Hardwood Floor Care Cleaning and Maintenance
Protecting Your Hardwood Floor from Wear
Dirt, grit and sand are your hardwood floor's worst enemies. They act like sandpaper to the finish, causing dents, scratches and dulling.
Here are a few recommendations that will protect your hardwood floor from wear, staining and water damage. The care you give your hardwood floors can be as important as your choice of the type of hardwood flooring, finish and the company you choose to install it.
Place a bristle mat at all the exterior doors of your home. A quality bristle mat will remove grit and small stones from shoes when people enter your home. This is extremely important, even if your family and guests remove their shoes upon entering. To further protect your hardwood floor from wear, area rugs placed at all entry points are a great investment.
Place area rugs anywhere there is water: in front of the sink, the dishwasher and ice maker. If there’s a sizable spill, check under the rug to see if any liquid has gone through. If it has, take the rug out of the room to dry it out and dry the floor with a mop.
Felt pads placed under all furniture legs provide excellent protection for your hardwood floor. Check the felt pads for grit every time you sweep or clean your hardwood floors. Lift furniture instead of sliding it, even if it slides well with the felt pads.
If you must slide furniture or appliances, place remnants of carpet or linoleum under the item before moving it. Pieces of 1/8” masonite work extremely well under furniture and appliances when moving. Be sure you watch movers and furniture delivery men to be sure they provide protection for your hardwood floor when sliding furniture or appliances into place.
With a little care, your hardwood floor finish can retain it's shine and luster for many years.
Day-to-Day Care of yourHardwood Floor
Select a broom with fine soft bristles and an ‘exploded’ end. These trap dust and grit very effectively. A high power vacuum cleaner with a soft ‘bare floor’ attachment usually works even better than a broom.
You can also use a dust mop. Select a dust mop with a 12” to 18” cotton head and a special dust mop attachment. When using a ‘dust magnet’ treatment, be sure to spray it on at least twelve hours before you dust. This will make certain the chemicals from the spray have dried completely and are no longer off-gassing heavily.
Cleaning your Hardwood Floor
When cleaning your hardwood flooring, do not use Swiffer or any of the competitive wet disposable cloths. The liquid soap used in these products can damage most hardwood floors. Prefinished hardwood floors are particularly vulnerable to the soap in wet cloths because of the unsealed seams between the boards, but the finishes of some site finished hardwood floors can also be damaged.
Many hardwood floor owners have been advised by parents and grandparents to use a good oil soap on their floors, like Murphy’s. While these oils may have worked well in touching up a wax finished floor of yesteryear, modern hardwood floor finishes generally do not absorb the oil. Residue builds up with each application, attracts dirt and grime and gradually dulls the appearance of the hardwood floor.
Always use a neutral ph cleaner specifically designed for hardwood floor finishes. Damp mopping with a hardwood floor cleaner is the fastest and best way to deep-clean your hardwood floor. If your hardwood flooring gets a lot of traffic you may need to damp mop as often as every week. Wet your mop and wring it so that it’s about half-dry. Wet the floor with your mop with the cleaner/water mixture. Dip the mop in clean water and wring it as dry as possible. Mop over the floor with the clean nearly-dry mop to remove as much water as possible.