Perhaps you just moved into a home with hardwood floors. Or you have recently installed hardwood floors in your home. Hardwood floors are beautiful, but do require special care to keep them shiny and clean. The following 4 tips can aid you in cleaning your hardwood floors. Always remember to use caution when cleaning hardwood floors as they are more easily damaged than many other flooring types.
1) Remove your shoes. Before you begin work on your hardwood floor, it is best to remove your shoes. Shoes can scuff up wood floors, damage the finish and track dirt on the floor during the cleaning process. If you normally wear shoes around the house, keep in mind that your hardwood floors can be easily scuffed by shoes.
2) Determine the type of finish. Hardwood floors are not all alike. Different types of finishes will mean different cleaning tactics. If you are uncertain of your floor type rub your fingers across your hardwood floor. If a smudge appears you probably have a floor that has been treated with a penetrating seal, oil finish, shellac, varnish or lacquer, and then waxed. If no mark appears, the floor is surface sealed. The following are the most common finishes:
Surface Sealed: This is the case for most new hardwood floors. They are usually sealed with urethane, polyurethane or poly-acrylic. This is the ideal finish as surface sealed hardwood floors are very easy to care for. They are stain and water resistant and only require simple sweeping and mopping to stay shiny and clean.
Oil-treated and penetrating-seal-treated: Another common finish, this type has a penetrating seal or oil finish. This soaks into the wood grain where it later hardens. These hardwood floors must be treated with the utmost care. They should be protected with wax.
Lacquered, varnished, shellacked and untreated: Lacquers, varnishes and shellacs are still a type of finish and seal, but they are not as resistant to water and stains as the previous finishes listed. These floors should be treated the same as a floor with no finish.
3) Sweep. No matter your finish type, begin the process of cleaning by sweeping up loose dirt and debris. Be careful to choose a broom that is not too harsh on your floor. You can also use a dry mop to dust the floor. Remember, hardwood floors, especially ones that are not surface sealed, take a little extra care and attention.
4) Finally clean your floor according to type. If you have a surface sealed floor you should use water and a recommended cleaner. Go to the store and read through the wood floor cleaners and search for one that is safe for a surface sealed hardwood floor. But do not use straight ammonia, oils, furniture sprays or water alone. If you have any other type of finish mentioned use stripper to remove old wax buildup. It is always best to use the product recommended by the floor manufacturer. Feel free to contact us at Flooring Houston for help if you are uncertain of what product to use. Then use liquid or paste wax that is designed for your floor type. It is best to avoid acrylic or water-based waxes as these waxes can turn your floor white. Avoid furniture waxes because they will make your surface dangerously slick. And avoid one-step waxes, because they often trap dirt.
Remember, hardwood floors take time to care for. But when you do take care of your hardwood floors, they can be an incredible asset to your home’s beauty and overall value. Contact us if you have any further questions about cleaning your hardwood floors.