I love the beauty and durability of my oak hardwood floors in my home. I also appreciate the fact that they don’t trap dust particles that contribute to allergies and other health issues. But I’ve often wondered what the best methods are to clean and maintain them? Well there’s good news! I’ve done some research and I’ve discovered that caring for them is actually quite simple!
If your floor has a surface finish, such as polyurethane, the general maintenance steps are:
- SWEEP with a soft bristled broom.
- VACUUM with special bare floor attachments to get rid of dirt and dust. Or use a good dust mop with a 12”-18” cotton head
- You can also CLEAN your floors periodically with a professional wood floor cleaning product recommended by a wood flooring professional. The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) can help you find a pro in your area. http://woodfloors.org/ Make sure your mop is well wrung out so that it is just damp. Standing water can dull the finish, damage the wood and leave a discoloring residue.
When cleaning no longer restores shine, recoat the floor with a surface finish. How often you do this depends on the amount of traffic. If you have kids or pets, your floors may get lots of mud, water, sand, or dirt tracked on them regularly; they may need to be recoated more often.
***Never wax a surface-finished floor, and never use vinyl or tile floor care products on any wood floor.
Do you have a wax or penetrating-stain finish on your wood floor? Here are steps to follow to maintain the finish:
- DUSTMOP or VACUUM regularly.
- Use a BUFFER to maintain the shine. Follow manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations if known.
If buffing no longer restores shine, you may need to rewax. Apply a cleaner and liquid wax specifically for wood floors. Apply the wax evenly, allow the floor to dry, and buff to the desired luster. Most wood floors need to be rewaxed once or twice a year. Try not to overwax a wood floor. If the floor dulls, try buffing instead. Avoid wax buildup under furniture and other low-traffic areas by applying wax half as often as in higher-traffic areas.
Is your wax finish soiled or discolored? Use a combination liquid cleaner/wax made specifically for wood flooring. Make sure it is solvent rather than water-based. Spread the liquid cleaner/wax with a cloth or fine steel wool and rub gently to remove grime and old wax. Wipe the floor clean, let it dry for about 20 minutes, then buff.
Never damp-mop a waxed floor.
TIPS FOR PREVENTING SCRATCHES:
- Place mats and throw rugs at doorways to help protect wood floors from grit, dirt, and sand.
- Place felt pads under furniture legs.
- Vacuum or dust your wood floor regularly.
- Avoid walking on floors with cleats, sports shoes, or high heels. Interestingly, a 125-pound woman walking in high heels has an impact of 2,000 pounds per square inch. An exposed heel nail can exert up to 8000 pounds per square inch! Can you say “DENTS”?
- When moving furniture, do not slide it on the wood flooring. It’s best to pick it up to move it.
- Use a humidifier during the winter months to minimize gaps or cracks.
Follow these steps to enjoy the beauty of your wood floors for years to come.