This house I live in has hardwood floors in the kitchen and I have never owned a house with hardwood floors before. I have been washing/mopping with a mixture of Murphy's Oil Soap and water and although they are now CLEAN, they do not shine or look glossy. The floors are about 15 years old. What am I supposed to shine them up with? Thank you!
Sounds like they weren't re-finished after their last sanding if they were never finished at all.
Do some research on wood floor finishes using urethane or a classic wax finish. A good finish will give your floor that "shiny/glossy" look.
DO NOT use the same laquer you would for wood furniture. That stuff is usually flammable. Imagine having your entire floor embued with flammable laquer?
You should not mop your hardwood very often, standing water will damage them quickly. When you do mop dry the floor when done with an old towel. Letting the water sit on them will make them look dull and cause buckling over time. I mop once a month and dust mop in between. Just wipe up spills when they happen and you should have great looking floors for a long time.
I remember growing up with hard wood floors and once every couple years my folks would rent this industrial "sander" and floor polisher and sand and laquer (whatever its called kind of like minwax) and polish the floors It was an adorous task the whole family would endure but it was the entire house 4 bedrooms and halls and stairs and all.
Murphy's Oil Soap is famous for leaving a dull residue. You want to make sure your floor is sealed well, especially since it's a kitchen. Does it look like it has a decent coat of urethane?
If not, clean the floor with some denatured alcohol and fine steel wool or one of those green scrubbies. Go over the floor with a tack cloth to get all of the dust, grit, etc. up. Then put at least 3 coats of urethane. I prefer an oil based product because it protects better and holds up longer than water based. But it takes much longer to dry. You're looking at waiting 6-12 hours between coats and at least 24 hours after the last coat before you walk on it.
Urethanes come in three sheens. High gloss, semi-gloss and satin. The high gloss is the shiniest. It is also the least forgiving when applying as you will be able to see any brush strokes and application errors. Semi-gloss is my favorite as it doesn't show the imperfections as much yet gives a nice glow. For people who want a sheen without any reflection choose satin.
If you use a an oil-based urethane product you can then damp mop with any mild soap solution and not have to worry about moisture damaging your wood. Also, you never have to wax.
If you have pets or kids, definitely take the time and use an oil-based urethane product. Lowes sells one of the best out there, it is designed for floors so it is more durable than regular polyurethanes. It is called Varathane.
I have refinished many wood projects and always protect most of them with an oil-based polyurethane. When I dust, I just use a damp sponge to get rid of the dust and clean the furniture. I don't need wax and sprays.
I did use boiled linseed oil on my grandmothers old sewing machine when I redid it because I wanted to keep that piece of furniture with an old fashioned finish. Most of the other furniture I've refinished has been bargain pieces I've purchased from garage sales. I have turned quite a few $5 pieces into fine furniture.
Wow, thanks everyone! So much knowledge here... Yes, the floors are "real" wood and at some point during it's 15 year life it was properly sealed. I can see in the corners where no one walks constantly that it once had a nice lustre. Perhpas the Murphy's is the culprit but I do think with the age of this floor perhaps its time for one of those professional stripping and sealing jobs.
moonikins, I admire your ability and patience to work on such projects! Jodischief, the Quick Shine by Halloway House is probably what I will use in the meantime before I hunker down and do the big sanding/sealing project.
If your floor was properly sealed before and you don't have major issues you won't need to sand very much if at all. Cleaning with denatured alcohol will get up dirt and residue and leave the floor ready for a new coat. You will get better adhesion with the new coats if you lightly sand with a medium-fine sandpaper.
You can rent one of the machines fairly cheap at Lowes or Home-Depot, or if you have a decent pad sander and the room isn't too huge, just use it.