Flooring Tips for Wood Flooring and Hard Surface Flooring -

Flooring Tips for Wood Flooring and Hard Surface Flooring -

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H ardwood and other floors a hassle? The experts at the IICRC share tips below to ease cleaning and maintaining wood and hard surface floors.


  • Know which finish has been applied to your wood floor. This will determine the type of cleaning procedure to follow. It is the finish not the wood that we clean and maintain.
  • Use walk-off mats to remove dirt and water from rain and snow before walking on the bare wood surface.
  • Sweep and vacuum frequently to remove grit from the surface of the floor. When foot traffic grinds grit into the finish, the finish first becomes scratched then begins to be worn away.
  • Wipe up spills immediately then remove residue with a well-rung damp cloth then dry with a cloth.
  • Do not use a standard mop and bucket process. String and sponge maps that are used on the floor then put back into the cleaning solution are often bad news for several reasons. Too much cleaning solution may be slopped onto the floor and the dirt from the floor quickly contaminates the cleaning solution so that soil is placed back onto the surface of the floor. Use disposable wiping cloths, or cloths or pads that are easily and frequently cleaned or laundered.
  • Be careful when using other cleaning products on windows and furniture. Many cleaning products can damage or contaminate the finish on your wood floor when they are dripped or sprayed onto the surface.
  • Use cleaning products made for or recommended by the wood floor finish manufacturer. Many after-market cleaning products can damage or contaminate the finish on your wood floor. Quality products often have detailed information regarding maintenance on their websites.
  • Call a clean trust professional that is trained and certified to maintain the finish on your wood floor. When regular cleaning fails to restore or maintain appearance it is time to bring in a professional to evaluate the floor.
  • Identification is key. There are six categories of hard surface flooring: Natural Stone, Concrete, Ceramic/Clay, Wood, Resilient and Specialty. Within these categories are many classifications that require different cleaning methods. By knowing what the flooring material is, a proper floor maintenance program can be developed.
  • Use walk-off mats. The number one enemy of flooring materials is soil because of the damage caused by eroding the surface; keeping it out is paramount to a successful program. Studies indicate that five feet of walk-off mat will reduce the soil entering a building by 33%, and 25 feet of walk-off mat will capture almost all of the soil otherwise entering a building (although this is more matting than you are likely to have in your home, you get the idea.)
  • Spot mopping. Slips and falls are a significant challenge with hard surface maintenance. Spills should be removed as soon as they occur. When a spill happens, cordon off the area, put up warning signs, remove the spill with appropriate cleaning solution and dry the floor completely with a floor fan.
  • Daily or routine maintenance. Removing the soil that gets past the walk-off mats on a daily or routine basis is the best way to reduce the damaging effects caused by erosion of the surface. This is accomplished with dry service procedures (sweeping, dust mopping or microfiber cloth or pad systems and vacuuming ) followed by wet service procedures (spot, damp, and wet mopping) using the appropriate cleaning solutions, microfiber cloth or pad systems or automatic scrubbing machines (in large open areas).
  • Periodic and restorative maintenance. Professional floor maintenance technicians are the best choice for the periodic and restorative maintenance of hard surface flooring. Because of the number of categories and types of hard surface flooring available, mistakes are common. A clean trust-certified floor maintenance technician will know how to identify and provide the proper floor maintenance solutions.


Howard Brickman is clean trust-certified and has 30 years of hands-on experience in the wood flooring industry. He has personally installed and sanded millions of board feet of wood flooring for high profile clients all over the United States, and has inspected millions more.

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