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Can I “Disinfect” or Clean Hardwood Floors with “Antimicrobial” Cleaners?

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May 05, 2020

Germs on Floor

The rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2, otherwise known as the 2019 novel coronavirus, and the illness it causes, called COVID-19, has sparked a huge uptick in questions about properly cleaning hardwood floors, especially with regard to recent buzzwords like “disinfect,” “antimicrobial,” and “sanitize.

The 2 primary organizations in the wood flooring industry—the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) and the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA)—have issued guidance on the subject.

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• According to the NWFA, “…using improper cleaners can void (wood floor manufacturer’s) warranty and also cause future problems with recoating.”
• According to the MFMA, “…NEVER use household cleaning products or procedures to clean your floor. They can be harmful to the floor finish and to the wood and may leave floors sticky or slippery, and potentially harmful. Your finish manufacturer will recommend the proper cleaning and maintenance materials for your MFMA maple floor.”

Basic Coatings® correspondingly recommends caution when looking for cleaners for hardwood floors. While many antimicrobial cleaners or disinfectants are marketed as suitable for use on hard surfaces, we encourage you to make sure the product is specifically approved for hardwood floors, and if so, seek specific information how it should be used or applied.

Antimicrobial products contain specific chemicals—such as ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, peroxyacetic or other acids, and sodium hypochlorite—that are not recommended for use on hardwood floors.

Approved disinfectants for use on hardwood floors should have a neutral pH and quaternary ammonium listed as the active ingredient on their labels.

Whether you find an antimicrobial cleaner or disinfectant specifically for hardwood floors or not, we advise deep cleaning wood floors immediately after use of any such product to remove residue, which can damage the floor and prevent proper bonding of a future recoat. To that end, Basic Coatings offers a one-two punch in the form of I.F.T.—an aggressive cleaner specifically formulated to remove residue, ground-in dirt, and other soils—followed by Squeaky™ floor cleaner to neutralize.

Hiring a contractor to deep clean wood floors with professional equipment may not be as expensive as you think. To request a local Basic Coatings certified contractor contact you with more information about their services and pricing, please fill out the form here.

I.F.T. and Squeaky can be purchased directly from a local Basic Coatings hardwood flooring distributor. Please refer to our distributor locator here.

1  National Wood Flooring Association. 2010. “Maintenance and Recoating”, 3.
2 “Residential Floor Care - MFMA". 2013. Maplefloor.Org. https://www.maplefloor.org/For-Homeowners/Residential-Floor-Care.aspx.