How to Care for Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood floors got their name from their source – hard woods. Hence, they have durability that soft woods do not. Still, that doesn’t mean they are to take a beating. In fact, if you care for your hardwood flooring enough, it will stay beautiful for several years, if not hundreds.
You can begin by dusting the floor with a mop soaked in a chemical that picks up dirt, dust and even pet hair, which can scratch the surface. Once or twice a week, you can use an electric broom or vacuum the floor with a floor-brush attached to the vacuum cleaner. Electrostatic cloths, which you can buy at grocery and discount stores, can come in handy for quick dusting. Here’s a tip: you can save cash by using the two sides of a disposable cloth.
Weekly dust moping doesn’t completely remove the buildup of dirt, grime and oil over time. Hence, occasional deep cleaning using a special wood-cleaning product is important, preferably prior to the winter holidays or in the spring. Remember to dilute the fluid first as indicated in the label. Get a sponge and soak it in the water, then wring it until only damp. Use it to damp-mop the floor, making sure there is no standing water on the floor. Then you can rinse with a clean and water-damped mop, but check the label if the product requires it. Make it a point to wipe off any excess liquid because standing water can be damaging to wood surfaces. You can speed up drying by turning on the air conditioner or ceiling fan.
Removing Stains or Marks
Before you attempt to remove a stain, consider your floor’s finish. If the mark has remained on the top surface, then urethane, or any other hard finish was likely used. If it has sunk into the wood, the floor was probably soft-finished with oil (common in older homes with non-refinished and non-resealed floors).
To remove marks on hard-finished flooring, use a soft, clean cloth (skip the sandpaper, steel wool or harsh cleaning liquids because they can be damaging).
Below are ways to remove stains on soft oil finishes:
> Dark stains and pet marks – Rub floor wax in using steel wool No. 000. If unsuccessful, pour vinegar or bleach over the spot, soak for an hour, and rinse using damp cloth.
> Oily stains – Rub with soft cloth and dishwashing soap to break down the grease, then use clear water for rinsing. Repeat if unsuccessful on the first try.
> Heel marks – Rub floor wax in using fine steel.
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