Ultimate Guide: How to keep your Hardwood clean?
Hardwood floors are one of the most valuable investment you can make into your home. Not only does hardwood add value to your home, hardwood floors give your home character and a personality. If it is such a valuable investment shouldn't you pay careful attention to keeping it in the best possible shape? We certainly think so, which is why this week we would like to help you out by sharing some hardwood upkeep tips.
We will share the things that you should never do while maintaining your hardwood floor, things you should most definitely do, and just a simple daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly checklist.
Here are some Hardwood Upkeep Tips
Things you should never do
Hardwood is very susceptible to water damage. Moisture in hardwood will cause warping and bulging often causing irreparable damage. As water will seep in between the cracks. Mopping your hardwood floors with tons of water or using a hot steam mop is a recipe for disaster and as much as you may want to do… don’t. Read on for some alternative cleaning methods.
Leave liquid spills unattended
Again with the liquids, it will cause damage to your hardwood. Allowing a liquid to sit on the wood even for a couple of short minutes will cause more damage than imaginable. As a rule of thumb make sure you wipe up a spill as soon as humanly possible. Hardwood has a layer of finish that does act as a form of protection against moisture initially, but over a prolonged period of time nonetheless will absorb.
Slide Heavy furniture across the floor
Dragging heavy furniture across a hardwood floor will inevitably cause scratches in the finish leaving unpleasant looking gauges you definitely didn't sign up for. It may be harder but when you need to move that couch over lift and move rather than just push.
Walk in high heels
A saying that has been going around in the flooring industry for ages goes like this: It’s better to let an elephant walk all over your brand new hardwood floors rather than a 120 pound woman in high heels.
No, this has little to do with weight except for the fact that a 120 pound woman in high heels exerts a force of about 8000 pounds per square inch since all of her weight is concentrated on one point.
The solution is simple enough as taking your shoes off before walking on the hardwood floors.
Use the wrong cleaning product
Harsh cleaners will ruin both the finish and the wood of your hardwood floors. It is very important that you only opt to using hardwood safe cleaners that were designed with wood in mind. Here is one that we sell on our online store that we recommend to all of our clients.
Allowing prolonged direct sunlight
This is one of the things you may not be able to control very often… direct sunlight will age and discolor hardwood over time. It doesn’t matter what type of wood you have it will be damaged if left in direct sunlight for long periods of time.
Fortunately in the Pacific Northwest we don't run into that problem too often, still if you have a window that often gets tons of sunlight you may want to consider throwing a mat or a rug on the hardwood. Or at least just the chunk that gets the most light.
Using harsh beater vacuum attachments
The beater vacuum attachments are designed for carpet not hardwood. The rotating bristles (at insane speeds might I add) will damage the finish on the hardwood if you continue to use this attachment on your hardwood.
Things you should do…
Dust daily with microfiber cloth
Dust and dirt are two of the most harmful things to hardwood. If left unattended this dust and dirt will be dragged around and will cause either hairline scratches or large scratches depending on the size of the dirt particle… over time this will look horrible.
Make it a habit to dust the floors with a microfiber cloth if not daily in high traffic areas at least once every few days.
Looking for a good microfiber cloth or a mop with microfiber cloth attachment? We have one on our online store:
Damp Mop Hardwood
This is a tricky thing to do correctly. Above we said not to use liquids when mopping your hardwood. Correct but not completely. You should still mop your floors except don't use a lot of liquid. You can wet a rag or mop head just make sure to ring it out as dry as possible before beginning to mop.
Or you can use a special mop with a hardwood cleaner spray attachment that applies one spray of cleaner on the floor and then allows you to mop it up with a microfiber cloth or a mop rag.
Also available on our online store here:
Use rugs/mats in high use areas
Areas where you are walking in and out often, areas where children are constantly at play, or areas where your pets spend a lot of time coming inside and outside must have a mat/rug in place.
These areas are most susceptible to damage as they receive much more use than normal… unless you would like to refinish your hardwood very very often (as you can’t just refinish one section) we suggest using a throw mat or rug to prevent excessive damage.
Use Felt pads underneath furniture and heavy objects
Tons of these are available at Home Depot, Lowes, or Amazon…. place a few under table legs, chair legs, and furniture so that when they do occasionally move they aren’t damaging the wood underneath.
Take your shoes off
Last of all, simply take your shoes off when walking around your house. The dirt that comes indoors with us will be tracked inside and rubbed against the beautiful finish on top of the wood wearing it out and causing scratches.
The most damaging thing to hardwood floors as was mentioned above is dust and dirt, the best way to prevent it from happening: taking off your shoes when indoors.