How To Remove Haze From Engineered Hardwood Floors? [All In One Guide]

While taking the carpets or mops out for a wash, you might have noticed that the floor underneath has gone full cloudy. Since engineered floors are known for their silky shine, it looks distasteful to have such hazy spots on the surfaces. So, homeowners with hardwood floors need to know how to remove haze from engineered hardwood floors.

To remove haze completely, you’ll need to find out what has been causing it in the first place. For instance – if it’s due to the chemicals in substandard cleaners, then you’ll need to stop using those cleaners and reset the pH levels by using a semi-neutral mixture of ammonia/vinegar solution. Again, if the haze is due to wax or dirt build-up, then a thorough dusting, sanding, and finally, refinishing is the way to go.

Engineered hardwood floors can usually take a lot before cracking or taking irreversible damage. But the superficial structural integrity can easily fall victim to something as flimsy as haze without proper cleaning and maintenance. 

Today’s write-up will help you figure out the root causes behind hazy flooring & teach you how to get rid of them too.

How To Remove Haze From Engineered Hardwood Floors?

While treating hazy floors, you have to think two steps ahead. Because without discerning the cause first, you can end up aggravating the situation even further. So, it’s important to take the easier roads first one by one to eliminate the risks.

In a primordial state, you can sometimes remove haze just by wiping it off like dust from the floor. In cases like these, they’re probably a byproduct of the loose waxing or sanding. They feel like loose powder and have a sawdust-like texture.

Besides soft swiping, here are a few other ways how you can remove haze from engineered hardwood floors –

wood floor mopping

Microfiber Mopping

Before trying any chemicals, you should try and see if the haze comes apart from normal cleaning. As in, you should use lukewarm water and a microfiber mop, and nothing else.

First, clean the surface thoroughly by dusting after removing the carpet, rug pads, furniture items, etc. Then use a completely clean microfiber mop, dump it in the lukewarm water and wring out the excess water so that the mop’s *just* damp.

It’s important to use microfiber mops or clothes because brushes with hard bristles or harsh cloths can leave scratches all over the engineered hardwood floors. 

After dampening the mops, gently rub or wipe down the floor to clean the hazy area. If everything comes off with no sweat, slowly pat down with a dry area to leave no moisture behind.

Concentrated Cleaners

Sometimes haze can occur due to the use of low-quality rubber pads with toxic adhesives. The chemicals in these adhesive tapes can dissolve all over the hardwood floors and make the area dirty by creating brown hazy & sticky layers.

In such cases, you have to use safe but concentrated cleaners like Pine-Sol, Dawn dish soap, etc. to clean the sticky layers. Short-term soaking greatly helps to soften the adhesive tapes and then you can clear off the brownish haze with one swipe.

Vinegar/Ammonia Solution

It’s not recommended to use vinegar or ammonia on hardwood floors as they can have corrosive effects. 

But they’re a solid haze cleaning option for engineered hardwood floors due to the extra sturdy protective sealants. It’s preferable to use low-concentrated vinegar like apple cider vinegar instead. That way, your floor won’t have that strong basic smell and will have a fruity smell after cleaning.

The cleaning procedure is the same as before. Dilute the vinegar or ammonia with water in a 1:1 ratio before cleaning. Use a clean microfiber mop to gently scrub/rub the surface. Swiffer mops work perfectly as well due to the soft bottoms.

Different Types Of Haze & Their Causal Factors

Take a look at all the telltale signs of different types of haze.

WhitishSalt depositionpH Neutralization
BlackishFungal growthConcentrated Cleaning & Refurbishment
BrownishSticky surfacesPine-Sol, Vinegar, Ammonia

Preventative Measures To Keep Your Hardwood Floors Safe

No one wants the nicely polished hardwood floors in their beautiful homes to look cloudy and disoriented. Here are a few preventative measures that can help you prevent hazy outcomes for your hardwood floors –

  • use professional workers for sealing & resealing
  • while DIY-ing, check for air pockets continuously
  • don’t use concentrated oil-based cleaners for engineered hardwood floors
  • don’t let the hardwood floors stay wet for a long time
  • stay away from low-quality plastic rugs
  • use organic rubber rug pads or carpets to cover your floors

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I not use vinegar or ammonia on wood floors?

Generally, it’s not advisable to use vinegar or ammonia solution on raw i.e. unfinished wood floors. But engineered hardwood floors are sturdier due to the protective sealants. Hence, you can use a moderate amount of vinegar or ammonia solution (diluted accordingly) to clean haze, dirt, etc. from the engineered hardwood floors.

Why is it so important to balance the pH level?

It’s important to maintain the neutrality of the pH level because your floor can fall victim to haze and similar occurrences in a heavily basic or a heavily acidic state.

For instance – whitish haze often is a byproduct of using ammonia cleaners. In the presence of hydrochloric acid, i.e. a strong acid, the ammonia reacts with it to produce ammonium chloride fumes. The NH4Cl emits white fumes.

As such, the haze appears cloudy and milky white. To prevent unwanted reactions like these, it’s important to keep the pH level balanced and neutral. You should also keep strong acids and strong bases nowhere near hardwood floors.

Why is the hardwood finish swelling up suddenly?

Hardwood finishes can sometimes swell up due to – trapped moisture, trapped air bubbles, and increased humidity. Usually, the swelling happens right after you’re waiting for the new layer to settle down after sanding and applying it.

If you didn’t sand the area properly or seal all the edges appropriately, there could be air pockets inside the layers. Warm air can expand & make the floor surfaces look swollen. Similarly, trapped moisture i.e. water vapor can also expand and contract the wood consecutively. So, if you notice swelling, try to figure out the positions of these pockets first.

Final Verdict

So, how to remove haze from engineered hardwood floors? There are a lot of ways you can keep your hardwood floors safe from hazy and cloudy segments. 

While severely diluted ammonia or vinegar solution works just fine for moderate haziness, some extreme cases can require an overall refurbishment as well. And the latter can cost you thousands of dollars for long-lasting effectiveness.

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