Hardwood Floor How-To's

How to Get Rid of Cloudy Hardwood Floors

Posted December 22, 2014

Hardwood floors are supposed to have a beauty and luster that bring out the best in your living space. When floors get dull or cloudy, they can be difficult to fix. It’s possible, but without proper knowledge, your efforts to restore the look of your hardwood floors can make matters worse.

Identifying the root causes of cloudy or milky-looking hardwood floors can help get you to a proper solution without hours and hours of trial and error:

  • Improper application of finish: If finish is applied over a layer of stain, or previous coats of finish aren’t fully dried, the solvent vapors trapped beneath the finish can create this look.
  • Use of improper cleaners: With a market full of all kinds of wood cleaning products, picking the wrong cleaner gets easier and easier. The types of cleaners that were effective years ago might not have a good effect on modern wood floors. Products like oil soaps, paste wax and furniture polish should be avoided since they are notorious for leaving a hazy, sticky buildup on your floor.
  • Wax buildup: Floors that have a polyurethane finish do not need to be waxed. If waxing a floor that doesn’t need it, the wax will react negatively with the finish and create a cloudy look.
  • Cleaner buildup: When cleaning hardwood floors, less is more. A small application of cleaner on a microfiber mop is all that’s needed to clean your floors. Hazy floors can occur when too much cleaner is used.
  • Moisture issues: Water and hardwood floors don’t mix. While water can be used as part of the cleaning process, too much water on a hardwood floor can damage floors and alter its look. Avoid using a string or sponge mop to clean since they don’t do a good job of absorbing water once they’re fully soaked.

To get rid of your cloudy hardwood floor, the solution is simple:  dissolve and remove the offending layer and use proper cleaning techniques to restore the floor’s look. Most cloudy floors are caused by buildups left by cleaners. There are different options you can take depending on the severity of the problem:

  • Use an ammonia solution: An ammonia solution of 1 cup ammonia per gallon of water can be used to dissolve the buildup that’s causing the haziness of your floors. Remember to use this solution carefully since you don’t to do any further damage with excess water.
  • Remove the existing finish: A more aggressive approach, simply sanding and refinishing your floor will get your floors back to normal.

    The most common cause of cloudy hardwood floors is using the wrong cleaner. Be sure to check with your floor’s manufacturer for their recommended method of maintaining your floor. If you can’t find this information, make sure you use a cleaner that’s designed to clean hardwood floors.

    Bona products are specially designed to protect floors and the environment. Bona cleaners won’t dull your floors or leave behind any residue. Find the perfect products to clean, shine and protect your floors.