With engineered wood floors, what you’re cleaning is really a wooden floor and many of the same rules apply. However, flooring products are often finished and treated in different ways, so it pays to give your floor a bit of love and attention.
Prevention – sweep up regularly
Our roads and pavements often have fragments of glass, bits of dirt, and small stones on them, that we can bring in on our shoes. Over time, these will dull and scratch an engineered wood floor. A “pick-up” dust mat at all entrances to the house, will work wonders in terms of keeping the floor clear.
However, some debris always gets into houses from outside, and the floor will thank you for regular low-maintenance cleaning – sweeping up dirt and dust, and mopping up spills such as water splashes as soon as they occur. Mop up major spills immediately, because large amounts of liquid and wood floors are not a marriage made in heaven.
Use a traditional broom (with a soft head, so that you don’t scratch the floor), a hoover, or a microfibre soft dust mop to pick up the debris and dust.
What products should I use?
Many floor manufacturers produce their own brands of cleaner. Otherwise, ask a well-known engineered wood specialist, such as Wood Floor Warehouse (http://www.woodfloorwarehouse.co.uk/engineered-wood-flooring.html) for advice on a general cleaner that will keep your engineered wood floor looking as good as the day it was installed.
In general, avoid wax-based cleaners. They will make engineered wood flooring sticky, so that it will attract more dirt and dust. In addition, your floor may well have a special finish on it, and the wax will sit over the top over it. However, some special waxes, recommended by manufacturers, have been designed to work with the floor’s finish, and they are OK. See Good Housekeeping for more wood floor cleaning tips: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/tips/a21744/wood-floor-mistakes/.
The kind of detergents that you can happily pour all over vinyl can’t be used on wooden flooring either. They’re much too harsh, and will strip the finish off the floor, leaving it much more vulnerable to future damage. A steam cleaner isn’t a good idea either, because it can force water into the natural grain in the wood, and also get it much too wet.