How to Properly Care for Hardwood Floors
I grew up as a kid with nothing but carpets. Wall to wall softness that soaked up my spilled apple juice and trapped my dog’s wonderful fluffiness way down deep. Taking care of carpets simply required regular vacuuming and the occasional freak out of my mother when one of us kids would spill something.
Now that I’m an adult with kids of my own, we’ve decided that maybe carpets aren’t the best choice. Hard wood floors are not only beautiful and give our home a cozy warm feeling, but they are also a bit easier to keep pet hair from stinking it up and can handle some spilled juice a little easier than carpet can.
As wonderful as hardwood floors are, they can be a bit intimidating to any first time home owner who has never had to take care of their own hardwood floors.
Since your floor selection is a major part of your home decor, I thought we’d give a little shout out to all the hardwood floor owners and go over some really easy hardwood floor care and maintenance tips.
How often do I need to clean my hardwood floors?
To keep your floors clean, free of dust and sparkling I recommend the following cleaning schedule:
Daily Cleaning – To keep the dust and pet hair at a manageable level, a really quick daily dusting/sweeping using a soft damp/dry mop is all you need. For Daily cleaning, I use the O-Cedar Dual Action Microfiber Flip Mop and it has a microfiber and chenille side that you can flip over depending on your use. For every day sweeping and dusting, I use the chenille side (the blue fringe) and just push it along the floor as it is a magnet for all of the dust and hair on the floor. If I need a damp mop to clean up a spill or something stick, I use the microfiber side lightly dampened with just a small amount of water and then rung out. When finished you can just vacuum out the mop or throw it in the washing machine. No matter which tool you use to sweep, be sure you are using something soft so that you don’t scratch up your floor by dragging any sharp pieces of dirt across the floor.
Weekly Cleaning – For my deeper weekly cleaning needs, I use Bona spray cleaner which is designed for hardwood floors. You can definitely use the same mop I mentioned above for your daily cleaning, but if you want to save some money you can get the entire Bona Hardwood Floor Care System that will include your mop, dusting pad, cleaning pad and spray cleaner. I wasn’t able to find the mop locally, so I purchased mine off Amazon but the spray cleaner and cleaning pad replacements can be found at Walmart.
I wet the cleaning pad and ring it out well so it doesn’t leave water behind on the floor (water is bad for hardwood floors). Then I spray an area of the floor that I want to clean and using the cleaning pad on the mop, I work the cleaner into the floor. Because you are mopping with a damp, not wet, mop, your floor should be dry and ready to walk in within a few minutes.
What type of cleaning product should I use on my hardwood floors?
I personally am a fan of all Bona products, however, brand really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are using a PH-Neutral cleaning solution for your hardwood floors. Why PH-Neutral? Using a low PH cleaner, such as vinegar and water is great at dissolving mineral deposits, however, it will not dissolve grease or dirt. This is not ideal if a clean floor is what you are after.
On the other hand, a high PH cleaner, like soap for example will give you a clean floor, but will dull your finish over time. The other issue with both high and low PH cleaners is the use of water. Water is the worst thing you can put on a hardwood floor because it will get into the cracks and it doesn’t take long for wood to warp from water damage. The only time water should be used is if you are only dampening your mop.
Preventative maintenance and care for hardwood floors
- Don’t wear spiky or high heeled shoes on your floor as they can dent or scratch your hardwood floors.
- In your high traffic areas such as hallways, living room cut-through’s, entry ways and in front of sinks, put down some rugs to protect your floors.
- Be sure to add and regularly change out felt protectors on the legs of your furniture to ensure they don’t scratch your floor when being moved.
- When moving furniture, be sure to lift and move instead of sliding it across the floor.
- Never ever use a string style mop as they are designed to use a lot of water and you do not want that on your floor.
- If you have pets, be sure to keep their nails trimmed to avoid them scratching your floors.
- When damp mopping your floor, try using distilled water instead of tap water to keep streaking at a minimum.
- During the winter when the heat is on, you can use a humidifier to help keep proper humidity in your home.
If you follow these simple steps for caring for your hardwood floors your floors will last a long time, require little cost in the way or repairs and will remain beautiful for as long as you live in your home.