How to Take Care of Hardwood Floors

Floor covering styles have come and gone, but hardwood flooring has stood the test of time. Practically every home design is accented well by the addition of beautiful oak, maple, birch, or walnut floor. There are a few hints the average homeowner will need; however when it comes to the best way to clean their hardwood floors.

Remember that although the flooring called "hard" wood, it can still be dented and scratched by high heel shoes, pushing furniture from place to place, and the ordinary dirt and dust that finds its way into the house from the outside. So what can families do to decrease this sort of damage? Try some of these recommendations:

  • doormats
  • felt pads on furniture bottoms
  • no shoes allowed (for the neatest families only)
  • wipe spills and mud when they appear

Keeping dust and dirt off the floors will go a long way toward keeping them like new. First and foremost, vacuuming is required as often as you can do so. Dirt that lodged in the floor disappears when using a microfiber mop, along with a pH-neutral floor cleaner. If your floor is "surface-sealed," meaning sealed with polyurethane, urethane, or a polyacrylic, stay away from the following additives:

  • acrylic wax
  • oils
  • waxes
  • furniture sprays
  • ammonia
  • alkaline products
  • abrasive cleaners

The reason to avoid these products is that surface-sealed floors leave an oily residue on the wood which can cause slipping. Waxing this type of flooring is timely and challenging to re-coat.

Should your floor be "penetrating-seal-treated, you must use liquid or paste wax. A lacquered, untreated, shellacked, or varnished floor needs these same products. If still confused as to which cleaner is best for your hardwood floor, follow the instructions that the manufacturer has included with the product or use plain water and soap. One easy recipe to use is adding a quarter-cup of liquid dish-washing soap or Murphy Oil Soap to your bucket of water.

Avoid the  following procedures:

  • applying liquid wax
  • using acrylic or water-based wax
  • utilizing one-step waxes
  • damp-mopping

Don't panic when the results of an accident have convinced you that your floors are beyond repair. There is usually a way to get past what looks like a disaster.

If you accidentally leave a planter on the floor that creates a water spot, put a few drops of mineral oil onto an extra-fine steel wool pad, and coat the blemish, using a circular motion.

If heel marks appear, apply a little wax to an extra-fine steel wool pad and rub gently in a circular motion.

For food stains, wipe with a damp cloth, dry, and apply a little wax.

Hardwood floors are made to last. They need a little loving care. With that TLC, these floors will last a lifetime and make your home the welcoming and inviting space for which you have dreamed.