How to Clean Hardwood Floors
When it comes to cleaning hard floor surfaces, there is often a lot of concern over how best to treat them. The manufacturers of modern floor cladding will often make a big fuss about how their product needs to be treated well, and given that you may have spent a fair bit of money on getting a nice finish on your floor, you do not want to risk getting it wrong! In a sense, the best way to ensure that you are cleaning your floor properly is to know what it is that will do damage to the material that your floor is made of. Once you can understand this, you will likely understand how best to go about the job, safe in the knowledge that you will not end up with any problems.
Essentially, the main things to look out for with hard floors, whether it is wood, tile, or stone, will be water damage, harsh chemical reactions, and scratching. Not much else that can happen to your floor whilst cleaning it will fall outside of those categories unless you have some particularly exotic material in your home! So, if you know how to avoid these things, then you can always clean your floors in confidence, knowing that you have taken the necessary precautions to avoid your floors getting damaged in any way.
To start with, have a think about water damage. The more porous a material is, the more likely it is to be susceptible to water damage. The wood or stone will soak up any excess water, and the absorption of the liquid will obviously change the shape of the material a little bit. Whilst the absorption will take a little time, and the change in shape will not be hugely noticeable, the build-up over time of water within a substance can alter the way in which the material sits on your floor. With wood floors, this can be a serious problem, knocking planks out of line, and warping sections, so that their design no longer looks precise. With both wood and stone, a more immediately noticeable issue is staining. Water can move the pigments within natural substances, and this can leave marks where the pigment settles. To avoid these issues, simply wring out your mop regularly, and if you see standing water, get rid of it with a soft towel.
Chemical damage to a floor surface will cause marking and etching, that may not be immediately obvious, but if allowed to build up, can be quite unsightly. This will be due to overly acidic or alkali chemicals in the cleaning products that you use, which will eat in to the material or strip the protective coating off of it, leaving the raw material exposed to further damage. To avoid this, use a PH neutral cleaner, the most common of which is washing up liquid. Dilute it well with warm water and if you are at all concerned that it might not be right, check online to see if your particular material is susceptible to damage from PH neutral cleaning products.
The final issue is scratching. No matter how resilient your material is, there will always be a certain likelihood of scratching, if you are using the wrong equipment. Using microfiber cloths and mops, and ‘non-scratching’ cleaning equipment should help this, and such products are often marked with those words, so there is no mystery involved! Simply using a softer mop, less water, and a little washing-up liquid will mean that you can clean any floor safely!