Hardwood floors have a certain classy beauty, but they need to be properly maintained. That technically isn’t very difficult, but you need to know how to care for hardwood surfaces without damaging them.
Using the Right Cleaning Supplies
First of all, you need to know what cleaning supplies are safe to use on your hardwood floors. A soft-bristled broom with an angled head is ideal for sweeping up dust and debris as long as you sweep with the grain, and a vacuum with a soft floor nozzle can pick up what your broom cannot. Robot vacuums such as Roombas are also helpful, providing you get one that doesn’t vacuum itself into a corner or one that has a battery that lasts less than an hour. As for mops, a damp flat-head mop with a microfiber cloth is usually safe to use. Remember that your mop should only be damp, not sopping wet. Spray your cleaning solution on the area you wish to mop, and always move your mop with the wood grain—solvents intended for wood floors and solutions containing citric acid work best as cleaning solutions.
Cleaning Up Spills
Sticky spills should be cleaned up as soon as they happen. Spray your cleaning solution of choice on the spill, and rub vigorously with a microfiber cloth or mop head. A cloth diaper or old sock will do in a pinch if you don’t have a microfiber cloth handy.
What Not To Do
The key to cleaning and maintaining a hardwood floor is to be gentle. This means skipping any heavy cleaning equipment that could damage the finish or leave scratches in the wood. Avoid using cleaning solutions that contain vinegar as it can damage or dull a polyurethane finish. Murphy Oil soap is also not suitable for polyurethane finishes. In fact, it’s best to stay away from any cleaning solution that isn’t meant for hardwood floors.
When you mop your hardwood floor or use water for any cleaning, be careful about how much you use. Water can seep between the floorboards and seep into the wood itself, damaging it over time. Finally, never steam-clean a hardwood floor. Steam cleaning may be great for tile and carpet, but it is horrible for wood surfaces.
Hardwood floors are built to last. However, if you want to retain the classic beauty and elegance of your hardwood floors for ages to come, it’s important to understand their proper maintenance and care.