Hardwood floors are a beautiful feature in your home, and they can continue to be in the years ahead. It’s important to implement a cleaning and maintenance regimen to protect the look and integrity of your hardwood floors. Whether it’s routine maintenance or a deep clean, here’s your guide to keeping your hardwood floors looking fabulous.
Hardwood Floor Maintenance
Practice preventive care by using area rugs, furniture pads, and entry and exit mats. In damp weather, be sure to wipe up puddles and mud, particularly in the winter when salt or de-icing agents might be in the mix. Don’t slide furniture across the floor without protective sliders, and try to shield high-traffic areas with decorative rugs. Make sure to address spots or scratches as soon as possible. Allowing stains to sit long term can permanently damage the wood. Maintain your home’s temperature and humidity; hardwood floors do best at a temperature between 60 and 80 degrees and humidity level between 30 and 50 percent.
Use a dust mop or broom to collect dry elements from your floor. You can also use a vacuum with a floor brush attachment. By removing all of the dust, pet hair, and loose dirt, you’ll save yourself time when it comes to doing a more thorough, deep cleaning.
Use a damp mop and diluted wood-cleaning agent to rub away the built up grime on your hardwood floor. Be certain that the mop doesn’t leave behind any residue; the floor should be barely wet to the touch. Use a microfiber towel to dry any excessively wet areas.
Combine your usual cleaning regimen with a quarterly floor polish. Polishing your floor not only keeps the wood hydrated and nourished, but it also protects from micro scratches, which may worsen if neglected.
When scuffs or stains arise, utilize specialty cleaning products to touch up the surface of your floor. No. 000 steel wool is somewhat of a magic eraser for hardwood floors. It works well when buffing out pet stains, heel marks, and water stains. Often, floor wax can be paired with the steel wool to provide a protective barrier on the affected area.
For oil-based spills, dish detergent can be used to break down the stain. Rub in the diluted soap with a soft cloth; you may need to do this several times to completely remove the spot. Regardless of the type of stain, it’s best to rinse the area with warm water. Always pat the area dry to prevent warping.
Pay a professional to come in to clean and protect your floors. Doing this on a yearly schedule will allow you to maintain your floors without having to pay for commercial equipment on your own. Professional cleaners are able to spot trouble areas and treat them to prevent further damage. You may also want to consider sanding and refinishing your floors every few years.
Don’t ever use vinegar or soap to clean your floor. Vinegar will dull the finish on your hardwood, and soap can leave damaging residue. Household cleaners can also damage your floor, so when treating it, make sure that you are using an agent made specifically for hardwood floors. If at all possible, make your floors a no-shoe zone—especially those with heels.