Suggestions for the Care of Your Hardwood Floor
There have been many advances in hardwood floor finishes over the years. So it’s never been easier to clean and maintain your exotic wood floor. To ensure the full benefit of warranties and to extend the beauty of the hardwood, we recommend the following steps:
Never Use a Wet Mop
Water and wood floors don’t mix. So don’t use a lot of water to clean your floor. For regular cleaning, use a sponge mop with clear water, squeezed very dry. For heavier cleaning, add a hardwood floor cleaner that is specified for polyurethane coated hardwood floors. No matter what, don’t leave standing water on the floor.
Wipe Spills Immediately
When accidents happen with liquids spilled onto your floor, use a slightly dampened cloth or paper towel to clean the affected area right away.
Use a Good Dust Mop
One with a 12 to 18 inch cotton head – and a special dust mop treatment. Spray the treatment onto the mop head 12 to 24 hours before dust mopping.
Brooms are fine; varieties with exploded ends trap dust and grit effectively.
When vacuuming using a bristle brush attachment. Vacuum with a brush attachment – don’t use vacuums with beater bars. Canister vacuums with special bare floor attachments are the surest way to get rid of all the dirt and dust.
Use Mats at Outside Entrances
Small stones, mud and gritty dirt tracked in from outside can play havoc on the wood floors finish. To help combat this, use long bristle floor mats placed at all outside entrances to keep dirt and moisture from being tracked in.
Use Area Rugs Inside of Entrances
Small interior rugs can also be placed inside doors for added protection. The rugs should be slip resistant with backing that will not discolor or scratch your floor. Putting a small rug in front of the kitchen sink is a good idea, as well.
Use the Proper Chair Glides
Narrow wheels, sharp wooden legs and metal furniture legs can scratch and dent hardwood floors. Any furniture that rests directly on top of a hardwood floor should have cloth protectors under all the feet.
Don’t Use Oil Soaps or Wax
There are many over the counter oil-based soaps and wax-based cleaning products that may damage or dull the finish of your wood floor.
Don’t Use Ammonia or Soaps
Regular household cleaners such as soap or detergent can damage your floor’s finish. The best suggestion is to only use the manufacturers recommended cleaning products on your hardwood flooring.
Lift Furniture to Move It
Avoid dragging. The legs of furniture should have felt on the bases to prevent scratching as the furniture moves with use. Take caution when moving heavy objects across hardwood floors. It is preferable not to drag things on the wood, but if one must, then lay down a blanket or other item that will slide easily for the item to rest on.
Avoid Shoe Marks
The biggest cause of floor damage is what is on one’s feet. Make sure your shoes are not exceedingly dirty; be cautious of walking in high heels, sports shoes, or cleats across hardwood; and black rubber soles can leave marks, which will require friction to remove.
Watch Your Pets
The previous statement also applies to your house pets. Keep your pets nails trimmed so they do not scratch up the hardwood, We also recommend that your pet’s dishes sit on a nonslip rubber mat to keep food and water off the floor.
Be Careful with Potted Plants
Overwatering can cause water to spill out onto floors. And sometimes condensation can build up under pots.
Make Sunlight Work for You
Direct sunlight will darken your floor over time. With tropical woods, most people prefer the rich darkening that comes with exposure to sunlight. We recommend rearranging furniture and rugs periodically, so the floor ages evenly. If, on the other hand, you don’t want darker floors, you can use window coverings, as well as a floor finish with UV protection, to prevent or slow discoloration.
Maintain a Healthy Humidity Level
Wood floors require a relative humidity similar to your personal comfort level in order to limit cracking and swelling over time. Many wood floor professionals recommend a humidity level of 35-55%. In some areas of North America, humidity levels can vary dramatically with the changing seasons. Extreme humidity levels, either high or low, can cause damage to your floor. The installation of a humidifier and/or a dehumidifier may be advisable.
Please visit the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) website for more helpful care tips. You’ll also find some good floor renewal and repair ideas. Go to http://www.woodfloors.org/RegMaint.aspx. You can also consult your installer or a hardwood flooring professional for any specific repair or finish questions.