Rooms with engineered wood flooring instantly acquire a beautiful elegance. The gently reflective surface looks particularly impressive when bathed in rays of sunshine. However, that’s when dust and streaks of dirt are most visible. To keep your engineered wood flooring as beautiful as the day it was installed, you need to clean it with care. Using the wrong methods or substances can harm the surface.

How does Flooring Style Affect Cleaning?

Engineered wood flooring is available in a range of distinctive styles. The surface timber can also be stained in many different colours and finishes to make every room unique. Whichever combination of pattern and colour you choose, the floor will need to be cleaned in the same way. However, the style you choose affects how you clean it.

The best advice is to clean in the direction of the grain. Cleaning against the grain increases the chance of dirt and debris becoming embedded. The more intricate the pattern of your engineered wood flooring, the more time you’ll spend cleaning.

One of the easiest designs to maintain is the long plank. The simplicity of the straight boards makes rooms appear long and spacious. When the floor needs cleaning, you simply must follow the timbers in an easy rhythmic motion.

Herringbone is a traditional pattern of short planks joined at right angles. They add interest to the floor and often make large rooms look cosier. Mopping the floor could take longer than with the long plank design due to following the zigzag pattern.

A similar pattern is Chevron. It has the same zigzag appearance, but the short planks are joined to form a sharp point. It should take about the same time to clean as Herringbone.

Versailles is an indulgent pattern of elaborate, interlocking squares. It’s inspired by the magnificent flooring in the seventeenth-century Palace of Versailles. It can take much longer to carefully clean the grain of timbers laid in opposing directions, but the results can be impressive.

Wood Flooring Cleaning Tips

Regular Maintenance

Engineered wood flooring should look beautiful for many years to come providing it’s well-cared for throughout its life. Scratches are its worst enemy and can be acquired in many ways. Avoid walking on it with stiletto heels or rugged working boots that could be ingrained with sharp debris. Furniture should have felt protectors to prevent edges and legs from marking the surface of the floor.

When moving furniture, even if it has castors, lifting it to a new position is always preferable to dragging it. Children are unlikely to have any protective instincts towards your floor. Encourage them to play on a large rug and avoid heavy toys made of metal.

Removing Surface Dust

It’s easy to keep your floor clear of dust through daily sweeping or vacuuming. Use an indoor broom with soft, pliable bristles. Vacuum heads designed for hard floors should have a padded, soft layer to prevent them from scratching the surface.

How to Disguise Scratches

You can lessen the appearance of minor scratches by cleaning the floor with oil or lacquer. Oil sinks beneath the surface of the engineered wood. Lacquer stays on the surface, adding a protective layer that helps maintain effective water resistance.

How to Mop Engineered Wood Flooring

Dried on food debris and smudges of dirt will need mopping. The best method is to first remove the loose dust and dirt through sweeping or vacuuming. Leaving hard crumbs or particles of grit can scratch the floor when they become embedded in the mop. But which type of mop should you use, cotton or microfibre?

The weave of a microfibre mop head is incredibly fine. It enables the mop to trap bacteria and dirt. A cotton mop has a larger, more open weave that often fails to hold dirt and simply pushes it to another part of the floor. In addition, the cotton’s organic composition provides a home where germs and bacteria inevitably increase.

How much water is Needed for Mopping?

Any type of mop works best when it is moist rather than soaked. On engineered wood floors it’s important to prevent excess water seeping between the timber edging. When you’ve rinsed the mop in the bucket, take the time to effectively squeeze excess water from the fibres until they are lightly moistened. Stubborn dried particles may need soaking in a few drops of water for a couple of minutes to loosen them.

You can use plain water to effectively remove the dirt. As when sweeping, follow the grain of the wood. Every month or so, use a special cleaning agent recommended by your floor’s installer. Follow the product’s instructions for the best results. If you use too much, a light residue may be left behind, which may involve mopping again with fresh water.

Cleaning Practices to Avoid

Engineered wood flooring can easily withstand heavy footfall, but some cleaning methods can damage the timbers. Never use steam mops as the extremely high temperatures can scorch the surface of the floor and spoil its delicate sheen. When using any cleaning product to remove an isolated stain, always read the instructions carefully. Avoid ingredients such as ammonia and bleach.

Although vinegar is often used as a natural, multi-purpose cleaning agent, it’s not suitable for engineered wood floors due to its high acid content. Melamine sponges have a surface that’s like fine sandpaper, which can cause multiple small scratches. Never use steel wool as it will cause severe scratches.


A floor of engineered wood adds a distinctive touch of luxury to your home. Taking care of it is relatively easy if you follow the most suitable cleaning methods and products. It is well worth the effort of regular maintenance and cleaning to ensure your chosen floor design always looks its best.

Author Bio:

This article was written by Martin O’Callaghan of Wood Flooring Ireland. Martin has over two decades of experience designing bespoke herringbone flooring floors for households and businesses.


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