In addition to being beautiful and durable, hardwood floors are easy to maintain. A little preventive maintenance is all it takes to keep hardwood always looking like they were installed last week. The simplest way to maintain wooden floors is regular cleaning, and hardwood floors are fairly easy to clean. Clean it the right way, and you will be the envy of your house guests as they try to figure out where you get the money to keep installing new floors.
Why regular cleaning is good for wooden floors:
- There is much to be gained from regular cleaning. For starters, cleaning removes particles that would cause scratches if they remained on the floor. Preventing scratches goes a long way in keeping it in good condition.
- Cleaning also prevents moisture and stains from spills from damaging wooden floors. Prolonged exposure to moisture causes wood to bulge and warp. Prompt removal of spills prevents formation of stains on the wood, and protects the wood from exposure to moisture.
- Dusting and wiping is one of the ways we can retain the luster. After dusting and wiping the floor with a damp mop, we can buff the floor with flat mop heads or microfiber cloths.
- Cleaning regularly and in the right way assures the floor’s longevity. To our hardwood floors, our loving care is their fountain of youth.
Cleaning Hardwood The Right Way
An important consideration when cleaning a hardwood floor is the type of finish used on the floor.
Older floors have wax, varnish or shellac finishes and are more vulnerable to moisture. With these kinds of floors, wetness should be avoided at all costs. Wiping should be done with slightly damp mops or cloths .
Water-based cleaning products should never be used on old floors. When polishing old floors, use suitable finishes like wax. Liquid wax is easier to apply, but paste wax gives a thicker, more protective finish. Furniture wax, acrylic wax or water-based waxes should never be used, they only discolor or damage the floor.
Newer floors are surface-sealed and finished with far less porous substances like polyurethane or poly-acrylic, which are far more resistant to moisture and stains.
For surface sealed floors, water-based cleaners could be sparingly used. However, chlorine, ammonia and alkaline cleaners should never be used; they only dull the floor by leaving residues on it. Some cleaners interact badly with the finish of a surface-sealed floor, so cleaning products should be compatible with the floor’s finish. When in doubt, simply mop the floor with soapy water. The soap used should be mild and PH neutral.
Regular cleaning prevents the build-up of dust. If dust accumulates, it is ground into the wood as time goes by. This dust build-up dulls and scratches the wood.
- Spills and stains should be removed immediately by wiping and drying along the grain of the wood. Stain removal can be done with the help of cleaning products compatible with your floor’s finishing.
- For daily cleaning, dusting and and sweeping will suffice. Microfiber mops or cloths dust more thoroughly because they use static electricity to attract and trap dirt and particles. For a thorough clean, the microfiber mop should always touch the floor as you clean. If you keep lifting the mop off the floor while you dust, the particles will fall off the mop.
- Weekly cleaning of the floor is done by vacuuming and mopping. The vacuum must be suitable for hardwood floors. It should have rubber wheels, padding and soft parts that will not scratch the floor. Mopping should be done with a damp mop, never a wet one. Too much moisture is bad for wooden floors, especially those with wax or shellac finishes. Here is a nice post on how to choose a proper hardwood floor vacuum.
- Once every few months, you can buff you floors or polish them, if the polish is worn. Polish fills in any scratches on the floor’s finish and reinforces the protective layer of your hardwood floor.
- -Every couple of of years, the hardwood floor can be refinished by stripping the old finish, sealing gouges and cracks and applying new finish. Refinishing removes deeply embedded dirt.
Maintaining Your Floors is Easy
Taking care of our hardwood floors is not at all difficult, it comes naturally to us. A little time and attention is all your floors need to remain forever shiny, smooth and beautiful.