Hardwood floors are a popular option for any home. They are stylish, beautiful and give that natural feel that so many people are after. Making the decision to acquire a hardwood floor should be viewed as an investment. Maintaining the floor properly is key to keeping it looking good as the day you bought it.
Even though hardwood floors are quite resilient, that doesn’t mean they can take constant beating without suffering. And yet, that is what often happens - you walk on them all day long, you thread dust and dirt and at the end of the day you expect them to look gleaming. That is highly unlikely, if you don’t focus your effort on proper floor cleaning and maintenance techniques. If you are unsure on how to do this, read on.
One of the main things you have to keep in mind is that resorting to commercial cleaning products may not be ideal. Not only are those a danger to your floors, as using the inappropriate cleaners may damage them, but also your health is at risk. Since floors are the largest surface area of your home, you will do well to consider natural cleaning solutions. That will save you the eye irritation, dizziness and possibly other nasty side effects, while still providing the much-needed sanitation for your hardwood floor.
Regular maintenance is very important for keeping your floors looking great at all times. If you constantly see dirt on your floor, take this as a sign to take some preventive measures. Certain techniques can help with that and reduce the amount of cleaning you do:
- Cleverly placing doormats at the entrance of your home can greatly reduce the amount of dust that ends up on your floors.
- Be strict about anyone visiting and adopt a ‘no-shoe inside’ policy.
- Be regular at floor cleaning in order to keep the floor looking great.
How you proceed with cleaning mainly depends on the type of surface your hardwood floor has. You have to be really careful, as using the wrong solution can damage the floor eventually. What you need to take into account is the type of finish your floor has.
- Surface finish - some of the most common surface finishes include polyurethane, varnish, epoxy and acrylic. These give the floor a glossy look, coated on top for extra protection. Since water is considered an enemy to hardwood floors with surface finishes, you will do well to damp mop instead. This is a technique where you wet the mop barely and work with it to clean. Go over the floor twice - to dissolve dirt and to rinse it. Buff dry with a towel and you are done. Performing such floor cleaning every week is a good idea, but you can probably get away with less, if the area with hardwood floor sees less traffic. To create a simple cleaning solution you can pour a quarter cup of mild dishwashing detergent in a bucket of warm water and use that for damp mopping. Ammonia-based cleaners are out of the question and so is vinegar, even though the latter is often considered in green cleaning methods.
- Penetrating finish - the penetrating finish of a floor allows for more of a natural look, since the wood can be felt more. Normally the finish is wax or oil sunk in the wood. The thing about penetrating finish is that it can be easily damaged if you use water based cleaner, or one that is designed for surface finish. Instead you can use solvent-based cleaners, such as citrus solvent. The way you clean a floor is by spraying a thin film and dry mopping it. Remember that if a spill on a floor with penetrating finish occurs, you should be quick in cleaning it, since it can soak quickly.
Care for and maintain your hardwood floor so that you can enjoy it for longer. Take your time in understanding the basics in order to ensure you do not cause any harm in the process. That way anyone who walks in your home will feel impressed and stunned by the beauty of your flooring.