Many people think hardwood floors are the best option. They look great, but they’re durable and easy to clean. However, one thing that people forget when going for hardwood, is that floors can easily become scratched and damaged if you're not careful. This guide will show you how to clean and protect your hardwood floors without buying special equipment.
Without having to read the whole article, sweeping and dusting is the most important thing you can do to clean and also protect hardwood floors. You can use a soft broom or dust mop to remove dirt, dust, and debris. If doing it by hand make sure to sweep in the direction of the grain to avoid scratches. If you have an automatic vacuum cleaner designed for hardwood floors you can get the best results every day without having to spend time cleaning yourself.
Hardwood floors are much more alive than people realize
Hard floors are natural wood and are therefore much softer than other material types like hard stones or composite materials used to make floor tiles, this means they are easily scratched. To add to this hardwood floors are a weak organic that gets eaten away by mold and mildew if the conditions are right for them to grow, while stone floors can also degrade; it is a much longer and harder process.
These are the main two factors to control in order to keep healthy and polished hardwood floors, preventing exposure by removing abrasives from the wood surface and keeping the wood moisture under control.
How to clean a hardwood floor
Here are some tips on how to clean your hardwood floors:
- Regularly sweep or vacuum your hardwood floors to remove dirt and debris. Even if you can't see it, dust and grit from outside the house are always coming into your home, and under pressure will scratch either the floor coating or the wood itself.
- Wipe up spills immediately with a damp cloth to prevent them from soaking into the wood and causing discoloration or decay.
- Protect your floors from deep scratches by placing felt pads under furniture legs.
- Place hard brush floor mats at all entryways to wipe dirt and debris off your shoes.
- Keep shoes at the door to prevent mud and grit from being tracked into the home.
How to maintain your floor coating
The topcoat on your hardwood floors is what protects the wood from dirt, water, and wear. When this coat becomes damaged, it can be tough to repair.
- Never use harsh chemicals or cleaners on your hardwood floors. Hardwood floors are sensitive to acidic and alkaline cleaners, damaging the finish. Use a neutral (PH7) detergent.
- Wax floors every 6 to 18 months to add a protective barrier and help conceal any marks or scratches
- Don’t allow water to sit on your hardwood floors for extended periods.
- Avoid using vinegar or baking soda for removing stains, just use a regular neutral soap and water
Ways to avoid heavy damage on hardwood floors
These are a few tricks to counter commonly overlooked causes of heavy damage to the floor
Keep outdoor equipment outside
Things like children’s toys, gardening tools and folding chairs are built for heavy duty wear and need to be able to grip the floor. These dense materials are good for the garden but bad for the floor.
Always use felt pads under furniture legs
This will help distribute the weight of the furniture and protect the wood from scratches and dents. Use area rugs in high-traffic areas. This will help protect your floors from dirt and debris.
Keep your pets nails short.
Trim your pet's nails regularly to avoid scratches on your hardwood floors.
Avoid dragging furniture across the floor; try lifting it instead
This will prevent wear and tear on the wood and any scratching that may occur. If you have to move heavy items, like couches or refrigerators, try using a dolly or other moving device to avoid putting too much pressure on the floorboards.
With these tips, you can protect your hardwood floors and keep them looking new for years to come.
What cleaning products to avoid
Protecting your hardwood floors is a high priority for many homeowners. Not only are they beautiful and enhance the look of any room, but they're also a considerable investment. When it comes time to clean them, it's essential to avoid certain products that could damage or even ruin your hardwood floors. Here are five cleaning products you should never use on hardwood floors:
1. Harsh Chemicals
Hardwood floors are sensitive to acidic and alkaline cleaners, damaging the finish. Stick to using a neutral (PH7) detergent.
2. Abrasive Cleaners
Abrasive cleaners can also damage the finish of your hardwood floors. Avoid using any cleaner with grit or that contains harsh chemicals.
3. Wax-Based Products
Wax-based products may make your hardwood floors look shiny and new, but they can cause long-term damage. Over time, the wax will build up and become difficult to remove, requiring professional stripping and refinishing.
4. Steam Cleaners
Never use a steam cleaner on hardwood floors as the heat and moisture can damage the wood and cause warping or cupping. If you must clean your floors with water, always blot them dry afterward with a soft, clean cloth.
5. Furniture Polish
Furniture polish can leave a sticky residue on your hardwood floors, attracting dirt and debris. In addition, it's difficult to remove and will eventually build up, making your floors look dull.
When it comes to cleaning your hardwood floors, less is more. Just use a neutral PH7 detergent and avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners. Avoid Murphy oil soap, which can leave a residue on polyurethane, and waxes, which can make the floor slippery. Vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda are good at stain removal but can dull the coating's finish. If you're unsure about a product, always test it in an inconspicuous area before using it on the entire floor. With some care and attention, you can keep your hardwood floors looking new for years to come.
Wood will tell you when the moisture isn’t right.
If you have hardwood floors, you know they’re susceptible to damage from water and moisture. But did you know that your floors can tell you when the humidity in your home isn’t proper? If your floors are cupping or buckling, it could be a sign that the humidity is too high. Conversely, if your floors are shrinking or gaps are appearing, it could indicate that the humidity is too low.
To protect your hardwood floors, it’s essential to maintain a relative humidity of 30-50%. You can use a humidifier in the winter and an air conditioner in the summer. You should also avoid using excessive water when cleaning your floors. Wet mops are fine, but ensure to wring them out well before mopping. And always blot up any spills as soon as they occur.
By taking care of your hardwood floors and keeping the humidity in your home at a comfortable level, you can protect your floors from damage and keep them looking beautiful for years to come.
The Best Tools and Cleaners to Protect your Hardwood Floors
A conventional mop and bucket are hard work but will get the job done, just be careful with the hardness of the broom you use to prepare the floor and the heavy bucket which are hard plastics and capable of scratching the floor. Mops for hardwood floors should be only damp enough to avoid over saturating. Consider using a flat or spray mop with hardwood floor cleaner instead of a regular wet mop.
Vinegar and ammonia are popular "household cleaners" for removing hardwood floor dirt, but they aren't the best option for preserving your floors. Vinegar is corrosive and can wear away the finish of your hardwood floors, while ammonia might cause discoloration.
How to Make Hardwood Floors Shine
It is critical to preserve your hardwood floors looking new and fresh. To speed up the drying process, look for cleaners with solvents and chelators to combat water spotting on hardwood flooring.
To make hardwood floors shine, regularly use a dust mop or vacuum to remove dirt and debris. Wipe up spills immediately to avoid staining, and use the right cleaners for your hardwood floor type. Mop with a damp, not wet, mop head, and avoid using vinegar or ammonia on your floors. Wax and polish only when needed to protect your floors from wear and tear. Following these tips, you can keep your hardwood floors looking shiny and new.
To sum it up
Sweeping and mopping are the two most effective ways to clean hardwood floors. For sweeping, use a soft-bristled broom or microfiber dust mop. Mops with flat heads are best for hardwood floors; avoid mops with hard parts, which can damage the flooring. When mopping, use a slightly dampened mop head and a mild cleanser; avoid soaking the floor, as this can also damage it.
- To protect your hardwood floors, avoid using harsh chemicals, abrasive cleaners, wax-based products, steam cleaners, or furniture polish.
- Wood floors can tell you when the humidity in your home isn't right. To protect your hardwood floors, maintain a relative humidity of 30-50%.
- By taking care of your hardwood floors and keeping the humidity in your home at a comfortable level, you can protect your floors from damage and keep them looking beautiful for years to come.
Your hardwood floors will last for many years with proper care and cleaning. Following these tips can keep them looking beautiful and protect your hardwood floor from damage.