What is the best way to clean a hardwood floor?

Keep hardwood floors in top condition with smart cleaning systems that will make caring for your floors and maintaining their good looks even easier.

Cleaning Hardwood Floors

The best method to clean wood floors depends on the type of sealant; most modern sealants are water-resistant.

Learn how to care for hardwood floors by using these natural cleaners and following these simple tips.

  • Practice “damp mopping.” After saturating the mop with your chosen cleaning solution, simply wring it out as much as possible.
  • Remember, you only want a minimal amount of liquid applied to the hardwood surface.
  • Once completed, be sure there is no standing water as it could damage the flooring.
  • For spills, clean them as quickly as possible to prevent possible staining or something more severe.

Quick Cleaning Tips

  • Traffic levels can impact how often and with what methods the hardwoods in a room are cleaned. Be sure to take care and always start with the less aggressive approach.
  • For quick touch-ups, sweep regularly using a dry dust mop or the soft brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner.
  • Avoid using a standard broom, since the stiff, straw-like bristles could damage the flooring's surface.

DIY Cleaning Solutions

How do we clean wood floors? To achieve a natural clean using ingredients that don't contain the harmful toxins in most commercially-sold cleaning solutions, we recommend mopping your hardwood floors using a mixture of vinegar and water.

  • Start with a weaker mixture and enhance the potency as needed. Over an extended period, vinegar may accelerate the dulling of your hardwoods.
  • An alternative natural cleaning solution is warm water and dish soap (1/4 cup of dish washing liquid for a bucket of warm water).
  • For spot cleaning needs, sprinkle baking soda on the affected area and scrub with a sponge. To ensure the area is thoroughly clean, rinse with warm water and dry. This is particularly effective on scuff marks and small stains.

Cleaning: How do I get wrinkles out of my shirts without an iron?

We recently wrote about a few hacks to get wrinkles out of shirts without an iron.  Here they are:

Put your dress shirt in the dryer with a damp towel for about 15 – 20 minutes, making sure to take it out of the machine when the timer goes off. The heat of a dryer breaks down the bonds in your shirt that hold polymers in place.  Once these bonds are broken down, the fibers of the shirt start to move into different positions.  As the shirt cools, new bonds begin to form, locking the fibers into a new shape.  Next, give those duds a shake and hang them up, so the fibers can lock without setting new wrinkles.

Hang up the shirt and spray it with warm water until the fabric is slightly damp. Check again in the morning and you should be good to go.

Hang your shirt from a hanger on the curtain road when you jump in the shower.  In the 10 minutes it takes you to clean up, the steam will help smooth over the worst of the wrinkles. Just make sure to point the shower head away from your shirt!

No iron available?  Boil some water on the stove, dump out the water and use the bottom of the hot metal pot as an iron.  The heat of the metal pot will thermoset the fibers into the desired shape.  Voila, you just hacked the iron.

Alternatively, you could get Ministry of Supply – Performance Professional Apparel : inherently wrinkle free 🙂

What is the best way to get red wine stains out of a rug?

In contrast to the treatment of a modern machine-made carpet with modern chemical dyes, if your rug is an oriental carpet with vegetable dyes in the design, be careful not to spread the stain and/or cause the rug's dyes to bleed.  Also, be careful not to damage wool and silk fibers with vinegar, bleach, or ammonia.  Do not use stain removers.  The following is an amateur oriental rug aficionado's advice, worth what you're paying to get it — Use this at your own risk.

  1. BLOT with a dry, clean, undyed cloth or absorbent paper towel, to remove the original staining liquid.  Throughout this treatment, blot, do not rub or scrub. You may wipe gently from the edge of the stained area to the center of the spot, but avoid spreading the stain.
  2. Rather than allowing the stain to dry, dampen it very slightly with a clean, undyed cloth, then blot further with dry cloth.
    Then, make a mild solution of 1/4 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and 1 cup of cool water; Lightly spray the stain and immediately blot up all the cleaning solution.  Repeat until the blotting cloth shows no color from removed stain.
    Then, spray the spot lightly with cool, clean water and blot thoroughly, to remove cleaning solution; Repeat several times.
  3. Dry the rug, don't leave it wet.  Use newspaper covered with paper towel underneath, use a fan or cool hair dryer on the top.  A vacuum cleaner (no rug-beater) will also serve to help dry the spot.

How do you clean smoke marks off the inside of a glass?

No need for something that fancy. Just go to your local supermarket or hardware store and pick up some Goo Gone. The stuff is amazing! We use it all the time in my store to clean candleholders that have been used in window displays. It's also all natural and non-toxic. If it's really burnt on, let it soak over night in Goo Gone and then use a scrubby brush with the Goo Gone on it. It will be good as new in no time.

Where is the best (and most affordable) place to get leather and suede handbags cleaned in Manhattan?

As a general response to your question ( I have no knowledge of the demographics in your area ) most cleaners do not actually clean the items you are asking about.  They are 'farmed' out to a cleaner that does clean those type of items.  This is true from Bangor, Maine to San Diego, California. ( I don't know the other representative diagonal cities from Florida to Washington LOL )  That being said, you could go to one cleaners on Maine St. and another on Elm St. and they both send leathers and purses out to the same leather cleaner company.  That leather cleaner company will charge each store the same charge for the same type of purse.  Say the charge is $25.  The store on Maine St. might simply double what they are charged and you will pay $50 for the cleaning of the purse.  The store on Elm St. may, out of public relations considerations, simply markups each item cleaned $10 and you will be charged $35.  I bring this up to point out that probably something close to 98% of cleaners do not actually do the cleaning of that specialized type of product!

Your choice therefore for the most part boils down to the reputation of each individual cleaners.  You are more likely to have a stronger backup of satisfaction from a quality (expensive) cleaners than you would from adiscount volume cleaners even though they both use the same professional leather cleaners.  I know that sounds odd, but such is the way the system works,  When calling a cleaners ask them if they actually clean  purses or do they send them out.  If they send them out, and if you ask, they may tell you they send purses out to John's Cleaners on Elm St.  You may therefore want to decide if the hassle of  going to Johns Cleaners is worth the trip because you might end up paying for the actual cleaning charge and not the tacked on charges from the other cleaners.

Hope this give you some insight as to how the specialized leather/purse cleaning business service works.  Good luck!!

I stepped in dog poop. What should I do?

I'm not sure if this necessarily works for dog poop, but if you have any friends with pets see if they have something called Nature's Miracle. It's meant to clean up after animal waste and it's more than just cleaning, it's supposed to actually break down enzymes and remove pheromones, which will probably go a long way in removing the odor.

Air Fresheners: How does Febreze work?

The key: cyclodextrin.  Cyclodextrin are doughnut shaped molecules suspended in a water carrier.  The hydrophobic interior of the doughnuts attract the odor molecules.  As the water dries the odor molecules are encapsulated inside the cyclodextrin–reducing their volatility–making it so you don't smell the odor.