Now you have the most coveted floor in your home, how do you keep it looking great? Floors sees it all, from spilled foods and drinks to scuff marks and dents caused by chairs, toys and pets. The good news is that, a simple care and maintenance practice makes hardwood floors to remain beautiful and durable for years to come.
Hardwood floors are extremely durable and they can withstand traffic of medium to large family members including the furry friends. Being easy to clean and their inability to trap allergens, wooden floors are a healthy option for any household. The big question is – How do you take care of hardwood floors?
According to National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), hardwood floor maintenance routine should involve cleaning spills immediately, dusting on a daily basis, weekly vacuuming and monthly deep cleaning. Additionally, recoating, sanding and refinishing should be done after some years.
1. Mop spills immediately
Food, water and drink spills are notorious especially with kids around. Do not let them sit longer on the floor. They are one of the leading reasons for dark stains on hardwood floors, and even wood damage.
Liquid spills contain moisture that can get absorbed into the wood to cause swelling and shrinking. Some types of food spills may be too hot or contain acidity that may eat into the finish. In the long run, you will start seeing white patches and dark stains forming.
Cleaning of spills should be done immediately before they wreak havoc. Use a dry or slightly damp mop or a piece of cloth to mop up. Do not use wet mop or a steam mop, they are likely to cause damage to your wood especially one that is not properly sealed.
2. Daily sweep or dust
This is a secret to an all-time beautiful looking wooden floor. Daily sweeping or dusting using a soft bristled broom is the most recommended way of getting dust off hardwood floors. Why on a daily basis? Dust forms and spreads every second and will settle on floor boards and into the grain. Dust can be a hygiene issue besides making your floor to look dull overtime.
Stick on a daily dusting schedule even if you don’t see the dust with your eyes. A dry microfiber piece of cloth is the best to use due to its properties of attracting and collecting any tiny dust particle without letting it spread into the air. You will also find that feature in modern dust mops for hardwood floors.
3. Weekly Vacuuming
Vacuum your hardwood floors once per week to collects any dirt or dust particles you missed during sweeping. Vacuuming also helps in keeping allergens at bay such as pet hair and tiny dust particles that hoover in the air.
Use only vacuums recommended for hardwood floors to avoid causing scartaches. If you find it tedious vacuuming on your own, invest in a robot vacuum for hardwood floor such as Roomba. They can be scheduled to clean a home in your absence through a phone app.
4. Deep clean monthly
Now you want your floors to smell fresh and remove any ingrained dirt. Clean using any of the best hardwood floor cleaners such as bona once per month. Read the label instructions on how to use. Recommended cleaners may be used directly on the floor or rinsed with a damp cloth.
If your floor is properly sealed with a polyurethane sealant that does not allow moisture to penetrate through, clean using a steam mop designed for hardwood floors. Use according to manufacturer’s instructions and avoid blasting too hot steam on your wooden floor.
Steaming also helps in disinfecting hardwood floors by killing germs and other harmful microorganisms. You can buy your steam mop or rent the service from a professional cleaner.
5. Polishing after 3 months
With time, you will start to notice tiny dents and light scuff marks on the surface finish. This is common if you have a canine friend who has long unkempt claws. The same can also happen if you have not set aside and protected an area where kids play with toys from.
Since your floor is still in good shape there is no need to recoat or refinish especially if it is under 3 years of age. Apply a hardwood floor polish and restorer to make your floor look new again. Buffing with a polish helps in filling small scratches and dents that makes the surface to appear dull.
Polishing is an economical way of restoring a wooden floor. If the surface finish is badly damaged, this method may not help, you will be required to recoat or sand and refinish your wooden floor.
6. Recoating after 3-5 years
Recoating helps rejuvenating the state of the finish by adding a new layer of a protective polyurethane sealant. This ought to be after every 3 to 5 years. Depending with the nature of the existing finish, this process does not involve sanding. You can apply the new coat of finish on your own or hire a professional.
7. Sanding and refinishing after 8-10 years
This is an involving process where the existing layer of finish is stripped off and a new one is applied. It is recommended to refinish wooden floors after every a decade. Sanding and refinishing should be done by a professional who uses the right equipment. Polyurethane sealant is applied in the end to offer waterproofing.
The Bottom Line
New or refinished hardwood floors need to be protected from water, moisture and scratches. Invest in a dehumidifier if you live in humid areas. Keep your home’s temperature between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and of between 30 to 50 percent humidity.
Install area rugs on hardwood floors in a high traffic areas. Place mats at the entrance and avoid shoes into the house. Area rugs protects underneath floor from scratches and minor dents. Door mats prevents trucked in moisture and soil. Follow every detail to see your hardwood floor beautiful and durable for centuries to come.