Essential Hardwood Maintenance Guidelines

Hardwood Maintenance

Having hardwood floor is a serious investment. One that should be highly maintained and cared for. Cleaning the floor can be the most dreadful of chores and perhaps most of us would not mind a small miracle to ease the agony. Unfortunately, there aren’t any fairy godmothers like in Cinderella and doing this task is up to us. No matter how sparkling once was your floor, from what material it was made of, it eventually wears off. What matters most in maintaining the hardwood floor is the type of finish that  was applied on it. So, before making any fast decision you might later regret, take a closer look at your floor and prepare for gentle scrubbing.

Determine The Floor Finish

The most common types of floor finishes are shellac, wax, polyurethane and varnish. And to find out whether you have one of those, there are a few tricks to simply figure it out. Firstly, run a hand over the wood and if you can feel a “grain” texture, usually the floor has a finish made of natural oils and is most definitely topped with wax. Secondly, on an inconspicuous spot dab a little paint remover and notice if the finish bubbles up. If it does, then it is a polyurethane type, which acts as a protective layer. Another way to determine the type of the finish is by using a coin. Simply scratch the surface of the floor and if it flakes off, the surely it has varnish or shellac top. 

Prevent Dirty Floors 

Most likely you hate it when your nail polish begins to have scratches. Well, maintaining a nail polish is way much easier than hardwood floors is. Not wearing shoes at your home is probably the best way to reduce not only the appearance of abrasions , but also the dirt you are bringing from outside. Unlike the carpets, which can hide the grime, any dirt on the hardwood floor will become visible and will damage the coat if not properly cared for. Putting door mats at the entrances will significantly reduce dirt and pesticides. 

Scheduled Cleaning 

Make a plan how often and what type of cleaning you will be performing  to maintain the floor. For daily cleaning, I would suggest to dust it with a microfiber mop as a defense against surface damages. Microfiber pads use static electricity to trap small particles and household allergens. Avoid using a broom since it only pushes the dirt around. For your weekly maintenance it is best to deal with the harder to reach areas in your home. Use vacuums and wet mops with extra caution. If your vacuum cleaner has a beater bar try not to hit the floor with it and slide the machine lightly on it. Remember that water and wood do not mix. Excess liquid can dull the finish and leave a discolouring residue. 

Advanced Tips 

Never use vinegar, water, soap-based cleaners or steam cleaners on your hardwood floors. Vinegar and water will dull the floor’s finish, while soap leaves residue. Using steam cleaners on the floor puts excessive heat and water, which leads to long-term damages and needless expenses.

Equip yourself with the proper tools to clean the floor - microfiber pad, mop and vacuum cleaner. Use only non toxic cleaning solutions, since the most popular ones contain chemicals that can compromise your health and cause irritation, fatigue, coughing, dizziness, etc.

Protect the high traffic zones with rugs that do not have backing. Vinyl or rubber backing holds humidity and can stain the wood. 

Rejuvenate The Finish

If the finishing coat on your floor is wax, then you can rejuvenate it with more wax. However, surfaces such as shellac, varnish or polyurethane can or can’t  be treated with this method, as they will become more slippery and peal off easily. You can also use a general purpose floor restorer, but before applying in on the whole floor, test it and make sure it won’t do damages. 

Hiring a Floor Cleaner 

When you properly maintain the floors perhaps they may never need to be replaced. Professional hard floor cleaners  use special tools and machines to disinfect the ground surfaces in your home. Their equipment is of high quality and can save you from the need to buy all those fancy looking detergents that may or may not help you preserve the look of your floor. Most experts advise that you polish every few months and have a deep cleaning at least once a year.

To find the best way to clean your home’s floors can take some time and patience. Nonetheless, a gentle approach to the problem is an excellent way to deal with it.

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