What Not to Clean Your Hardwood Floor With

I was walking through a supermarket yesterday and glanced down at the array of hardwood cleaners. I couldn’t help to stop and look if any had the dreaded “shine” on the front of the bottle. Wow! Most possessed that most excellent persuasive word: “Shine!” Note: Other synonyms apply: Glow, Polish, Gloss, Rejuvenate, Protects, Revitalizes, etc.

While I’m sure it isn’t true for every hardwood cleaner, I’m confident it is for most. The word “shine” indicates the hardwood floor cleaner likely possesses some time of acrylic wax. Unlike urethane finish, acrylic was is a soft, short-term hard surface finish that lasts 3 to 6 months.

The best analogy to help homeowners understand acrylic wax is that it’s like a bad addiction; after using it once, you must keep using it until intervention. After applying the acrylic finish, the floors look nice and shiny, though it’s really a chintzy type of shine. But after a few months of walking on it, the acrylic looks drab and dull again.

This motivates the homeowner to apply more because, well, it’s dull again. This cycle continues until years later the floor is so globby the homeowner breaks down to call a professional hardwood floor cleaning service.

At this point, the customer may not even know that the last ten years she’s been applying a wax not realizing how difficult it is even for a professional to remove the wax finish. After a short intervention, denial and final acceptance, we explain that the hardwood must be stripped of the wax, which is far more invasive than cleaning it.

What To Do Next?
If you discover your hardwood cleaner, or your maid’s hardwood cleaner has the word “shine” on it, call the company or visit their website and search for a Safety Data Sheet (SDS). This will tell you if it contains acrylic polymer(s), which has several different names. If it does, you are welcome to call us for wax removal quote, but please note, we cannot remove all of the acrylic wax, only a significant amount.

Another option is to have a hardwood floor refinisher sand the wax off the floor in what is known as a Screen and Coat service. This requires all the furniture to be removed and can get expensive and messy.

If you have any further questions about caring for your hardwood floor, give us call or drop us a line.

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