Friday, September 13, 2013

Caring for Hardwoods

Whether they’re dark or light, solid wood or engineered with laminate, hardwood floors can beautify and revitalize a room. Knowing how to properly clean hardwood floors is the secret to keeping them as rich and beautiful as they day they were installed. Gravel and dirt are the #1 enemies of a hardwood floor.  Even fine dirt like indoor plant soil can scratch and mark the floor if not removed promptly. Hardwood floor care may seem like more work than tile and carpet care but the benefits of hardwood make it all worth it in the end. They’re a timelessly classy style of flooring and they can be quite a blessing in the life of an allergy sufferer. Weekly dusting or vacuuming (plus a quick sweep after any event that leaves dirt and grit behind) is a good rule to follow in terms of debris-removal, but what about when it’s time for a deeper clean? Consider these dos and don’ts.

DO get in between the boards.

The reason we recommend weekly vacuuming over sweeping or even Swiffer-ing is because a good vacuum can suck up any dirt that may have gotten lodged between the boards. Some hardwoods may appear to have no gaps at all between planks but there is almost always some kind of space. Over time these gaps collect dust and dirt but with regular vacuuming they’ll stay fresh and free of dust bunnies.

DO use products specially formulated for hardwood.

Wood cleaners and household product made for dusting will not do the trick on hardwood. Some of them even contain chemicals that can cause permanent damage. Your floor may end up dirt-less but that won’t matter if it’s bleached or stained! Hardwood floor cleaner may seem like just another product you don’t want cluttering up your cabinet, but it really works. A bonus of using hardwood cleaners is that they condition and protect your wood floor as they clean it.

DO put felt on furniture legs to avoid scratching the floor’s finish.

This is especially important on furniture that gets moved quite a bit like foot stools and kitchen chairs. Any furniture left un-felted should be moved carefully, preferably lifted and carried, and not dragged across the floor. Other anti-scratching methods include taking off high heels before striding across hardwoods and keeping pets’ nails trimmed.

DON’T clean hardwood with water.

Cleaning up messes with a damp cloth from time to time is fine as long as your dry your floor afterwards. But mopping or sloshing water on your hardwood is a big NO. Not only can water damage discolor your floor, it can also warp solid wood boards and prime your floors for mildew. Mold damage and board twisting are irreversible. You should always soak up spills immediately after they occur and avoid putting too much liquid of any kind on hardwoods.

DON’T forget about light damage.

One of the most commonly forgot about sources of hardwood harm is shining right outside your windows. The sun can bleach stained hardwoods sometimes in as little as a year. Windows receiving direct sunlight should have blinds or curtains to block the bleaching effect.

Caring for Hardwoods