
605 posts, read 2,111,423 times
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It seems silly to refinish the floors without first cleaning them to really see what you've got under all that dirt. I personally like Bona hardwood floor cleaner. The key to cleaning hardwood floors is not to leave puddles of standing water/cleaner. As long as you spray on and wipe off the cleaner, it's fine. Bona also sells a special mop/applicator but to be honest I don't know how well it will work on a really grungy floor. You may be better off on your hands and knees with the cleaner, a spray bottle, and a rag. Just work a small section at a time and rinse the rag often. Remember, no puddles of water/cleaner. The scuff marks from dragging the appliances around might actually be damage in the finish so they may not come out. Good luck!
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Old 10-29-2010, 11:50 PM
 
Location: Seaford, Delaware
3,360 posts, read 10,442,961 times
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I also have hardwood floors that I have NOT refinished. I have them in rentals and get the units returned in really bad shape. I scrub the floors with a Scotch green scrubby and 50/50 water and ammonia. The scrubby will loosen any dirt and get the scuffs off the wood. rinsing with clean water( not alot), just a wet mop until clear will take all the dirt up. If needed, a coat of polyurethane can be applied even if there is already poly on the floor.
It's hard work the first time, but each time it's easier.
I also did it in my own home, but I think I keep the floors cleaner and care for them better than a tenant. So I never need to redo my own floors. At least I have not needed to redo them in the 6 years since I last did them.
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Old 10-30-2010, 04:58 AM
 
Location: Hernando, FL
749 posts, read 1,213,309 times
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So far, the best I've found was Orange Glo hardwood 4 in 1 cleans, shines, protects, revitalizes. I did 4' x4' sections spreading it around with a dry swifter mop and it really brought out the color and shine, but it was short-lived as my floor could use some sanding and re-sealing.
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Old 10-30-2010, 05:18 AM
 
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
784 posts, read 934,786 times
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My cleaning lady uses vinegar/water. Not sure the mix but she does that every other visit and swiffer wet jets the other. She really thinks the vinegar does well and it is cheap!

I would just try a small inconspicuous area and see what works best.
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:13 AM
 
20,797 posts, read 32,810,594 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1coolcustomer View Post
So far, the best I've found was Orange Glo hardwood 4 in 1 cleans, shines, protects, revitalizes. I did 4' x4' sections spreading it around with a dry swifter mop and it really brought out the color and shine, but it was short-lived as my floor could use some sanding and re-sealing.
I like this for general cleaning but if the floors are really dirty to start, I would take some water and vinegar and clean the floors on your hands and knees. You will be able to do a better job that way and the little bit of vinegar in the water will cut through and bad spots. I would then use the Orange Glo with a microfiber mop to keep it clean.
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:19 AM
 
Location: Sunny Florida
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Windex without ammonia works very well. That's what my hardwood floor guy recommended to me. I thought it sounded goofy, but it works.
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Old 10-30-2010, 07:01 AM
 
21,720 posts, read 37,184,337 times
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Windex is not an effective floor cleaner. Ammonia is not effective. Vinegar is not effective. All of the folks that say otherwise probably have not compared those concoctions to just plain water, which does an ok job of assisting in the pick-up of simple dust and non- greasy dirt. To use enough ammonia or vinegar to actually get greasy dirt up you would defiantly be crossing the line into getting your floor TOO WET.

OrangeGlo and other products that have similar formula do work, I would use it very sparingly. If you have big pile of towels / old fashioned cloth diapers and don't mind getting on your hands & knees that is really the best way. Scubby pads are not a good idea,as even the least abrasive can mess up the finish on floors.

The reason Orange Glo works is that the solution has enough of the citrus oils / solvents to loosen really stubborn dirt. The little bit of water that they use is not enough to damage the floor unless you were to pour the stuff directly in puddle.

Once the floor is clean you can probably rely on a big "micro fiber" floor mop like the one from Bona. The basic floor cleaner they have is fine for a quick little spitz to help get up minor remains of spilled food and such, but for a really filthy floor, which it sound like the OP is facing, you need something that has something more than the "surfactants and water" that is in Bona.

If the OrangeGlo does not get all the dirt you probably want to talk to a hardwood guy abbot refinishing. If things are not deeply scratched / worn a "recoat" may be possible.

As for "scuffs" there are several kinds of marks left on floors. One of the easier one to remove are black heel marks. You can use a regular old pink pencil easer to literally rub off the black heel material. If the scuff was caused be something being dragged / grinding away the finish I have used the super fine car polish to buff it out. If the scratch is large this is time consuming, but it is safest.
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:23 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,819 posts, read 3,113,079 times
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Thanks for all of the feedback and suggestions! I bought the Boca hardwood floor kit and was able to clean the floor through a combination of the Boca spray solution and a soft mop AND getting down on my hands and knees and scrubbing the scuffed areas. The floor looks great now!
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