We can all agree that a house full of hardwood floors is drop dead gorgeous. But who has time for all of that maintenance? It’s true that dirt has a harder time hiding on hardwood floors than on other surfaces such as carpet, which makes it easier to notice. But, by developing your own cleaning routine, and working to prevent scuffs and scratches from happening in the first place, you will be able to keep your beautiful investment looking better and lasting longer.
Why Hardwood is the Best Choice for You
Apart from the fact that hardwood floors are timeless and always carry a look of elegance, there are a few other reasons why hardwood floors may be the best option for your home. Wood can last for a hundred years or more. Humans have been using wood in their houses for centuries. Not only does it last for a very long time but it is always in style, which means you’ll never need to change your flooring in order to keep up with the trends. Wood is an excellent insulator, thanks to its thousands of tiny air chambers per cubic inch, which holds in heat. It’s also easy to clean. With just a sweep or a mop your floors will be as clean as the day you got them. Wood doesn’t give pollen or mold a place to thrive, so it’s perfect for people with allergies.
Once you’ve decided to fill your home with beautiful hardwood flooring, you’ll need to start thinking about how to maintain and clean it to keep it sparkling for years to come.
How to Prevent Scuffs, Scratches and Stains
The best way to protect your hardwood floors is to prevent them from getting damaged in the first place. This can be difficult for busy households with pets and small children! Here are some tips and tricks for scratch-proofing your floors:
- Place mats inside and outside the exterior doors.
- Put fabric on the feet of the furniture. Not only does this make moving furniture easier, but it prevents scuffs on the hardwood.
- Place rugs at the children’s play areas to ensure that the toys don’t scratch the floor.
- Place a shoe removal area by the door so that people will remove their dirty shoes before stepping on the flooring.
Basic Care: The Day-To-Day of Hardwood Floors
Dusting your floors with a microfiber cloth or mop is the best way to ensure that they will remain spick and span. Microfiber cloths use static electricity to trap dirt, particles and other household allergens, whereas a broom will only push around the dirt
Get the Floors to Really Shine with a Deep Clean
Over time dirt, oil and grime can build up on your hardwood floors, even if you are diligent in your daily dusting. To remove that build-up, consider doing a deep clean every couple of months, perhaps a spring and fall clean. Follow these steps to give your floor some extra shine:
- After sweeping with a microfiber cloth, vacuum the floor. This will help to remove dirt from any hard to reach corners, and to get in between the cracks of the hardwood. Do not use a beater-bar attachment because it can damage the floor.
- Prepare a bucket of warm water. Dip your mop into the water, be sure to thoroughly wring it out, and mop the floor with the grain of the wood. It is very important to wring the mop out as much as possible, as a wet floor will ruin the hardwood. If you have a ceiling fan you may turn it on to allow the water to dry faster.
NOTE: for heavy-duty cleaning you may want to use a concentrated hardwood cleaner added to your water.
Finish off by waxing and buffing, if your floor is suited for this
Before attempting to remove marks, consider the finish that is on your flooring. If the stain is on the surface, your floor likely has hard finish. If the stain has penetrated the wood, your floor is more likely to have soft oiled finish, which is common in older houses.
If Your Floor Has a Hard Finish
Wipe your floor with a soft cloth. Never use sandpaper, steel wool or harsh cleaning products that could damage the finish.
If Your Floor Has a Soft Finish
Dark Spots and Pet Stains: Rub the spot with steel wool and floor wax. If the area is still dark, apply vinegar and allow it to soak in for an hour. Rinse with a damp cloth.
Heel Marks: Use fine steel wool to rub in floor wax.
Oil-Based Stains: Rub the area with a soft cloth and dishwasher detergent to break down grease. Rinse with clean water. Let the spot dry, then smooth the raised grain with fine sandpaper.
Water Marks: Rub the spot with steel wool and floor wax. If the stain goes deeper, lightly sand the floor and clean with fine steel wool and odorless mineral spirits.
Looking for a Natural Option for Cleaning Your Floors?
Follow all of the above cleaning suggestions, but instead of cleaning products use:
1 part vinegar
10 parts warm water
A couple of drops of liquid Castille soap
Now that you see how easy it can be to clean and maintain hardwood floors, you can feel good about your choice to fill your home with this fantastic wood flooring. Why replace your flooring every few years when you can have something that is clean, comfortable, and durable. Not to mention beautiful!