Hardwood floors are an elegant addition to almost every house. If you want your floors to last, however, you’re going to need to know the right and wrong ways to take care of them. Maintaining hardwood floors requires more than just a vacuum. While specific types of hardwood might require specific treatment, some general tips can be applied to all hardwood floors.
No matter if this is your first hardwood floor or if you’ve maintained hardwood floors for years, review the following list to make sure you’re following best practices.
Dry mops over brooms
Dirt, hair, and other debris are easy to spot on hardwood floors. To cut down on visible particles, you’re going to need to sweep or mop several times a week. The problem with sweeping is that rough bristles will scratch and damage your floors. Look for a broom with extremely soft bristles. To further minimize your chances of damaging your floors, invest in a dry mop. Dry mopping is essentially the same as sweeping but is more gentle on your floors. Dry mops are ideal for picking up dirt, hair, and other loose particles.
Lightweight vacuums work best
Dry mopping is great for daily cleaning, but a dry mop can’t pick up the dirt or hair that has fallen in between the cracks of your floors. To make sure your floors are completely dirt-free, you’re going to want to vacuum at least once a week. Avoid using heavy vacuums. They can be hard to maneuver and could scratch your floors. Lightweight vacuums from well-known brands like Shark work best. They are easy to maneuver and come with attachments specifically designed for hardwood floors, which means that you can safely use them on your floors without worrying about potential damage.
Protect from scratches
Cleaning your hardwood floors might mean that you have to move furniture around. The problem with this is that heavy furniture tends to scratch floors. To prevent yourself from accidentally damaging your floor while cleaning, make sure that you put felt pads on the bottom of your furniture. These pads come in small circles to put on the bottom of furniture legs and larger pieces to put under larger furniture. This way, if a piece of furniture does get moved, it is the soft felt that comes in contact with your floors, not the hard edges of the furniture.
Water and other liquids have the potential to warp your floors and/or damage the finish, but sometimes cleaners are necessary to lift grime. You just need to be careful with what types of cleaner you use on your floor. Look for commercial floor cleaners that specify that they can be used on hardwood. To clean up built-up grime, first, dampen a mop or a rag with the cleaner. Clean the floor. Then, rinse the mop or rag with water, wring out excess liquid, and go over the floors one more time. Wipe up excess liquid with a dry towel.
Hardwood floors can last longer than carpet and laminate, but only if they’re maintained properly. Don’t rush cleaning your hardwood floors. This increases your chances of accidentally scratching or warping your floors. Whenever you clean your floors, make sure you take all of the necessary steps to clean them properly. Most households will want to dry mop and vacuum every week. Deeper cleans that include polishing only need to happen four to six times a year. And, of course, if you ever spill something wet or sticky on your hardwood, clean it immediately.
Consult a professional
If you’ve recently moved into a house with damaged hardwood floors, consult with a professional carpenter to learn how best to tend to your floors. Once a hardwood floor is damaged, you’ll likely have to refinish the floor to get rid of any scratches. Refinishing a floor can be a lengthy process. You’ll have to sand, patch, stain, and apply a topcoat. Completely refinishing your floors gives you options over stain colors and stain finishes. If your floors are still in good shape, but you’re nervous about cleaning them yourself, consider consulting with a professional cleaning company.
Hardwood floors are beautiful and durable — and with the right amount of maintenance, they can last for years! If you’re lucky enough to have hardwood floors throughout your house, take the time to learn how to maintain them properly. Remember to take your time and find the right technique and the right cleaner that works for your floors.