Hardwood floors are some of the most beautiful and natural enhancements we can have in our homes, and they require maintenance to keep them looking their best. This maintenance starts with proper cleaning. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to safety clean this valuable type of flooring.
Please note that there is a great variety of hardwood flooring available and each comes with manufacturer’s instructions on proper care and maintenance. This guide is for general use only and does not replace the cleaning and care manual provided by the manufacturer.
- Start with a Sweep
The first and most important thing to do when you are cleaning hardwood floors is to start with a solid sweep. Taking a soft bristle broom to your hardwood floors will get rid of the bigger dirt particles and other things that can get in the way of the later steps. Vacuuming with a soft brush, but without the roller brush that’s designed for carpets, can make this quick work, but a traditional broom and dustpan will do just as good a job.
- Mop Up Remaining Dust
Once the sweeping is finished and all those larger pieces are gone, it’s time to focus on the tiny dust particles and pieces that sweeping leaves behind. The best way to clean up this dust is with a mop, water, and some cleaner. Combine the cleaner and water in a bucket as per the instructions, and soak up the concoction with a mop. Be sure to wring out the mop as much as possible before wiping the floor, a technique that’s sometimes referred to as “dry mopping.” Be sure to get into all the corners and crevices possible, and take care not to step where you’ve mopped, since that will leave noticeable marks.
- Use Some Elbow Grease
The above two steps will get rid of almost all the usual dirt and dust that accumulates on hardwood floors, but sometimes a deep cleaning is necessary. Hardwood has a tendency to attract grime, oil, and other tough-to-clean substances that the sweeping and mopping simply can’t clean up effectively. That’s where some good, old fashioned scrubbing comes in handy. Get some specialty hardwood cleaner, read the instructions, and don’t be afraid to get on your hands and knees to scrub out those tough spots. Be careful to use only soft cloths, no rough brushes, since you can scrub off the protective varnish on your hardwood and expose it to further damage. Be sure to rinse off the cleaner with some clean water after you’ve finished and don’t leave a pool of water on the floor.
It’s best to avoid hardened substances like dried ketchup on your flooring by wiping up spills as soon as they happen. If you don’t, you risk scratching and discoloring your floors.
Once your hardwood floor is clean, it’s important to practice regular maintenance to keep it looking its best. This includes having professionals varnish your floors every few years, and using preventative maintenance tactics, like placing rugs in traffic-heavy areas and monitoring the humidity in the room.