How to maintain hardwood flooring: the most important things you need to know.
Hardwood floors are a valuable asset to any home, providing a rustic, authentic look that adds a touch of warmth and class to the room. They increase the value of your home, are remarkably durable, and are fairly stain resistant. The choice of hardwood was one you will not regret; now the trick is maintaining this wonderful asset in a way that preserves its unique contributions for many years to come.
Hardwood floors require regular maintenance to remain in good condition. The type of maintenance they require will depend on the challenges they face in each season. While winter brings issues relating to ice, salt, and snow, spring brings rain and dirt, summer brings chlorine and saltwater, and fall brings dirt and leaves. And no matter what the season, daily home life presents challenges to your hardwood such as spills, scratches, heavy foot traffic, and accruing dust.
What follows is a simple guide to the basic steps every homeowner can take as a reasonable investment in one of the most timeless, beautiful flooring available.
1. Promptly Cleaning Stains and Spills
Generally, hardwood floors have great resistance to stains and spills. However, leaving liquid on a hardwood floor for too long can lead to permanent damage or stain. To prevent this, be quick to wipe up any spills with a clean, soft cloth to avoid scratching your floor. If there is a tough stain such as ink, oil, paint, or lipstick, try cleaning the stain using acetone nail polish remover applied on a soft cloth.
When you have removed all traces of the stain, clean the spot with a neat, dampened cloth. If there is gum or wax on your hardwood floor, use ice to harden the gum or wax first, then scrape off the gum or wax using an old credit card. As soon as you have removed all the wax or gum, you can use a fresh, dampened cloth to clean the area.
2. Everyday Dusting with Weekly and Monthly Routine
Dust your floors daily. We recommend using microfiber mop pads, rather than a broom, as they are often more effective at collecting and removing dust particles, pet hair and other possible allergens. Microfibers are recommended as some broom bristles can scratch the floor surface.
Vacuum your floors weekly using a soft-bristle floor-brush attachment that prevents your floor gathering dust. When vacuuming, ensure there is no debris on the floor that may scratch the surface and pay attention that the vacuum wheels don’t scratch the floors too.
Damp-mop your floors once a month with a hardwood floor cleaner mop that has a microfiber head.
Recommended Cleaning Routine for Hardwood Floors
- Daily – Sweep or dust: Dust or sweep the floor, using a microfiber mop. A broom is also effective. This will prevent any pile-up of dust and dirt.
- Weekly – Vacuum: Vacuum your floors weekly.
- Monthly – Polish: Try to polish the floor once a month. The finish or the protective layer often gets a good rubbing whenever cleaned. Microscopic scratches are filled out when you wax the floor, and it also balances the surface of the hardwood. Polishing is easy, requiring no professional or challenging techniques.
- Yearly schedule – Deep clean: Your floorboards can develop some serious problems like gouges, cracks, holes, and the like every few years. If you notice too many such flaws in your hardwood floor, it may be time for a new finishing or sanding on your floorboard. Sanding or refinishing often replaces the former protective layer and will make your floorboard appear new again.
3. Use Rugs or Mats
Mats and rugs play a critical role in protecting your wooden floorboards. Keep a long doormat at the entrance of the house that will catch dust, dirt, water, ice, and other potentially damaging particles brought in on people’s shoes, preventing these uninvited guests from ever reaching the hardwood floors.
Similarly, you should place rugs in high-traffic locations where many people stand or walk around such as hallways, entrances, or in front of the couch. This not only prevents spillages and stains from reaching the floor, it also cushions against continuous walking which can wear the floor down over time.
4. Surface Refinishing and Floor Hygiene
Floors that contain a polyurethane finish require re-application of a maintenance coat every 24 months. If the floor’s shine can no longer be restored with routine cleaning, it is time for a new coat.
The overall wear and tear of a floor is dependent on the intensity of traffic the floor experiences. As mentioned in above, it is important to clean any spills as soon as possible to prevent stubborn stains. Wipe spillages immediately using a cloth, clean with a microfibre pad and avoid using ammonia or water and vinegar to do so – these may lead to severe floor damage.
5. Call in the Professionals
There are times when it is best to call in the experts. Wooden floors have been installed in homes for over a hundred years – quite a long time – so many wooden floors will be in desperate need of a thorough touch-up conducted by a hardwood floor maintenance and preservation professional.
To maintain a new and shiny finish, a floor requires a new coat of varnish every five years. If you begin to notice holes, gaps, or gouges in the wooden floors which can become a tripping hazard and potentially lead to injuries, contact your local flooring company immediately.
FAQ: Maintaining Hardwood Flooring
Is it easy to maintain hardwood floors?
Using the recommended steps above, if you invest minimal but consistent effort over time, your hardwood floors should remain in beautifully good condition for many years.
What type of mop is best for hardwood floors?
Soft microfiber mops are effective and safe on hardwood floors. Before you dust the floor, try spraying a cleaning solution (sanitizing type) or cleaner (for hardwood) for a deeper clean, but using a mop and a gentle microfiber pad is the best solution for hardwood or engineered wood floors.
How do I prevent pets from damaging my hardwood floors?
Cover areas of your floors with heavy pet traffic and where your pets hang out with runners and rugs.
Can a wooden floor be mopped?
We recommend using a microfibre mop head. First, use a dry microfiber mop head to sweep the debris and dirt. Proceed with a wet microfiber mop and spray with a store-bought hardwood floor cleaning solution. You can also clean hardwood with a microfiber and engineered wood-safe cleaner.
Maintaining Hardwood Floors is Dallas
Like most good things in life, hardwood floors show the best results when given tender, loving care. The maintenance routine for hardwood is about consistent, easy, logical care that isn’t too expensive or time-consuming, yet makes all the difference in the long run.
Hardwood floors are a timeless element in your home design and when valued and cared for will remain in good condition for decades. For further information, or to schedule an expert hardwood floor restoration, contact Dallas Floors for a free consultation.