Tips for Cleaning Hardwood Floors — Life123

Tips for Cleaning Hardwood Floors - Life123

Tips for Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Though hardwood floors are durable, they do require careful maintenance and cleaning. Using the wrong cleaner on a hardwood floor could stain or discolor the wood irreparably. Follow these tips to keep your hardwood floors looking like new for years to come. Remember, before you apply anything to your hardwood floor, you should test the product in an inconspicuous area to ensure that it will not damage your wood.

The number-one enemy of hardwood floors is dirt, along with its cousins grit and sand. To prevent dirt, grit and sand from scratching or dulling the finish, simply vacuum your hardwood floors on a regular basis and clean with a damp, not wet, cotton mop once or twice a month. Your vacuum should have an attachment with a soft head. Never use a vacuum with a beater brush on a hardwood floor. Use doormats or small area rugs at entrances and in high-traffic areas to trap dirt and other fine particles.

Whether your hardwood floors are finished with wax, varnish or polyurethane, any food or liquid that spills on the floor should be wiped up immediately with a damp cloth and then dried with a clean towel. Water and other liquids should not remain on the surface of hardwood floors because they might damage the finish or seep in between the floorboards and cause warping.

Several times a year, hardwood floors should be cleaned to remove surface grease and dirt that may have accumulated. A neutral-pH cleaning product specifically formulated for wood floors is the best choice.

Straight ammonia or ammonia-based cleaning products should not be used on hardwood floors because they will dull the finish and possibly cause discoloration of the wood. Wet mopping with a liquid soap or using abrasive cleaners is also not recommended, because either one has the potential to strip the finish or cause it to deteriorate prematurely.

Buffing is only required for hardwood floors with a wax finish and is recommended once or twice a year at most. Spot buffing, however, is effective at removing scuff marks that commonly occur on waxed floors. Most new and many older hardwood floors have a polyurethane finish and don’t need to be buffed or waxed at all.

  • Water stains
  • Gum. First, using your fingers, pick off as much gum as you can. Then get some ice from the freezer and pop it into a plastic bag. Place the plastic bag on the gum and let it sit until the gum is frozen. You should be able to remove the frozen gum by scraping it with a credit card or something similarly thin and flexible. Don’t use a razor blade, knife, screwdriver or other hard implement, as this will scratch and score the surface of the wood.
    • Pet Accidents. Hardwood floors can suffer if pets or a small child have an accident on the floor. Urine, given enough time or repeat offenses, will discolor your hardwood floors and make your floors smell.

    If you discover the problem quickly, wipe up the mess with paper towels, followed by cleaning the affected area with detergent and water. Then drench a cloth with rubbing alcohol and rub away the stain. You may want to finish by applying a commercial odor neutralizer and stain remover. It may take more than one application of the commercial product to remove the smell.

    Unfortunately, if the stain is old, you may have to sand the wood down and then refinish your hardwood floor. In a worst-case scenario, you will have to replace the affected planks.

    • Crayons. Kids occasionally do their own interior decorating. You can avoid this problem completely by giving your children washable crayons. If you are dealing with a wax crayon drawing, get some toothpaste from your bathroom and rub the affected area with the paste using a damp cloth. After the picture is gone, clean off any toothpaste that is left on the floor and then wipe your hardwood flooring dry.

    If you have a clump or clumps of crayons on your floor, treat the crayons with ice in a plastic bag, the same as you would gum.

    Hardwood floors are easily gouged and dented by sharp or heavy objects. To prevent this from occurring, use felt pads under furniture legs and feet. Sunlight is known to change the color of some hardwood floors dramatically. Consider drawing the drapes or closing the blinds to avoid excessive discoloration in one spot, especially if there are south- and west-facing windows in the room.

    With proper care and maintenance, you can keep your hardwood floors looking new for many years.. Water stains are actually watermarks that are permanently imbedded in your wood. Most likely you will need to sand the area and restain it, but before resorting to drastic measures, try some of the commercial cleaning products on the market. Most hardwood flooring companies offer a variety of cleaning products to deal with difficult cleaning jobs. If all else fails, use fine-grade sandpaper or #0000 steel wool and gently rub the stain along the grain of the wood until it is gone. Buff with a clean cloth or rewax the spot. If necessary, reapply the finish with a small varnish brush.


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