Wood flooring is an investment that most homeowners want to stay beautiful for as long as possible. The way you care for and maintain this surface has a significant impact on how long it will last. Follow these tips and guidelines to maximize your expenditure and keep it in good condition.
Place mats at entryways to catch debris as people enter your home. Consider adding runners along traffic paths to minimize dirt accumulation. Choose rugs and mats carefully. For the best results, do not use rugs or mats with rubber backing because discoloration can occur.
Many homeowners adopt a “no shoes” policy. By having family and friends remove their shoes at the door, you can avoid having dirt tracked into your home. Place a decorative basket at the door for shoe storage. You might even provide a spare pair of slippers for guests to use when they visit. Even if you allow some shoes in the house, make a firm rule about high heels and sports cleats. These types of shoes are likely to scratch or even dent the wood surface.
Similarly, place felt pads beneath heavy furniture to prevent damage to the finish and the wood.
Importance of Regular Cleaning
Regular cleaning is an integral part of maintaining wood flooring. However, the way you clean is also important for keeping the surface in good condition. Allowing dirt and grit to remain on the floor will not only detract from the appearance, but it can also cause unsightly damage. Sweep daily to remove debris, or use a vacuum cleaner with a hardwood setting that prevents the beater bar from rotating. A rotating beater bar can cause damage.
When spills occur, clean them immediately to prevent lasting stains. Use a soft cloth, either dry or slightly damp, to absorb the moisture. Place the cloth at the outer edge of the spill first, and work your way across the area to absorb all the liquid.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning products. The finish on wood flooring will dictate the type of cleansers to use. If you don’t have specific instructions for your surface, use a generic cleanser. Do not use anything with a wax base or a petroleum base because significant damage could occur.
When deep cleaning the surface, always sweep or vacuum first to remove the dirt. Mopping with debris on the floor could cause scratching. Use a clean and damp mop. Never use a dripping mop to avoid too much moisture. Mop in the direction of the grain to make any unintentional streaking less obvious. Dry the surface well with a clean, soft towel to finish.
Tips for Damage
Scratches are an unfortunate but common issue. If you find a scratch, fill it in with a crayon that matches the surface. After filling it in, heat the area with a blow dryer for a moment or two. Finish by buffing the area with a soft cloth.
Add a tea bag to a cup or two of boiling water, and cool it to room temperature. Soak a cloth in the tea and wipe the surface. Dry and then buff to restore shine.
With simple maintenance and preventative care, you can keep wood flooring beautiful.