Keep your floors looking like new with these tips
Wood floors have many benefits and are typically considered hyper allergenic compared to carpet flooring. Whether you have decided to remodel or have just purchased a home with wooden floors, you should know that it does take a little bit of effort to ensure that these floors stay in optimal shape. Over time, wood does tend to wear out without extra care and precautions, so you will want to keep these tips in mind.
Lose the Shoes: The outdoors isn’t always clean and when you bring those nature walks into your pristine home, you are trekking all of that dirt, grime, and water onto your floors and carpets. Over time, your floors will absorb the dirt even with regular cleaning. Becoming a shoes-off household may be a bit of a change from your normal routine, but it’ll be a great way to preserve your wood floors. If you hate the thought of walking barefoot, pick up a few pairs of household slippers or have a pair of flip flops that are dedicated to the indoors.
Use a Vacuum Designed for Wood Floors: Some vacuums have special hard-floor settings and are designed so the wheels and base of the vacuum are gentler on the surface, minimizing the chances of dents and scratches. Steam mops, too, can be a great tool for cleaning wood floors— be sure to research ones that have features and settings that protect wood finishes.
Add Protectors to Furniture: You know to protect your floors as you move in or remodel, but it’s also a good idea to add some sort of protectors—felt protectors work best—to the feet of your furniture full-time in order to avoid scratching during smaller movements. Make protectors a priority, especially if you are one of those individuals that like changing things up in their home. For furniture that is naturally mobile like an office chair or coffee table, consider replacing protectors more often or add a rug to your office or living room set to protect your floor from scuff marks.
Read Labels: Make sure that your household cleaning products don’t contain wood-damaging ingredients such as ammonia- woodfloors.org has a useful registry of both friendly and harmful cleaners. You should also consider whether or not the cleaner will be compatible with the type of finish on your wood floors. If you have a cleaner with a harmful ingredient for another part of the house, take care to close doors or lay down protection for your floor before using it.
Refresh Your Finishing Coat: To keep your floors looking new, refresh your finish every three to five years. There are several types of finishes, so you’ll need to figure out what you already have. There are common for wooden floors including oil, urethane, or wax. If you’re getting new floors or moving in, now is the time to note down this information.
Sweep Before Mopping: Whether you’re using a traditional mop or a Swiffer, make sure that you sweep your wooden floors before you proceed to the “wet” part of the cleaning. Wet cleaning dusty floors will turn the dust into grime and allow the dirt to embed in the wood.
Don’t Use a Ton of Water: Water can become absorbed into your wood floors and cause damage even if your floors have a protective coat of finish. Be quick to clean up any major spills and make sure that you wring out your mop if you’re mopping.
Avoid Strong Vinegar: Vinegar is a home cleaning staple. Unfortunately, pure vinegar or even vinegar and water can wear away your floor’s shine making it look older. If you prefer environmentally friendly, natural cleaning products, do your research to figure out a safer mix for your wooden floors.
Skimp on the Ammonia: Like vinegar, ammonia is a common household cleaner, and, just like vinegar, ammonia can be hard on your wooden floors. The high pH of ammonia can eat away at the finish on your floors.
Watch your oil-based cleaners: Oil-based cleaners are often advertised as wood friendly. However, Not all oil-based cleaners that work on wooden furniture are also good for floors.
Avoid Dangerous Shoes: Any shoes with a pointy heel or heavy sole can be damaging to your wooden floors. Shoes you want to avoid in particular include tap shoes and stilettos. However, you should also be careful with character shoes, cleats, and other types of performance footwear that are either sharp or may have extra material buildup.
If you see cracks in older floors, grab a crayon that’s the same color as the wood, fill the gap, and steam clean. You’ll ultimately need expert help, but, until then, this trick will hide the problem. There are even wood crayons especially designed for this purpose — look for them at your hardwood store.
Mineral spirits are a great way to revitalize older wood and tide you over until you can update your finish. Make sure to follow instructions carefully and start out with a discreet area that won’t be seen, such as a closet, to ensure that your wooden floors are compatible.