If you own a historic home, you may find that your hardwood floor has been oiled to protect the wood, rather than using wax or polyurethane. In this case, carefully sweeping, cleaning, and oiling the hardwood is essential to keeping your floor in good condition.
Step 1: Start by vacuuming your hardwood floor to remove any large bits of dirt and other debris. A high quality broom can also be used to sweep the hardwood floor instead. Try to get the floor as clean as possible before proceeding to the next step.
Step 2: Use a rag to apply oil soap to the floor to clean your hardwood floors. Most high quality oil soaps do not have to be diluted with water and can be applied using a clean cloth. Always apply the oil to the hardwood with even strokes that go with the direction of the wood grain.
TIP: Never apply the oil soap directly to the hardwood floor. This can cause uneven application and may affect the appearance of the hardwood. Instead, apply a generous amount to the cloth you are using, and reapply as necessary.
Step 3: Trade rags for a clean one once your first cloth appears to be dirty. Continue trading cloths and applying oil soap to the hardwood floor until the entire floor has been covered with a thin layer of the oil soap. Wait 2 hours before proceeding, or the length of time directed by the manufacturer of the oil soap you are using.
Step 4: Apply a lighter, second coat of oil soap to the hardwood floors, focusing on any light spots that may appear to be poorly treated. Once the hardwood floor appears to be even in color, stop applying the oil. Wait about 15 minutes to let any oil absorb.
Step 5: Start buffing the hardwood floor with a clean cloth, applying pressure in a circular motion. The more you buff the floor, the shinier it should appear. You may need to use several rags for this step. Stop when the appearance of the floor meets to your satisfaction.