Hardwood floors are an investment. They come at a greater price compared to other flooring materials and installation normally adds extra cost. At the same time, hardwood flooring adds value to your property aside from the sheer beauty and gentle elegance of the wood itself so we should always be aware how to take care of it properly.
So how should you clean your hardwood floors properly?
Simple, first understand the finish. While there is are standard methods for cleaning hardwood floors – different types of wood and different types of finishes require a more specific manner of care and cleaning.
Finishing plays an important role in protecting the topmost part of your hardwood flooring and also highlights its beauty. There are, however several types of finishes that we should be aware of. Once you know the finish, learn what products the manufacturer recommends and also be aware of substances that can cause potential harm to your hardwood floors.
In general however, there are some simple steps for cleaning hardwood floors:
Sweep or vacuum as frequently as possible. While once a week is often ideal, the amount of grit and debris will largely depend on the traffic and activities in areas where hardwood flooring is installed.
Wipe it off with recommended cleaners or at least with a damp mop to get rid of deep seated dirt and build-ups. Green enthusiasts recommend using a vinegar solution. Also check your mops – be sure they are not abrasive, better yet get microfiber ones.
Never allow prolonged exposure to water. Keep in mind that water and moisture is your wood floors’ worst nightmare. Make sure you check and repair subfloors before the hardwood flooring is installed. Also check if the moisture levels in the room can be tolerated by the hardwood of your choice.
Protect it by using carpet runners, door mats and area rugs, especially in high traffic areas. Avoid wearing sharp and pointed footwear as well as dropping sharp and abrasive objects on the floor.
Another great way to protect hardwood floors is by using furniture pads under the foot of various furnishing to make sure they don’t leave any scuffs and marks. Also, especially when redecorating or simply moving things around, never, ever drag furniture. Have someone lift it or ask someone to help you. Always be cautious when you drag something since the damage can go both ways: on the furniture and your hardwood floors.
Don’t wipe or rub in case of spills. Take an absorbent material and gently remove by patting. In cases of stains from spills, avoid experimenting with cleaners. Do some research before exposing your hardwood floors to chemicals and other materials that might do more damage.
Speaking of damage, be sure to immediately repair chips, cracks, scratches and other types of wear to your hardwood floors. If you think this is something you can’t do yourself, be sure to seek professional help.
Also check your wax and polishing materials; they should be something that will go well with the finish to avoid build-ups and discolorations. Also ensure that the surface is properly cleaned and any residue is removed so that clean appearance and even surface is maintained.
Finally, be kind to your floors. Hardwood floors need occasional treatment: re-sanding and refinishing. This process will help preserve your hardwood floors and perhaps make them last longer than your lifespan.
About the Author Bryan Vu is a home improvement blogger and community outreach associate for BuildDirect, an online flooring and building materials provider.