Stunning and timeless – hardwood flooring is one of the most valued elements in the home. Unfortunately, it’s also the surface that takes the most wear and tear. Whether it’s salt from snowy sidewalks, muddy paws from a rainy day, or abuse from kids toys, our floors have to hold up under a lot of stress. So what is the best way to keep it clean and look great for years to come?
Protecting Hardwood Floors
To avoid damage that cannot be undone, let’s talk about some of the preventative measures you can apply.
Doorways and Hallways
Consider putting down rugs or mats in high-traffic areas such as doorways and hallways. While this covers up your stunning floors, it will protect them and keep them looking great for years. Rubber mats next to the door for wet or dirty shoes will prevent dust and dirt from getting on the floor and creating tiny scratches that dull the finish over time. We also recommend not wearing your shoes into the home, but instead taking them off as soon as you walk in or leaving them right outside the door. Bare feet and socks are much gentler on floors and will prevent you from vacuuming and mopping all the time!
In the Kitchen
Another area that gets near constant abuse is the kitchen. Not only will the addition of a rug or mat under the sink and in front of the stove protect the floors from spills, water, and dirt, but it will make it easier on your feet and legs while you’re standing there working. Additionally, when the inevitable water spill does happen, dry it up immediately. Letting water sit on hardwood flooring is terrible for its health and longevity
In the Bedroom
If you have hardwood flooring throughout the home and into the bedrooms, be sure there is a protective mat or rug under the beds. Maybe even consider using protective furniture sliders like these under dressers and desks. Not only will they keep your furniture from scratching the floor, but will also make it easier to move the furniture to clean behind and under them.
Cut Pet Nails
Those with pets, big or small, keep their nails trimmed and filed. Long or sharp claws will leave tiny scratches on the flooring, dulling the appearance of that lovely hardwood shine. It’s also healthier for your fur babies!
Daily cleaning with a broom or microfiber dust mop is the easiest and safest way to keep your hardwood floors clean. Leaving dirt and dust sitting on the floor getting walked over will grind that filth into the wood and leave minor scratches behind. These small abrasions in the surface of the hardwood will weaken the flooring and make it more susceptible to further damage. Vacuums are perfectly safe to use on hardwood flooring, just be sure to use the bare floor setting and watch that the vacuum isn’t too heavy, which can scuff the floor as you roll it back and forth. You can invest in a vacuum like this one with a roller specifically for dusting hardwood floors.
At least once a month, hardwood floors should be mopped. If there are kids in the house with muddy shoes, dinner messes, or animal paw prints (or worse)the floors should be mopped more regularly. However, be careful not to over-mop or use too much water. The mop head needs to be rung out thoroughly, so there’s only a small amount of water being used. Also, be sure to use room temperature water and a suitable cleaner (if necessary) that does not settle on the wooden surface. If you notice a wet spot after mopping, take a dry mop or a towel and blot it up right away Water and wood do not get along!
What to Avoid
Sometimes life happens, and we run across our floors with wet shoes to grab the coffee we almost forgot on our way to work, but to keep the floors looking their best, there are some things to avoid. Steam cleaning, for example, sounds fantastic for all its disinfecting powers. However, there is too much hot moisture being forced onto the floor which can, over time, cause water damage to a hardwood floor. When mopping regularly, avoid using a cleaner that is too aggressive. If you have some spots on the floor that need extra elbow grease to clean, use a microfiber cloth and spot clean them. If you use harsh cleaners on the floor, they can leave behind residue that will eventually damage the flooring and leave it looking dull and hazy.
As with anything, keeping up with regular cleaning and protecting your flooring will keep them looking beautiful and lasting a long time.