Cleaning Tips: Wood Floor Care The Right Way

Practical advice to get the job done more efficiently

Styles come and go — remember shag carpet? That’s actually good for carpet and hard floor cleaning professionals, especially if you take the time to stay in touch with the latest cleaning techniques.

One trend is the growing popularity of wood, cork and other hard floor materials. You can profit from this trend if you have existing customers who have or are considering installing wood flooring in their home or business. William Griffin, in an article on wood floor care in, recognizes the opportunities and offers some practical advice for cleaning wood floors the right way.

“In the past,” Griffin says, “many of these flooring materials required detailed procedures, products and equipment in order to properly maintain and restore their natural beauty without the risk of damage.”

The good news is that finish manufacturers have kept pace by developing more advanced cleaning products so it’s easier than ever to clean wood floors — even if they’re actually laminates, engineered wood or exotic materials like cork or bamboo.

First steps involve inspecting and testing the floor’s condition. Failing to do that, says Griffin, leads to problems. Other red flags are failing to communicate with the customer “regarding limitation of the process, and a tendency to oversell the process when, in fact, a complete sand and refinish is what’s needed to obtain acceptable results in the eye of the buyer.”

If you get a job treating wood floors, develop a checklist to make sure you cover your bases:

  • Communicate with your client — photograph the problem areas and show finish examples (gloss, satin etc.)
  • Test the existing finish with the cleaning products you plan to use
  • Create a “scope of work” and have the customer sign it — it should specify number of coats and cost
  • Apply thin to medium coats
  • Rinse well
  • Do not use air movers (they can stir up dust and ripple the finish)
  • Give your customer instructions on proper cleaning of the surface
  • Make a note to yourself to keep in touch with your customers — wood floors need to be recoated every few years and this is your chance to generate repeat business.

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