While many people think that wood floors are high maintenance, this isn't exactly true. What is true, however, is that properly maintaining your floors will extend their lifetime and keep them beautiful for years to come. Choosing the proper cleaner will help you keep your hardwood floors looking great!
To choose the right wood floor cleaner, follow these tips:
- Everyday Cleaning -- For everyday cleaning, your best bet is to sweep or dust mop your floors. In fact, it is essential that you do this before a more thorough cleaning as well. Many vacuum cleaners also have a hard floor setting, and you can use this to eliminate the dirt and dust that accumulates on a daily basis. Because you want to avoid excess moisture, however, try to avoid soaking your floor, no matter how you clean it.
- Surface Matters -- Before you can properly maintain your floor, you need to be familiar with its surface. Once you've determined what type of sealant or surface protects it, you'll have a better idea regarding what type of cleaner to use. Not sure about the surface of your floor? You can consult a flooring professional in your area for help.
- Waxed Floors -- With most waxed wood floors, the best cleaner is actually nothing at all. You'll need to dust mop and sweep on a regular basis, and you can also buff your floor occasionally to restore its polish. Once that shine becomes too dull to restore, however, you'll either need to remove the wax with an ammonia-based wax stripper, or if the surface is a paste wax, you can clean the floor and apply a new coat of paste wax to restore the shine.
- Varnish/Shellac Floors -- Older floors commonly have a coat of varnish or shellac applied to their surface. While you should care for these floors by dust mopping or sweeping as well, you cannot add a new surface of varnish or shellac once the floor has become dull. Your best bet is to hire someone to completely refinish your floors. This will include sanding them and applying several coats of polyurethane. Once you've done this, care will be easy for many years.
- Polyurethane Floors --The most common sealant for wood floors today is polyurethane. Newly installed and refinished floors are typically sealed with several coats of polyurethane. While you will still clean by dust mopping or sweeping on a regular basis, there are many products on the market which are sold specifically for this type of finish. Look for cleaners that state they are safe for polyurethane sealed wood floors. Never apply wax! Once the shine has worn off after many years, it will be time to refinish them as well, by sanding and applying new coats of polyurethane.