Hardwood floors are known for their beauty and are highly prized by homeowners. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) revealed that over 66 percent of respondents would choose wood flooring for their dream homes.1
To maintain their beauty and desirability, however, hardwood floors need to be cleaned and maintained properly.
Here are four steps to keep your hardwood floors looking great throughout the lifetime of your home.
Safeguard Your Hardwood Floors from Damage
The easiest way to care for your hardwood floors is to prevent damage from occurring. Water and debris that can scratch the finish on the floor are things to be avoided. Place mats on the outside and inside of each exterior door to collect water and debris. Bed Bath and Beyond has a selection of over 130 decorative floor mats that are available online and will not only protect your floors, but also add style to the entryways in your home. It’s a good rule to remove footwear at the door, especially pointed heels and cleats, to prevent tracking in dirt and grime and scratching flooring. Keeping your pets’ nails clipped is also recommended. Protect the hardwood flooring area under sofas, tables and other large pieces of furniture by placing non-slip floor protectors under these items. Use rugs in high traffic areas and areas where family activities and children’s toys are likely to damage the flooring over time. The final prevention tip is to keep your home between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit at all times and monitor the humidity in your home, as wood is a natural product that does best in an environment that is between 35 and 55 percent relative humidity.2
Determine What is Best for Cleaning Your Type of Hardwood Flooring
If you have new hardwood flooring installed, the installer will be able to tell you how best to care for the particular type of flooring that you have purchased. Many people, however, don’t have the benefit of being able to speak with the original floor installer. In these cases, it is best to seek the advice of a professional who specializes in hardwood floor installation or restoration.3 There are two main types of sealing for hardwood floors. Most newer hardwood floors are sealed with urethane and most older hardwood floors tend to be sealed with wax. While water is the enemy of wood floors, older floors sealed with wax are even more vulnerable to water than those sealed with urethane. So it is never a good idea to use a wet or even a damp mop to clean floors sealed with wax.4
Dust Daily and Vacuum Weekly
The finish on your hardwood floors can scratch. So, it is best to remove dust, dirt and debris that can cause scratches, even micro-fine scratches that are hardly visible to the naked eye, on a daily basis. It is recommended that this daily dusting be done with a microfiber material which uses a static charge to attract dust and allergens and reach into floor pores to lift dirt more effectively.5 The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) also recommends vacuum your hardwood floors on a weekly basis.6 Do not use your vacuum’s beater bar attachment, as it can scratch the floor’s finish. Use the floor-brush attachment instead. If you have a bare wood floor setting on your vacuum, you should dial to that setting.
Clean with Wood Flooring Cleaner on a Monthly Basis
Wood floors should be cleaned on a monthly basis. The NWFA recommends using a cleaner specifically made for the finish on your floor. Contact your flooring professional to determine the best cleaner for your floor. Always remember that water is to be used as sparingly as possible on wood. Make sure that you follow the directions on the cleaning solution, wiping up any excess water and using a fan to dry the floor quickly. Vinegar solutions should be avoided, as they can eat away at your floor’s finish over time.7 Cleaners designed for vinyl floors and tile can also damage wood flooring. Other products to be avoided include oil soaps, liquid or paste wax products or other household cleaners that contain lemon oil, tung oil or ammonia.8
Following these four simple steps will go a long way toward keeping your hardwood floors looking great for a lifetime. The NWFA also recommends a new coat of finish every three to five years, and a complete sand and refinish every few decades.
Have questions about your hardwood floors or are thinking about installing them? Cameron the Sandman Hardwood Flooring Services can help! We offer new hardwood floor sales, refinishing, replacement and more. We work with EVERY species of wood – hardwood flooring, exotic hardwood flooring, oak, cherry, maple, mahogany, walnut, and bamboo – and in a host of styles and stains. There is a lot to know about a wood floor, you can count on our design professionals to educate you and help you select and maintain the perfect wood floor for your Metro Detroit home or business. Contact us at 248-477-8108 today to learn more!
1 Hardwood Tops Home Buyers’ Flooring Preferences, Symone Garvett, www.builderonline.com
2 Hardwood Care and Maintenance, www.mannington.com
3,4 Cleaning Hardwood Floors by HomeAdvisor
5,7,8 Caring for Hardwood Floors, www.Lowes.com
6 Maintenance, National Wood Flooring Association