As one of the largest investment in your house, your hardwood floor contributes significantly to the elegance, aesthetics and ambiance of your home. One of the best things you can do for your hardwood floors is to clean them on a regular basis to avoid permanent damage, which can be costly to repair. Dirt and grit are the second worst enemy of your beautiful floor.
Follow the tips outlined below for cleaning hardwood floors and you will enjoy great looking floors for years to come.
Daily Maintenance for Cleaning Hardwood Floors
For day-to-day maintenance, the following should be used:
- Dust Mop
You should never leave dirt on the floor because foot traffic can pound grit and grime into the hardwood surface, ultimately causing damage. When vacuuming, do not use the equipment with the power head attachment.
Avoid Too Much Moisture
Too much moisture is the number one worst enemy of hardwood floors. Avoid using a traditional mop and bucket for cleaning hardwood floors. Excess moisture will eventually cause the wood to warp and crack. If you spill any liquid on your hardwood floor, wipe it up immediately to avoid damage. Urethane finished surfaces repel water very well. Most damage occurs when liquids seep between the cracks and cause swelling and warping of the wood.
Micro fiber damp mops are the best. They keep moisture to a minimum and absorb contaminants readily. Plain hot water and micro fiber mops are very effective.
Choose the Right Cleaners
When cleaning your hardwood floor, use only cleaning agents exclusively made for urethane finished hardwoods. Many cleaning solutions contain oils, harsh abrasives and drying chemicals that can harm the floor’s protective finish. Never use acidic cleaners, such as ammonia or bleach on your hardwood.
A simple test can be used to determine if your cleaner is safe for your floors. First, try cleaning a window with the cleaner. If it leaves any film or residue, DO NOT use it on your floors. You will ultimately ruin the ‘maintenance free’ characteristic of your floor. Using waxes or polishes create and on-going need to repeat the process.
You also want to ensure that the product is safe for your family, pets and environmentally-friendly. The frequency of the cleaning depends on your household. Cleaning hardwood floors as often as possible removes dirt, dust and wear on your floor. If you have new hardwood floors installed, consult with your hardwood flooring supplier or installer to find out what cleaner they recommend.
Adding More Shine and Long Term Maintenance
If you want to add more shine to your hardwood floors, this can be achieved by adding another coat of urethane, most often done by a professional. The floor should be prepped by lightly abrading, cleaning and/or applying a bonding agent. Then another coat or two of urethane can be applied using ‘gloss,’ ‘semi-gloss‘ or ‘satin‘ sheen. This process will maintain the floor for many years to come. It will cover many imperfections but will not totally eliminate most scratches. This can only be achieved with a complete refinish.
Waxing and Polishing
While urethane finished floors are the most common, you still occasionally see waxed or oiled floor finishes. These finishes require more frequent maintenance. Consult your flooring manufacturer for the recommended product and procedure. You can also contact Just Around the Corner Flooring for a free consultation.
Protect Wood Flooring with Rugs and Mats
Strategically place mats, long runners and area rugs in high-traffic areas, such as the entry foyer, corridors and near exterior doors. These products can capture dirt, mud and other unwanted debris tracked in from the exterior.
Use coverings that have slip-resistant, breathable backing-material designed to prevent moisture entrapment. These floor coverings not only help to keep your floors clean and looking good, but protect the protective finish of wood floors. In addition, they minimize the effort required for cleaning hardwood floors.
Just Around the Corner provides this article as a service to help you make an informed decision about installing hardwood flooring in your home. If you have any questions, please contact us.