If the hardwood floors in your home have seen much better days and you can't stand looking at their grungy surface for one more day, then you will need to take special care to clean them. With other types of flooring, you can simply flood the surface with soapy water and then mop up the dirty water. However, if you get too much water on your hardwood floors you run the very real risk of the water intruding between the floorboards and warping them.
To safely deep clean your heavily-soiled hardware floors, follow this procedure:
Sweep Off All of the Surface Dust, Dirt, and Pet Hair
Before you can start deep-cleaning your floors, first you need to remove any surface dirt, dust, and pet hair. Since a vacuum can damage the hardwood, sweep the floors with a broom instead.
Check the Floors for Wax Buildup
If your hardwood floors have an overabundance of old floor wax, then they can take on a really dirty look even though they are actually clean. When this is the case, you can scrub them all day long and the floors will still look dirty when they dry.
To check for floor wax, put a drop of water on a floorboard and watch to see if it soaks in. If the spot soaks into the wood, then there isn't any wax present. However, if the water stays in place or dries into a white spot, then there is wax on the floor that you need to remove.
The safest way to remove old floor wax from a wood floor is with a product purchased at your local hardware store. Both Trewax and Zep make economical products that do this job well and come with easy-to-follow instructions.
Clean the Wood with a Spray Bottle of Bona Floor Cleaner and a Soft Cloth
Once any old wax layers have been stripped off of your hardwood floors and they have completely dried, then you can clean the wood floorboards using a hardwood floor-cleaning solution.
The safest and most effective way to clean your floors with a hardwood cleaning solution is to put it in a spray bottle and use a process of spraying it on and then wiping it off with a soft cloth made of a natural material. Take care to avoid getting the wood too wet, and scrub off any stubborn stains using a scrubby sponge.