Many homeowners believe that installing hardwood floors is ideal because of the low maintenance attached to the product. This can be the case, but hardwood floors do require care. Here are some tips on how to care for your hardwood floors.
- Prevention. As with any flooring, preventing dirt and grime from entering in the first place is the best plan. Place floor mats at your home's entrances to collect any dirt, mud or debris that may be walking in your door.
- Dirt and Grime. Dirt and grime can be removed from hardwood floors with some elbow grease. Brooms with fine ends are ideal for removing dirt from the surface. Wood cleaners like Murphy's Oil, which combine cleaning agents with a small amount of wax, will keep your floors looking clean.
- Damp Mopping. This is the fastest and best way to deep-clean solid hardwood floors. Depending on how much use your floor gets, you may have to mop it as often as once a week. Use a neutral pH wood cleaner and water, or manufacturer-recommended products. Wet the mop and wring so it's about half-dry. Wet the floor with the mop. Dip the mop into clean water, wring it as dry as you can, and mop over the floor again.
- Wax. If you can't restore your solid hardwood floor's luster with a cleaning, you may want to apply a maintenance coat. Waxing is an easy way to restore your hardwood floor's natural beauty. Always read the manufacturer's label before waxing your floor, and consult a professional who knows about hardwood floors-specifically the type you have in your home.
- Vacuum With Care. Use a vacuum with a brush attachment -- don't use vacuums with beater bars. Avoid using heavy machines or any that have appendages that will scratch your floors. Just say no to high heels. High heels can cause damage to soft hardwood floors. Pumpkin pine, soft oak, and other floors can be punctured by high heels. Cherry wood and white oak are more durable, but it's best to be safe than sorry when it comes to your home. Say no high heels on your hardwood floors.
- Furniture. Any and all furniture on the flooring should have soft felt or rubber padding on the legs to prevent scratches in the hardwood floor. This is particularly important for softer varieties of hardwood.
- Sunburns? Direct sun can discolor your hardwood floor. Close curtains and blinds when you are not at home. You can add sheer drapes to protect from the sun's rays.
- Standing Water. Standing water can warp a finished hardwood floor and can damage the finish. Wipe up all spills and be careful not to overwater plants that are directly on floor level.
These are a few fundamental tips on how to keep your floors looking good. As with anything, regular upkeep is the key to maintaining a clean, healthy floor surface.