A Guide To Hardwood Floor Cleaning And Care
A popular type of floor covering in homes, hardwood floors are favored because they increase the value of your home, don't go out of style and last for a long time — but only if attended to with habitual cleaning and care. Constant foot traffic, children, pets, company and simple everyday use all have repercussions on a chic hardwood floor. Maintain your hardwood floor's original luster and splendor with the following tips on hardwood floor cleaning and care.
- Don’t Wear Shoes: The easiest way to keep hardwood floors as clean as possible is to not wear shoes in the house. How grimy can your floor be with only clean or socked feet stepping on its surface? If you prefer to leave your shoes on, avoid heeled shoes that can leave visible dents on the floor.
- Use Rugs: Carefully place throw rugs, area rugs and carpet runners over high traffic areas and at pivot points of the hardwood floor. Rugs should have slip-resistant backings so they stay in place. Doormats and floor mats near entrances are also highly recommended, as they can greatly reduce the amount of dirt or other abrasive particles brought inside the home via shoe bottoms.
- Add Padding: Chair, sofa and table leg tips can destructively scrape hardwood floors. Add furniture pads and bumpers to deter the exchange of scratches and scuffs from furniture to the floor.
- Move Items Carefully: When transporting heavy objects like furniture across hardwood floors, do so with care. Do not drag any items; if they are too heavy to lift up completely, use furniture sliders with a smooth underside instead. If you would like to wheel the heavy objects, place a layer of thin hardboard on the wood flooring beforehand.
- Deflect Direct Sunlight: Over time, direct sunlight will discolor hardwood floors. Cherry and oak wood tend to darken, while other wood types may lighten. Regardless of the material, when the sunbeams power through the window or peek through the blinds, close the curtains and dim the blinds.
- Maintain Proper Humidity: Humidity levels should be controlled to stay within the 35 to 55 percentile range with a home humidifier. Low humidity can shrink hardwood floors.
- Keep Pets Groomed: If you have any pets, make sure their nails are adequately trimmed. This way, your dog or cat’s strides do not leave a permanent mark on the hardwood floor.
Necessary Cleaning Tools And Procedures:
- Broom: Using a broom with soft, fine bristles (double check before you purchase, this feature is not found in all brooms); sweep the hardwood floor daily. This can easily collect and dispose of all dust, dirt, crumbs and other particles.
- Dusting Pad/Dry-Mop: Another effective way tool to remove dust and other particles, such as pet or human hair, is a microfiber dusting pad or dry mop. Go for a soft option to reduce scratches. Firmly hold the pad (some options enable you to wear the pad like a mitt, while other are attached to a convenient pole) and gently slide the tool across the floor. Pay special attention to corners and edges, as dust tends to collect in these areas. Do this approximately once a week.
- Vacuum: A vacuum essentially does the same thing as a dusting pad/dry-mop, so it can be used as an additional measure or as a substitute. A vacuum should only be used with its brush or felt tip. If you are buying a vacuum with the intent of cleaning hardwood floors, look for one with a wand attachment that is extra handy for reaching corners and edges. Avoid any with hard heads or beater bars, which are meant for carpet cleaning and could scratch the floor with their stiff bristles.
- Mop: All abrasive particles should be removed before washing wood floors. Once all the grime is gone, you can mop the floor if it still necessitates deep cleaning. This should be done at least once a month. Submerge a clean mop into one of the cleaning solutions below. Then, wring the mop until it is only slightly damp — never soaking wet. Always mop following the grain of the wood.
- Cleaning Solution And Bucket: Water is an easy cleaning solution that may suffice for most spills, but is not recommended for shellacked or lacquered floors. Plain soap or a few drops of dishwashing liquid are optional and inexpensive add-ins to create your own cleaning solution. Another popular method is adding one cup of white vinegar to one gallon of warm water. Last but certainly not least, you can purchase an effective cleaning solution specialized for your type of hardwood floor. Don’t forget a bucket to hold whatever cleaning solution you decide to use.
- Soft Towel: Always dry your floor completely! Water puddles can warp and damage hardwood floors through consequent wood expansion, cracking and splintering. Air drying is sufficient if the floor is only slightly damp. All spills should be cleaned immediately with a soft towel.
- Crayon: A crayon in the color of your hardwood floor is a wonderful tool to hide scratches. If your hardwood floor has a scratch, rub the crayon on the affected area. Then, put a blow dryer on high and heat the same area before polishing it with a cloth.
Give your hardwood floor the attention it deserves. With proper care, hardwood floors last a lifetime and will continuously uphold the beauty of your home.