questionswhat the best way to clean hardwood floors?

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I tried steam cleaning mine and I think it damaged the finish. It's not as shiny as it used to be.

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You really shouldn't use a mop and water on hardwood floors unless you know that it is completely sealed (water cannot get under it). Very few floors outside a gym are that way any longer.

What you should use is somthing like Bona or Bruce Hardwood Floor cleaner and a "mop" specifically designed for the purpose. I've used Bona for years, no problem even through 3 kids and several dogs.

Pretty much anything else will limit the life of the floor finish and may even invalidate any manufacturer's warranty you have. The secret is to do it regularly, and not wait until its too bad.

If you have a particularly bad section, it will require some close down attention, but the effort is worth it.

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@tippypaws: Are your floors true hardwood or laminate? I have true hardwood floor in my bedroom and laminate throughout the house. I live in a very dry climate and the hardwood floor in my bedroom is probably 60 years old at this point (my house is 100 this year) and it was looking dull and lifeless. It also had some scratches and stains on it. I rented a sander from Home Depot and sanded it, cleaned it well to pick up all the sawdust, then lemon oiled it. After allowing the lemon oil to sink in for a week, I cleaned it (sweeping, not with water) and applied oil-based varnish. The results were unbelievable, it looked like it was brand new. I clean with a mop and murphy's oil soap, and about once a month lay down a layer of lemon oil. The floor stays supple and richly colored (and smells great). Whether that's the best approach I can't say, but I am pleased with the results.

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@moondrake: Definitely true hardwood. This house was built in the 50s and it has the original wood floors.
Excellent advice. I'll look into it! Thanks :)