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Care and Maintenance for Hardwood Flooring

You can reduce the cleaning time for your hardwood floor with some smart and simple preventive maintenance. Place the mats both inside and outside the exterior doors so as to reduce the dirt that comes in. During the rainy or snowy weather, make space for a boot removal area so as to avoid damage that may happen from de-icers and water.

You can also prevent the marks on the hardwood floor by making use of floor protectors under the furniture and also by using the rugs in the play areas to make sure the children's toys do not scratch the floor.

Cleaning the hardwood floors is very easy. Regular maintenance of the wood floor includes sweeping the floor with a broom with soft bristles or dusting the floor with a dry microfiber mop. For the floors that have beveled edges, you can vacuum it with the beater bar switched off so as to remove the dust from in between the floor boards. You should clean the floors at periodic intervals with a good quality professional hardwood floor cleaner that has been recommended by a wood flooring specialist.

Hardwood Floors - Basic Care

You can speed up the process of cleaning the floor by beginning with dusting the floor using a mop which has been treated by a dusting agent so that it can pick up the dirt, dust, and pet hair that can cause scratches to the surface of the floor. As part of weekly or biweekly cleaning process, you can vacuum using a floor-brush attached to the vacuum cleaner or an electric broom. Avoid using the vacuum cleaner with the beater bar attachment, which can cause scratches to the hardwood floor's finish. For quick and efficient dusting, utilize the disposable electrostatic cloths, which are easily available at the grocery and discount stores.

Hardwood Floors - Deeper Cleaning

The dirt, grime, and oil tend to build up over a period of time and cannot be completely removed by the routine dust mopping. For that occasional deep cleaning to get rid of the built in dirt and grime, (you should consider performing this deep cleaning in the spring season or just before the winter holidays), use a hardwood-cleaning product that has been diluted as instructed on the label. You can saturate a rag mop or sponge in the water and then wring it as dry as possible so that it feels just slightly damp to the touch. Using this, damp-mop the floor all the while being careful enough so as to avoid standing water on the floor. Once this is complete, rinse the floor with the use of a clean mop that has been dampened in clear water, but make sure that the cleaning product requires you to do so. Wipe up all the excess liquid as the standing water can damage the wood surfaces. If the weather is humid, utilize a ceiling fan or an air-conditioner to help speed up the drying process.

Hardwood Floors - Removing Marks

You need to be aware of your floor's finish before you try to remove the mark on the floor. If the stain happens to be on the surface, your floor most probably has a hard finish, for example urethane. If the stain has been able to penetrate through to the wood, the floor in all probability has a soft oiled finish -- which is more commonly found in the older homes where the floors have not been refinished and resealed. Wipe the surface stains from a hard finish with a clean and soft cloth. Never make use of either a sandpaper, steel wool, or other harsh chemicals on such a surface as they can cause permanent damage to the finish.

The following are some of the remedies recommended for hardwood floors with soft oiled finishes. If necessary, end each treatment by staining the wood and then waxing and buffing the exact spot so as to match the rest of the floor.

  • Pet stains and dark spots: Rub the spot with a No. 000 steel wool along with the floor wax. If even after the process the area is still dark, you can apply vinegar or bleach and allow it to soak into the hardwood surface for about an hour. Rinse it off with a damp cloth.
  • Heel marks: To get rid of the heel marks, make use of the fine steel wool to rub in the floor wax.
  • Oil-base marks and stains: Rub the area of the mark or stain using a soft cloth and dishwashing detergent that will help break down the grease. Rinse it off with clear water. If one or more applications are not good enough, repeat the procedure. Make sure that the children and the pets are out of the room until you have completed the process. Let the spot dry up and then smoothen up the raised grain with the help of fine sandpaper.
  • White stains or water marks: Rub the area with a No. 000 steel wool along with the floor wax. If the stain runs deeper, gently sand the hardwood floor and clean with the help of a fine steel wool and odorless mineral spirits.

Essential Care

Sweep or vacuum your floor at regular intervals using a soft-bristled attachment or a broom, especially in the high-traffic areas of your house. This prevents any gritty dirt and particle buildup that can cause scratches to the wood’s surface.

Use the protective window coverings to effectively block UV rays and excessive heat from direct sunlight that can cause fading of the hardwood floor. Most of the wood types generally gradually age when they are not covered, hence it is a good idea to rearrange the rugs and furniture periodically to help it age in a more even manner.

Tips for Preventing Damage

  • Keep the pets’ nails short and trimmed and also their paws clean. Pets can cause the tracking in of the substances that cause stains and scratching.
  • During the heating seasons use a humidifier so as to help reduce the hardwood shrinkage with the humidity being in between 35% and 55%.
  • Wipe up the spots and the spills immediately with a good quality flooring cleaner that can be applied directly to the clean white cloth.
  • Use the ice to harden any known tough substances like chewing gum or wax, and then gently scrape the surface with a plastic scraper or even a credit card. While doing this you need to be extra cautious so as to not scratching the surface area and then wipe the entire area clean with this soft and slightly damp cloth.

Extra Protection

You can invest in some high quality floor mats along with the protective pads on heavy furniture to provide an extra layer of protection on your hardwood floors. Door mats should be placed at all the exits and entrances. These mats trap the various corrosive substances such as dirt, grit, oil, sand, or asphalt. Placing the mats in most high-traffic areas — in front of the vanities, stoves, and kitchen sinks - is an effective way to reduce the wear.

What to Avoid

  • Strictly void walking on the hardwood floors with the spiked or the damage-heeled shoes.
  • Do not use the oil soaps, be them be either liquid or paste wax, or other household products containing the lemon, citrus, or the tung oil, or even the silicon to clean the floors.
  • Do not use the 2-in-1 cleaners that contain the acrylics or urethane polish to restore the original gloss.

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