Wood Floor Maintenance
Cleaning a Hardwood Floor
The Secret to a Long Lasting Floor
Elegance and beauty are primary characteristics of a hardwood floor. But without wood floor maintenance these specific qualities will soon start to fade.
Understanding the do's and don'ts of the hardwood floor maintenance process is imperative for the length and quality of your hardwood floors.
So, What Should You Do?
Shoes Off or Walk Off
Hardwood floor maintenance starts at the entry door. If it was up to me, I would strongly recommend shoes off when it comes to hardwood flooring. But since we seem to always be in a rush, and the shoes don't always come off, walk off, even though not perfect, is the "easy way out".
Place some walk off mats at the entry doors and make sure to use them properly.
Wipe your feet before you get on the hardwood floors and make sure there is nothing left on the bottom of your soles before you start walking on the floors. Anything hard – rocks, heavy debris- on the soles of your shoes will, very likely, scratch the floor finish or even dent your beautiful hardwood floors.
Avoid "Most Recommended" Cleaning Products
Cleaning Products are Not For Wood Floors
I know they won awards, I know they are the "most recommended", I know they sold millions a month, still I strongly recommend you not to use them.
Unless, the product you are about to use, is for a prefinished floor and is recommended by the flooring manufacturer, not the cleaning product manufacturer, I strongly recommend you to stay away from it.
Many cleaning products out there contain ammonia, while others are oil soap products, both very harmful for your floor after medium and long term use. So, if you want a long lasting, beautiful floor, take these products out of your wood floor maintenance cabinet.
The best hardwood floor cleaner is sitting right in your kitchen cabinet. See below for details.
Use Water and Vinegar Instead
Yes. I know you thought that wood floor maintenance is, probably, expensive, but I have to disappoint you here. It's not. Even though some people out there are ridiculing the process, it is probably the most effective way to keep your floor clean.
Mix about half a cup of vinegar in a gallon of water, apply a very small amount on the mop and you are on your way.
Warning: Do not use excessive amounts of vinegar in your mix. Vinegar is an acid base "solution". Use the right amount and your wood floor maintenance will be a success, use too much and you will, eventually damage the finish on your floor.
Always remember the ratio: half a cup for a gallon of water.
Do Not Use Excessive Water
Wood is a natural, organic product that will react to moisture by expanding. This is why it is very important to, always, use a damp sweeper when cleaning the floor. Keep this in mind, since it's very important. Excessive water will damage your floor.
If you want to be on the safe side, I recommend using a spray-like container to apply the solution on your cleaning sweeper.
Use the Right Mop
Buying the right mop for your wood floor maintenance might feel overwhelming for a bit, also. Wet mops, sponge mops, flat mops, you name it they have it.
Don't worry! All you have to do is, ignore them. Ignore them all. The one you are looking for is the flat dust mop.
Yes you will apply a little bit of cleaning solution to it, but if you need a soaked mop to clean your floor, most likely you are abusing it too much and soon you will need more than a mop to make it look good, you will need a flooring contractor…
Use Protective Pads
Constant friction between the legs of your furniture pieces and the finished floor will eventually damage the finish and/or dent the wood. Apply protective pads to the legs of your furniture pieces and you will completely avoid these problems.
Once in a while, check the legs of the chairs, since you might have to replace some of these pads on them. Because the chairs are the most moved furniture items in the house, the pads will erode after a while and require replacement.
Some Common Sense Reminders
Even though they are pretty obvious, I will list them here as reminders:
• Do not slide any heavy furniture on top of the floor. As a matter of fact, just to stay on the safe side, avoid sliding stuff on the floor altogether.
• Wipe off any spills as quickly as possible.
• If you chose to install wood floors in the kitchens or powder rooms, place a rug in front of the sink. No matter how hard you try, there will be spills and this will stop them from getting to the floor.
• If you have any pets, trim their nails regularly to avoid scratching the floor.
• To avoid excessive shrinkage or expansion of the wood floor, install a humidifier to keep the moisture constant all year long.
So, there you have it. Out of all types of floor covering, wood floors are probably the easiest to clean and maintain.
Follow the aforementioned simple steps and you will have beautiful looking floors for as long as you own the house. Guaranteed!!!
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