Ensure your wood floors stay pristine with these tips
Whether they are new or old, solid or engineered, hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home, and if you typically have high traffic busy with kids, pets, or multiple roommates, it can be hard trying to keep your hardwood floors clean from all the scuffs, marks, and scratches we all create. Of course, not everyone can threaten their dog and kick out their roommate, or get their floors refinished every time it looks duller or dirtier than usual. Luckily, there are plenty of easy fixes and tips to all those problems you might come across that’ll help keep your hardwood floors looking shiny, fresh, and clean.
Use microfiber cloth to rid of dust and grime
The first step of any home improvement is to get rid of any unwanted grime. Dirt and sand particles that are dragged in from shoes can often ruin wood floors, so leaving your shoes at the door in a shoe rack will keep the grime off your finish. A floor mat by the door will also do the trick to keep dirt and debris at bay. For mopping, the best way to treat your floors is to use a microfiber head. Because of its fine fabric structure, microfiber is great at clinging to any speck of dirt, dust, or bacteria in the smallest cracks of your wood, which makes it the easiest way for you to get that deep clean your floor needs. If you use a vacuum, make sure to get a vacuum that is designed to work well on hardwoods; it can do a better job picking up small particles, and is less likely to scuff or scratch your floors.
Simple wood-safe cleaning products work best
People often try the technique of mixing vinegar and water to clean their hardwood floors, but the mixture can in fact be more damaging to certain woods depending on the type and finish, so always use a milder, wood-safe soap to clean your floors. Vinyl, floor-tile, and other types of non-wood floor cleaners will only damage the finish of your floor, which will cause it to warp, look duller and discolored.
You can’t go wrong using a specially designed hardwood floor cleaner and a good mop. Some cleaning products are even biodegradable, not tested on animals, and made with natural ingredients. Using the right products and cleaning your floors regularly is the easiest way to keep them looking their best.
Watch out for water
Standing water is a huge culprit for damaging hardwood surfaces. When left, it can cause swelling and discoloration, and a high moisture content in your wood could potentially cause it to crack and splinter. While cleaning, use a damp mop instead of a dripping-wet one. Fine sprays and mists are fine to use, just keep in mind that you should avoid the usual wet mop and bucket.
Account for drying time after you clean your floors to make sure they dry completely. This will prevent any excessive water from seeping into your wood, which would cause things like mold to creep up. If you see any signs of mold between the grooves of your floor, feel free to use a mold/mildew cleaner, but make sure you continue with the drying process after. Turning on the ceiling fan, going over your floor with a dry mop, or even using a dehumidifier are simple ways to ensure it dries properly.
Make it shine with a floor polish
Most people don’t have the time or the money to completely refinish their floors, but a quick way to revive them is to do it yourself with a hardwood floor polish. After polishing, make sure to give the space at least a couple hours for the seal to set before allowing traffic back into the area.
If there are still scratches, or sudden spills and messes, you can always spot-treat your floor by using a damp microfiber or cotton cloth. Regardless of whatever type of stain, there’s always something that can be done. Just be sure to dry the floor when finished. You can even buff it with a microfiber cloth to prevent stray streaks and ensure that it shines.
Scratch-proof your floors with felt
The last easy tip you could do to keep your floors looking their best is to secure felt under the feet of furniture to protect your hardwood’s surface. After cutting it to size, you can glue it to the bottom of your dining room chairs and other furniture to minimize scratches. Paired with cleaning regularly, drying properly, and using the right tools will do the job to keep your floors looking their absolute best all year round.