Hardwood floors can get visibly dirty fast, especially if you have a busy household. Understanding what causes your floors to get so filthy can be helpful in keeping your hardwood floors cleaner and for longer periods.
Reasons your hardwood floors are always dirty include cleaning product build-up, heavy foot traffic, pets, or poor air filtration. Sunlight, tracking in ice and salt, and dust can also leave floors dirty and dull. Dragging furniture, wearing shoes indoors and not cleaning them often are also causes.
This article will further explain the many reasons hardwood floors get so dirty and offer solutions to help with this problem.
1. Cleaning Product Build-up
If you use cleaning products that claim to make your hardwood floors shine, they may end up doing the exact opposite if used regularly or not according to the product instructions.
These cleaning products often contain wax and oils and, after continuous use, will create a layer of residue and make your floors look incredibly dingy.
This residue layer can become thicker each time you use the cleaning solution. Once there is a build-up, cleaning it off will be impossible without having to get on your hands and knees and scrubbing your floors for hours with mineral spirits or denatured alcohol. You could also strip, sand, and refinish your floors; however, that is a significant expense.
A cleaning product that is safe to use on hardwood floors and won’t dull its shine or leave a residue is Usnyabni Woodwise No-Wax Hardwood Floor Cleaner Concentrate (available on Amazon.com). This cleaner does not coat the wood but absorbs it into the wood nourishing your hardwood floors and leaving them shiny.
2. Heavy Foot Traffic
If you have high-traffic areas in your house, you may have noticed that the floor doesn’t have the same shine as parts of your floor that see less action. Busier areas are far more susceptible to dirt, grime, and gunk build-up.
This is due to the oils on the bottom of your feet coming in contact with your wood floors when barefoot. The oils from feet can wear down the finish of your floors, causing them to become dull in those high traffic areas.
To prevent flooring in high-traffic areas from always looking dirty, consider sweeping and cleaning the floors more often. If you don’t have time, investing in a robot vacuum cleaner can keep your hardwood floors looking clean and shiny.
3. Wearing Shoes Indoors
If you allow shoes to be worn in your house, it is likely a major cause of why your hardwood floors always look so dirty. Shoes can cause scuff marks and leave scratches, or even dents in the flooring, making it easy to trap dirt and bacteria.
Shoes also track in dirt and debris from outside each time you reenter the home. If everyone in your household wears shoes inside the house, the amount of dirt and debris landing on your hardwood floors multiplies.
Having a designated shoe area when you first enter the home is an excellent place to start to resolve this problem. If everyone takes their shoes off as soon as they get home, the amount of dirt and debris coming in from outside will be much more limited.
4. You Have Pets Inside
If you have pets, you know they are an important part of the home. As wonderful and loveable as pets are, they can leave a real mess on your hardwood floors.
Pets spend most of their time on the floor. As a result of this, it can cause your floors to look dull and dirty. Dogs and cats are among the most common household pets, and they shed a lot of fur. Fur lands on everything but mostly the floor, and also leaves oils behind, which, over time, can wear away the layer of finish on your hardwood.
Pets can also have sharp nails that may dig into the flooring when they walk and run around, leaving scratches behind. When dogs need a bathroom break, they track in dirt and mud from the yard on their paws which can easily get caked into the scratches left on the hardwood floors by their nails.
If you believe that your pet is the cause of your dirty-looking hardwood floors, you may need to sweep, vacuum and clean them more regularly.
Keeping your pets’ nails trimmed will help keep floor scratches to a minimum, and brushing your pets more often will help keep the shedding more under control.
5. Poor Air Filtration
It’s essential to clean your air filter every so often so that it works as it should. Air filters are used to push or pull air through a filter to remove contaminants and pollution from the air you breathe.
Properly maintaining your air filter and cleaning it out as often as recommended will help keep the contaminants from floating through the air and falling onto your hardwood floors. If your filter gets too clogged up with dirt, the air being pushed through it will end up forcing all the dust and dirt the air filter trapped into the air and ending up making your hardwood floors dirty.
6. Sunlight and UV Ray Damage
If your hardwood floor is always in direct sunlight, you risk damaging your floors. Sunlight and UV rays can cause discoloration and fading to your floors, creating an eye sore. That’s also one of the main reasons wooden decks look dirty. [This is Why Your Wooden Deck Always Looks Dirty]
If you have rugs on the floor, the sun can cause outline stains, and once the rug is removed, there will be a noticeable difference in color. The sun also makes the presence of dust in the air and on the floors more obvious when the light hits it just right.
To reduce the risk of fading and discoloration and the noticeability of dust accumulating on your hardwood floors, you can close the curtains to limit the hardwood’s exposure to the sun. Window tint can also help block out the sunlight and UV rays to protect your hardwood floors.
If this is not possible, consider treating your hardwood floors with a layer of UV protection varnish.
7. You Are Tracking in Ice and Salt
If it snows in your area during winter, this could have an impact on your hardwood floors. With winter comes ice, and with ice comes salt.
The salt used to melt ice on the sidewalks and streets is brought into your home on your snow-covered shoes, which is damaging to hardwood floors. Rock salt contains calcium chloride, which will eat through the finish on your hardwood floors, leaving behind stains and residue.
Taking off your shoes before entering your house will help limit your floors’ exposure to snow and salt. Cleaning up melted puddles on your hardwood floors right away will also prevent the rock salt from causing damage.
8. Open Windows and Dust
When it’s a nice day outside, it’s normal to want to open your windows and let in the fresh air. It is good to ventilate your house to let out the stale air. However, this also has a downside.
Opening the windows allows dust and debris to enter the home. This will increase the dust and dirt in your home that flows onto your hardwood floors, causing them to become dirty.
Having screens in your windows can help keep debris and other particles out, but it’s not always 100% effective. Opening your windows on days that aren’t so windy can also help reduce the dust that flows into your house from the outside.
Alternatively, you could vacuum, sweep and clean your floors more regularly if you want to keep your windows open.
9. Dragging Furniture
It’s nice to change things up and rearrange the furniture to create the perfect feng shui. This can make the room feel new again and give you a nice dose of serotonin in the process. However, it can also cause wear to your hardwood floors.
If you drag your furniture across the floor, you may accidentally rub off the finish from your hardwood floors and put them at risk for deep scratches. Dropping any heavy furniture can also cause dents to form. Rubbing off the finish will cause your hardwood floors to look hazy in those areas.
If you move furniture, ensure you properly lift it and don’t drag it across the floor. These Forearm Forklift Moving Straps (available on Amazon.com) will help reduce scratches and rubbing. Putting felt pads at the bottom of your furniture legs will also help protect your flooring.
10. Not Cleaning the Floors Regularly
If you don’t have a regular cleaning schedule and allow things to build up on your floors for a while before vacuuming, your floors will look dirty. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to clean with juggling so much in the daily routine.
Your dirty floors can be fixed by making a cleaning schedule and adhering to it. Hardwood floors should be cleaned at least once a week. Making sure to vacuum once a week with a hard floor attachment will pick up all the dust, dirt, and pet hair that has accumulated. Depending on how much foot traffic you have in your home, you may need to do this more often.
Also, remember to clean your floor with a cleaning solution that does not contain wax and oils. This ensures a nice clean floor that doesn’t have a layer of residue left behind.