Hardwood floors require a special kind of maintenance for cleaning, Learn how to clean hardwood floors by using these following these simple tips.
Hardwood floors are almost universally revered. And why not? They’re beautiful, durable and can add a significant amount of value to a home. Just like any part of your home, dirt and grime can accumulate over time (hey, that rhymes!). to clean hardwood floors require a good cleaning every now and then to maintain their look… and to not gross out the members of your household and visitors. But what’s the best way to accomplish this task?
Best Ways To Clean Your Hardwood Floors
How Often ?
First things first, though. The biggest question homeowners have about cleaning their floors is how often they should be doing it – if we’re being honest, we all probably wonder about this for every room in the house! Frequency comes down to personal preference and how much traffic you have. Obviously, the floors in a home with three kids and a dog is likely going to require more frequent cleaning than those in the home of a single guy who’s rarely home. A good rule of thumb is to sweep or vacuum high-traffic areas, like the kitchen and dining room, on a daily basis and mop once a week. Less-trafficked areas should be swept or vacuumed as needed and mopped once every month or so.
Before You Clean
You need to determine how your hardwood floor is sealed, if indeed that’s the case. The finish, not the wood type, is the determining factor in how you clean a floor. Most new wood floors are sealed with urethane, polyurethane or polyacrylic. Surface-sealed floors are stain- and water-damage resistant and easiest to clean: just sweep, mop and you’re done! However, a penetrating seal or oil finish will soak into the wood grain and harden. This type of floor must be pampered and protected with liquid or paste wax. Finally, lacquered, varnished and shellacked are not as resistant to moisture, spills and wear as the other sealants mentioned. Treat floors with these finishes (or floors with no finish) with liquid or paste wax. A great way to determine what kind of finish you have is to rub your finger across the floor. If no smudge appears, the floor is surface sealed. If you do create a smudge, the floor has been treated with a penetrating seal, oil finish, shellac, varnish or lacquer.
And finally, The Cleaning Part
Sweeping should be done using a soft-bristled broom angled to get into corners and wide enough to swiftly do the job. If you’re more the vacuuming type, be sure to do so with a soft floor nozzle; carpet beaters and brush rolls can damage the finish. For a quick dusting, electrostatic cloths work well. As for what product to actually use to clean your floor, there are several on the market that will do the trick just fine (be sure to read labels to ensure the cleaner is compatible with your floor type). However, the gold standard in the eyes of many is Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner. It’s practically legendary for its ability to cut through stains and erase scuff marks. Steer clear of old-fashioned remedies like vinegar or dish detergent, as they can actually damage the finish of many hardwood floor types.
When mopping, dip the mop into the bucket of prepared cleaning solution, wring it out completely, mop in the direction of the wood grain and repeat. When the water gets dirty, empty the bucket, mix a new batch of cleaning solution and continue mopping. Don’t be afraid to get on your hands and knees to clean tough spots with a cloth or sponge, if necessary. When finished, go back over the entire surface with clean water to rinse. Wipe up excess water with a clean, dry towel because standing water can damage the floor. Oh and, although it may be tempting, NEVER use a steam cleaner on a wood floor. It opens the pores in woods and damages the finish, causing irreversible damage.
Save Yourself Some Work In The Future!
As always, preventive maintenance is ideal. Put doormats inside and outside exterior doors to cut down on the dirt and moisture tracked in. Avoid scratches by using floor protectors under furniture and putting down rugs in high-traffic areas. Also, clean up spills immediately. Hardwood floors may look impervious to spills compared with carpet, but certain substances can actually eat away at the top coat of polish on your floor. Some common offenders include milk, mustard, and pet urine.
However, even the most meticulously cared-for hardwood floors will need professional attention at some point. Eventually, wood floors withstand enough damage that they should be refinished — meaning the top layer of wood is sanded down to remove marks, then covered with sealant. Hardwood floors should be resealed about once every 10 years, or every two to five years if they get substantial traffic from kids or pets.