Slippery wood floors are hazardous to a home's occupants. The situation is much if it extends to the stairs.
Traditionally, hardwood floors are not slippery but can become slick due to regular use of cleaning products, oil or wet spills, grime, polish, or an aged finish.
Walking on a slippery floor is not safe and can cause falls and injuries.
Furniture or dogs slipping on the floor can also create scratches on the surface or damage the urethane finish.
Simply put, unless you intend to create a slip-a-thon in your own house, you want to avoid slippery floors. They're only fun for the briefest of moments, and usually only for onlookers.
So, how can you make hardwood floors less slippery?
Things you can do
Dry the floors after mopping.
Floors become slippery when they are wet. This is especially true during or after damp mopping with water or floor cleaner.
Rinse the cleaner with a damp towel and use a dry towel to remove any film of water.
Place a “Wet Floor” sign at the entrance while cleaning to create awareness. If there's no wet floor sign available, make sure your household members are at least aware. Only allow in traffic after the floors are completely dry.
Mopping up spills immediately
Other than creating a stain on your floor, spills will make a floor very slippery.
Therefore, oil- and water-based spills on the floor should be mopped up immediately and the area dried.
Removing stains on hardwood floor is a tough task and can also damage the finish.
Remove the wax or polish coating
Waxing or polishing a hardwood floor makes it regain the sheen and looks more beautiful. Some products formulated for this purpose may create a slippery residue on the finish after continuous use.
To remove the old wax or the polish, you may use a solution of white vinegar and water.
Mix one part of white vinegar with two parts of water in a bucket. Saturate a soft mop with the solution and wring out the excess and remove the polish or wax film.
Use another water-dampened soft cloth to remove the vinegar and let the floor dry. If you are dealing with a large buildup of wax or polish, you may repeat the process.
Regular cleaning of the wood floor
Cleaning is a primary way of maintaining a hardwood floor. It also prevents buildup of grime on the finish which can create slickness.
A soft bristle broom or a microfiber dust mop are essentially used for removing dust, hair, and debris thus making a floor safe.
Deep cleaning once in a while using a suitable cleaning product or homemade cleaner for mopping is highly recommended.
Be sure to use a damp mop and dry your floors. A nicely cleaned and dried floor should not be slippery.
Using recommended products
There are plenty of cleaning products on the market that are claimed to be gentle and effective by the manufacturers.
Sometimes upon using a product, your floor may be left with a dulling or slippery residue. Therefore, make enough inquiries about a product you want to use on your floors.
If you are not sure about it, test the product on a small, hidden section of the floor for some time before using it on the rest of the floor.
If a product dulls the surface or creates a slick residue, discontinue using it and consider ways to remove it from the floor.
Cover slippery areas with rugs
Place rugs with nonslip pads in high traffic areas that are notoriously slippery.
Rugs can also be placed in areas that experience wetness such as under the exit door or below the sink. This can be a temporary solution while you still figure out what to do.
Stop any tracked-in moisture or other slippery material by placing door mats at the entrance.
This is also a way of preventing a hardwood floor from scratches caused by soil and other hard particles tracked under shoes.
Anti-slip products formulated for creating traction on hardwood surfaces can be applied to your floor or stairs.
While some of them can be applied on the existing finish, others may require sanding of the finish before applying. Be sure to test on a small, hidden area of your floor first.
Sanding and refinishing
A notoriously slick floor should be sanded and refinished. The old, slippery finish with coats of polish or wax is removed and a fresh new one is applied.
This process will also give your wood floor a new look as well as updated protection of the wood underneath. Sanding and application of a new sealant should be done by a professional.
Ensuring that floors have sufficient traction is a safety measure. While falls on TV can be funny, in real life they can be painful and dangerous.
The good news is that you can control the slickness of your hardwood floor through proper care and maintenance.
This will also see your beautiful investment lasting for years to come.