engineered hardwood floors

What Is the Best Way to Clean Engineered Hardwood Floors?

When you're deciding between hardwood and engineered hardwood, there are a lot of factors to consider. While hardwood may last longer, engineered hardwood provides flexible finishes, lower prices, and quicker installation. Plus, it's a great hardwood alternative in high-moisture areas.

How does engineered hardwood compare when it comes to cleaning? We've tested all sorts of methods and found that cleaning floors made of engineered hardwood is a breeze.

We're here to pass on our secrets. Read on to learn the best way to clean engineered hardwood floors (and what to avoid).

Why Engineered Hardwood Care Matters

One of the biggest concerns with any type of hardwood floor is scratching or scuff marks. Modern engineered flooring is much more scratch-resistant than many of the alternatives, but regular cleaning is the best way to prevent scratching from occurring.

Regular cleaning can also prevent stains and help to maintain that polished, natural finish. Unlike regular hardwood, you can't sand down engineered hardwood as often as needed to reveal a pristine surface. Engineered flooring has a thin veneer of natural wood on top of a plywood core, and too much sanding will strip that veneer away.

In short, using proper cleaning methods can increase your engineered hardwood floor lifespan and slow down the process of surface-level wear and tear.

The Best Way to Clean Engineered Hardwood Floors

The great thing about engineered hardwood floors is that keeping them clean isn't a long and complicated process. As long as you commit to regular care, you won't have to worry about long-term care (like waxing and refurbishing) for years at a time.

Daily Care

In your high-traffic areas, you should commit to sweeping your engineered hardwood floors once a day (or every other day). In low-traffic areas, you may only need to sweep once a week to remove dust and grime.

Make sure to use a soft-bristled broom that won't scratch away the finish or grind debris into the wood. Regular sweeping can keep floors looking their best while preventing scratches caused by rough materials like sediment.

Weekly Care

Engineered hardwood floors don't retain nearly as much dust and pollutants as carpeting. However, your broom may miss some of the fine particles that can negatively impact your indoor air quality.

Once a week, vacuum your engineered hardwood flooring. Make sure to use a soft-bristled vacuum or attachment.

Monthly Care

Depending on your preferences, you can usually make mopping a monthly chore with engineered hardwood flooring. (Keep in mind that you should also spot-mop spills.)

We recommend using a microfiber mop on your engineered hardwood flooring. Wet the mop but don't oversaturate and make sure to dry your floors after mopping is complete. For the best results, mop with the direction of the grain of the wood, rather than against it.

Long-Term Care

Like typical hardwood flooring, engineered wood flooring will benefit from occasional waxing. Take a look at our more detailed guide to hardwood floor waxing, which you may need to do every 6 to 18 months, depending on wear and tear. Waxing or polishing your floors will restore that lustrous, like-new shine while adding a protective layer to the veneer.

There will come a time when you need to refurbish engineered hardwood flooring. This involves sanding down the top layer and adding a new coat of finish. As we mentioned earlier, you can only sand engineered hardwood two to three times, and regular cleaning will prolong your need for refurbishing.

How to Make a DIY Engineered Hardwood Cleaner

Water and elbow grease are often enough to mop or remove spills from your engineered hardwood. However, you may prefer a more robust approach to your floor care.

If you're going to purchase a floor cleaner, make sure it is designed for engineered hardwood. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid damage or health hazards.

If you'd prefer to make your own cleaner, all you'll need is:

  • One cup of distilled water
  • One cup of white vinegar
  • A few drops of mild dish soap
  • Optional: 10-15 drops of an essential oil of your choosing (for scent)

Add the ingredients to a spray bottle and shake to mix. To use your DIY floor cleaner, spray a light mist on the floor and wipe it away using a microfiber cloth. You can also use this spray while mopping your floor.

Always take care when making your own cleaners. There are many household ingredients that can create toxic reactions when mixed.

What to Avoid When Caring for Engineered Hardwood

Before you get started on taking care of your engineered hardwood floors, it's important to know what not to do. Learn what to avoid when you're in a pinch and deviating from the floor care plan we've outlined above.

Abrasive Scrubbers

There's a reason why we've specified the use of non-abrasive applicators like soft-bristled vacuum attachments and microfiber cloths. Any abrasive scrubber, like a hard plastic scrub brush or steel wool, can wear down the finish on your floors and scratch the hardwood below. It may take a little extra elbow grease to remove gunk, but stick with soft supplies.

Steam Cleaners

Steam cleaners are all the rage these days and they're great for all sorts of uses. One thing they're not great for is cleaning engineered hardwood floors. The high temperature and concentrated moisture can damage porous surfaces, causing warping that is hard to repair.

Harsh Chemicals

When you want to get your floors squeaky clean, it may seem intuitive to reach for heavy hitters like bleach or ammonia. The truth is that doing so can cause discoloration on the wood's surface. Always spot test a new cleaner before using it on your entire floor and avoid bleaching agents altogether.

Call National Floors Direct for Engineered Hardwood Options

Now that you know the best way to clean engineered hardwood floors, it's time to make a final decision. Is engineered hardwood the way to go for your home?

National Floors Direct is a nationwide company that brings the store right to your door. We'll show you all the flooring samples you want to see and offer lower prices than the lowest prices you can find in your city. Start with your free flooring estimate to see just how low our prices are for some of the best brands in flooring.