Cleaning Hardwood Floors - How To Do It Right
If you have invested in a hardwood floor for your house, you will have to take good care of it so that it remains clean and shiny for a long time. How you take care of hardwood depends a lot on what kind of finish it has. Here are some basic home cleaning tips to keep in mind when cleaning your floor without using professional cleaners or expensive cleaning products. 1. Know the finish of the floorIf the surface of your floor is not glossy, you probably have untreated floorboards. There are different kinds of finishes applied on hardwood. To tell the difference, rub your finger across the floor. If no smudge appears, it means that floor is surface sealed. This means that it is stain and water damage resistant and easier to clean. Alternatively, if you do make a smudge, it means that the floor has a penetrating seal, oil finish or other kind of varnish. Place some drops of water on your surface sealed floor. If the drops remain after several minutes, your floor is newly sealed. If it is absorbed in the wood, you will need to handle cleaning with care.2. Basic careEnsure that your floors are cleaned regularly; maybe have a biweekly house cleaning routine where you sweep the floor with a soft-bristled brush or vacuum it with a floor-brush attachment. Take care to not scratch the floorboards even as you remove sand and grit.3. Deeper cleaningOver time, dirt and grit might build up that may not be easy to clean away with regular sweeping. Therefore occasionally, you might have to use wood-cleaning products on your hardwood floor. Always use a product that is suited for the kind of finish you have, or ask your builder for recommendations. Use the cleaning product according to the instructions on the label. If in doubt, consult a professional cleaning agency for advice. Do not use oils, waxes or furniture sprays as they will leave a residue and make recoating difficult. Ammonia or alkaline based products or such abrasive cleaners should be avoided as they might dull or scratch the floor. Vinegar solution or simply using water to mop the floor will only cause the dirt to get wet and build up, making it very difficult to erase. If you cannot find the recommended product or a suitable substitute, you could try using a pH neutral soap and warm water to scrub your floor. Dip the sponge or mop in the water and wring it so that is only damp and not soggy wet. Damp-mop the floor and wipe away any standing water so that the wood is not damaged. Open the windows or use a fan to speed up the drying process.4. Preventive careIn order to avoid your floors from getting dirty, place a mat outside and inside the doors so that less dirt is tracked in. During snowy weather, make a boot removal area near the door so that the floor is not damaged by ice and water. Use rugs and/or floor protectors so that the floor is not stained or scratched by moving furniture or people. Clean high traffic areas such as the kitchen and dining area more often than the rest of the house to prevent build up of dirt. When mopping, move in the direction of the wood grain and change water as often as it gets dirty. Don’t try to fill in hairline cracks in the wood, chances are they will disappear in summer as the wood expands. Don’t mop waxed floors, just sweep and vacuum them instead. If you can’t get rid of a stain or don’t know how to treat your floor, don’t hesitate to call in a cleaning company.
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