How to Clean Hardwood Floors
With Melissa Maker of Clean My Space
Purchasing and installing a hardwood floor is equally as exciting as it is intimidating. You are getting a gorgeous new floor but now how do you keep it looking that way? Find out from cleaning expert, Melissa Maker, how to care for your hardwood floor.
Protect the natural beauty of your Hardwood floor
For cleaning, make sure you…
- Use a damp cloth to blot spills and spots as soon as they happen. For tough spots, such as oil, paint, markers, lipstick, ink, tar, or cigarette marks, use acetone/nail polish remover on a clean white cloth, then wipe with a damp cloth. Always avoid allowing liquids to stand on your floor.
- Sweep, dust, or vacuum the floor regularly with the hard floor attachment (not the beater bar) to prevent accumulation of dirt or grit that can scratch or dull the floor finish.
- Occasionally wipe the floor with a damp mop or cloth.
- Periodically clean the floor with a clean formulated for hardwood flooring.
While cleaning is easy, there are a few things to avoid:
- Don’t use oil based, wax, polish, or strong ammoniated or abrasive cleaners.
- Don’t use steel wool or scouring powder.
- Don’t wash or wet-mop the floor with soap, water, oil-soap detergent, or any other liquid cleaning material. This could cause swelling, warping, delamination, and joint-line separation, and void the warranty.
- Don’t use any type of buffing machine.
Other routine care instructions:
- For spots such as candle wax or chewing gum, harden the spot with ice and then gently scrape with a plastic scraper, such as a credit card. Be careful not to scratch the flooring surface. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.
- Do not use any type of buffing machine.
Use protective mats
Good quality entry and exit mats will help collect the dirt, sand, grit, and other substances such as oil, asphalt, or driveway sealer that can otherwise be tracked onto your flooring. Do not use rubber- or foam-backed plastic mats as they may discolor the flooring. To prevent slippage, use an approved vinyl rug underlayment.
Use floor protectors on furniture
Use floor protectors and wide-load-bearing leg bases/rollers to minimize indentations and scratches from heavy objects. As a rule, the heavier the object, the wider the floor protector should be.
Maintain relative humidity level
Maintain a normal indoor relative humidity level between 45 and 65% throughout the year to minimize the natural expansion and contraction of wood.
- Heating Season (Dry): A humidifier is recommended to prevent excess shrinkage due to low humidity levels. Wood stove and electric heat tend to create very dry conditions.
- Non Heating Season (Wet): An air conditioner, dehumidifier or periodically turning on your heating system can maintain humidity during the summer months. Avoid excessive exposure to water during periods of inclement weather.
Avoid sharp objects
While your hardwood floor is one of the most wear resistant floors on the market, sharp or pointed objects can damage it nonetheless.
Watch your feet
Don’t walk on your flooring with stiletto-style heels, spiked golf shoes, or cleats. They may cause indentations in your flooring.
Watch your pet’s feet
Keep your pet’s nails trimmed to keep them from scratching your flooring.
Rearrange your rugs and furniture
Periodically rearranging your area rugs and furniture will allow the flooring to age evenly. UV sunlight will soften the tone of different species of hardwood to varying degrees.
Protect the floor when moving
Use a dolly when moving heavy furniture or appliances. But first, put down a sheet of quarter-inch plywood or Masonite to protect the floor. Never try to slide or roll heavy objects across the floor.