What Happens If You Use Ammonia To Clean Wood Floors?

Hardwood flooring is like a pair of simple blue jeans; it never goes out of style. In many modern constructions and remodels, you'll find this option throughout the entire home. It offers a wide range of benefits, both aesthetically and functionally. Plus, it's easy to clean, but there are several important factors to consider when it comes to cleaning and refreshing hardwood flooring.

While there are some surfaces that can handle harsh cleaning products, like ammonia and bleach, a wood floor is not one of them. A simple whiff is enough to know that ammonia contains some pretty strong chemicals, strong enough to remove grime, soap scum, stains, and cooking grease. Though it can serve as a highly effective cleaning agent, it can also pose some risks to humans, pets, and surfaces. 

If you were to clean your wood floors with ammonia, the ingredients would "damage the surface and dissolve the lignin in the wood," according to Chief Operating Officer Leanne Stapf of The Cleaning Authority (via Family Handyman). This will lead to a dull, discolored floor and may even deteriorate the structure. Always read the warning label on any cleaning product you buy before cleaning your hardwood floors.

Best way to clean your wood floors

While using ammonia and other harsh chemicals will ruin your hardwood floors, other agents are designed to clean and maintain them safely and keep them looking new for many years. You can create your own cleaning solution with a spray bottle to clean your wood floors. Mix 4 cups of distilled vinegar with 1 teaspoon of pure castile soap and the essential oil of your choice or lemon juice. If you need more solution, you can use a bucket and multiply the ingredients.

It's also important to consider the surface of your hardwood floor. Is it finished or oil-treated? If it's oil-treated, use a flat mop and a cleaning product that specifically says it's intended for oiled wood flooring, such as Bona Oiled Wood Floor Cleaner. For finished hardwood flooring, you can use cleaners like Weiman Hardwood Cleaner. Again, always read the cleaning product before purchasing it to ensure it's safe for your hardwood floors, and remember that using ammonia is always a no-no.