September 8, 2022

Keeping Your Hardwood Floor Beautiful – Best Practices in Hardwood Floor Maintenance

After much research and advice, you finally selected the right hardwood flooring for your home. You found the right flooring professionals to help with installation and to correctly apply the right finish. But as you sit back and admire your magnificent hardwood floors, you begin to worry that their beauty won’t last. After all, every season brings new challenges whether its rain, dirt, leaves, or other debris. And over time, these and normal foot traffic can make hardwoods look weathered and less appealing. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case with proper hardwood floor maintenance. With a few good habits and by regularly cleaning a hardwood floor, you can enjoy lasting beauty. With this in mind, the following provides best practices when it comes to hardwood floor maintenance. 

Dealing with Dust and Crumbs 

One of the first priorities related to good maintenance requires cleaning a hardwood floor on a regular basis. One of the tasks involved is therefore to sweep and dust your floors every day. Even when the weather outside is perfect, dust forms within your home every day. Overtime, dust and other small debris settle into the grains of your hardwood floors and in between the seams. While cleaning a hardwood floor daily  by dusting and sweeping won’t rid your floors of everything, it’s a great start.

 When dusting, be sure to use a soft-dry microfiber mop or cloth. Likewise, a soft-bristle brush is preferred when sweeping. In addition to these daily hardwood floor maintenance routines, vacuuming weekly is also encouraged. This helps collect any dust and debris missed when cleaning a hardwood floor by sweeping. And by using a soft-floor attachment without a beater bar on your vacuum, you won’t harm your hardwoods. As far as hardwood floor maintenance, these are routines that can provide lasting beauty for years to come. 

Water Is Not Your Friend 

As you are likely aware, water and wood don’t necessarily go well together. Water seeps into wood causing it to swell and shrink over time. This can not only lead to staining but more serious damage resulting in cupping, splitting and gapping. Understanding this, part of effective hardwood floor maintenance involves keeping moisture and wetness away from your floor’s surface. Even when cleaning a hardwood floor, it is important not to use wet mops or steam mops since these too can cause damage. Instead, dry or slightly damp clothes are preferred.

Given this, any spills should be wiped up immediately should they occur. The less time spills have in contact with your hardwood floor, the better. Thus, cleaning a hardwood floor after a spill is time-sensitive. In addition, be weary of humidity in the air since this too can expose hardwood floors to moisture. Good hardwood floor maintenance advice suggests keeping room temperature between 60 and 80 degrees, even in the summer. Likewise, humidity levels should be between 30 and 55%. In some places, including Texas, this may require the use of a dehumidifier to optimize your hardwood’s lasting beauty. 

Routine Cleaning Advice

In addition to dusting, sweeping, and vacuuming, you should also periodically invest in cleaning a hardwood floor. The frequency with which you decide to do this may vary on many factors. However, most professionals recommend cleaning a hardwood floor once a week or so. In choosing a cleaner, it is important to use a pH neutral solution that is designed for hardwood floors specifically. The cleaner should also be able to be sprayed in a fine mist so that it can be applied lightly and evenly. And as previously mentioned, microfiber mops are ideal as opposed to wet or steam mops. Best hardwood floor maintenance follows these key recommendations. 

In terms of technique when cleaning a hardwood floor, a small area should be cleaned at a time. Spray a fine mist of cleaning solution in a limited area, and then quickly wipe it dry. This limits exposure to moisture while still removing dust, dirt and debris. It is also important not to apply vinegar-water solutions or oil soaps since these can result in staining and/or discolorations. Similarly, ammonia-based solutions and scouring solutions are also not a good idea. These are not part of a recommended hardwood maintenance routine because of the damage they can cause. 

Some Additional Best Practices 

The above hardwood floor maintenance recommendations will go a long way in protecting your hardwood floors. But in addition, there are some additional steps you might also take besides simply cleaning a hardwood floor. For example, protecting your floors from scratches is similarly important. Placing furniture pads or floor protectors on chairs, tables, and sofas is a great idea in this regard. Area rugs can also be used in high-traffic areas to reduce wear-and-tear. And some families have a “no-shoes-in-the-house” rule to further prevent scratches to the flooring. All of these offer some additional strategies that will preserve your floor’s appearance. 

Another villain that is known to undermine your hardwood floor’s appeal is ultraviolet light. As the sun shines through onto your floors, it can cause gradual fading. UV protective coatings in your floor’s finish will deter such fading. But over time, some fading does take place. Area rugs can prevent this too to a degree as can UV-resistant films or screens over windows. But if area rugs are used, be sure to rotate their location along with furniture periodically. This will prevent uneven fading and give your hardwood floor better aesthetics overall. 

Knowing When to Call a Professional 

While basic hardwood floor maintenance is quite simple, some issues do require professional guidance. For example, stains and spots from oils, paints, markers, cigarettes, and lipstick may need professional hardwood flooring cleaning services. Likewise, hardwood floor refinishing is needed every 3-5 years on average. This too should be handled by a hardwood flooring specialist. Outside  of this, however, maintaining and cleaning a hardwood floor is fairly straightforward. All it takes is a commitment to regular hardwood floor maintenance. And such a commitment will certainly pay handsome dividends over time when it comes to your hardwood floor’s appearance.

Kelly Hardwood Floors can help with your hardwood flooring cleaning in Austin, TX. Reach out for a consultation today!