How to Clean Hardwood Flooring
Floor mats are a wonderful thing when it comes to hardwood floors. Tiny particles, like dirt, can act like sandpaper and scratch your wood. By placing a floor mat at each entryway and encouraging family members and guests to wipe their feet, the majority of dirt and grime will remain on the mat. Also put a floor mat or rug in any area where water could be splashed — like near the kitchen sink. This will hinder any possible water damage. Note that rubber-backed or non-ventilated floor mats or rugs can damage your floor. Instead use floor mats or rugs made especially for hardwood floors and be sure to shake them out regularly.
The better care you take, the longer your floor will maintain its original beauty. Step one is to purchase a high quality broom so that you can sweep your floor regularly of dirt, dust and other particles. The second step is a vacuum cleaner without a beater bar, to get in between the boards and other hard to reach areas. Then spritz the floor very lightly with plain water from a spray bottle and clean with a micro fiber mop.
Do and Don’ts
Don’t wax a wood floor with a urethane finish.
Do use cleaners that won’t leave a film or residue.
Don’t use ammonia cleaners or oil soaps on a wood floor — they’ll dull the finish and affect your ability to recoat later.
Do use a professional hardwood floor cleaner to remove occasional scuffs and heel marks (just spray some cleaner on a cloth and rub the stained area lightly).
Don’t wet mop or use excessive water to clean your floor (wood naturally expands when it’s wet and can cause your floor to crack or splinter, or adversely affect the finish).
Do clean sticky spots with a damp towel or sponge.
Do minimize water exposure and clean spills immediately.
Recoat or Refinish?
If and when your hardwood floor begins to show the normal wear and tear of foot traffic, it’s time to consider screening and recoating. Screening is the process used to abrade or grind down your floor’s polyurethane finish. Next, fresh coats of urethane are applied.
If the damage to your hardwood floor is severe, then you may require sanding and refinishing. This process involves sanding your floor down to the bare wood and refinishing it. Only go to this effort if screening and recoating doesn’t solve your problem.
Protect Your Investment
All hardwood floors fade or change shades over time. Like our own skin, wood’s exposure to sunlight may greatly increase this process and cause permanent damage.
Window treatments are recommended to shade your floors from the sun’s harsh rays. We also recommend rotating area rugs and furniture regularly, allowing wood floors to age evenly from UV exposure.
To avoid permanent marks and scratches, it’s a good idea to attach felt pads to furniture and table legs. Be careful when moving heavy objects across your floor to avoid scuffing.
Ladies — your stiletto heels may be fashionable, but what’s not in fashion are the dents and scratches they cause to wood floors. Likewise, trim your pet’s nails regularly and keep any and all other sharp objects away from your floors.
Any type of hard plastic or metal wheels on furniture, such as office chairs or pianos, can also cause damage to your floors. If there is too much weight on the wheels, the wheels will crush the grain of the wood and put divots or dents all the way down into the wood. Even if there is not too much weight on them, hard plastic or metal wheels, due to their hardness, will damage the finish on your floors over time from repetitively scratching against the finish on your floors as they roll. Anytime such a piece of furniture is used on a hardwood floor, utmost caution should be exercised, and a cushioned floor mat made specifically for hardwood floors should always be used.
Love your floors and your floors will love you back for a long, long time.