How Should I Go About Cleaning Hardwood Floors?

How should I go about cleaning hardwood floors? Recommendation on cleaners for hardwood floors. For normal day-to-day cleaning, there are some simple steps you can take when caring for your hardwood floors....

For normal day-to-day cleaning, there are some simple steps you can take when caring for your hardwood floors. A dust mop and a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment are basically all you need. In fact, you should avoid most chemical cleaners and floor waxes unless specifically recommended by your floor's manufacturer. Some products can cause immediate damage to your hardwood floors. With other products, however, the damage may not appear until later on. They can actually change the properties of the wood making proper resurfacing nearly impossible in the future.

Melissa Briones, owner of Melissa's House Cleaning in Lawton, Oklahoma, says, "Many times, people hire hardwood floor cleaning specialists. This kind of cleaning requires a certain type of equipment, and you can probably have your hardwood floors cleaned by a service once a month." Just be sure they follow your floor manufacturer's recommendations for specific cleaning directions. In the meantime, Briones recommends that you maintain your floors in other ways.

At least once or twice a week, you should vacuum or dust your hardwood floors. If too much grit is allowed to gather on the floor, it can wear down the surface and cause the floor to become scratched and dull. For this reason, when you are vacuuming or dust mopping, be sure to clean in the direction of the wood's grain and not against it.

Also, your hardwood floors should be kept dry. So, any liquid spills should be cleaned immediately with a dry cloth or paper towel. If cleaning with liquid is absolutely necessary, use a cloth that is dampened the slightest bit possible and follow the cleaning by drying the area immediately.

You can protect your floors by placing runners or area rugs in high-traffic areas. These rugs should be shaken out or vacuumed regularly so that dirt doesn't get a chance to sift through them to the floor, thereby scratching your hardwood.

You should also be careful not to scuff your floors by sliding furniture across them. Always pick up furniture pieces to move them. You can place padding under furniture legs and on the bottom edges of bureaus and desks to help protect the floor. Another way to protect your hardwood floors is to avoid walking across them while wearing hard bottom shoes. High heels, especially, can damage your wood floors.

For those occasions when a strong hardwood cleaner is needed, Briones says, "I would recommend that you ask at the store where you bought your floor. You don't want to do anything that will take the shine away and make the floor look dull, so you must be careful. Hardwood floors are expensive, and need to be properly taken care of. Many people think they can just put in a hardwood floor and forget about it. They don't realize that it requires special care if it is going to last a long time."

The care of hardwood floors is not difficult but, like many things, they need to be maintained carefully and consistently.

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