Your floor is one of the most important yet overlooked elements of your home. Whether modern, rustic or contemporary, it adds warmth, beauty and functionality to any space. While there’s a world of flooring options available, nothing beats the charm and resilience of wooden floors. Since hardwood is quite an investment, it’s normal to want it to look like new for years to come. Proper cleaning and maintenance will greatly extend the longevity of your hardwood floors and avoid future replacement costs. Although hardwood is easy to maintain, people often ruin it by cleaning it incorrectly. Here’s a quick guide to what not to do in order to preserve them.
Are You Making These Common Hardwood Floor Cleaning Mistakes?
Do you think hardwood is delicate and needs special care? This is partly true, but just avoid these common cleaning mistakes to keep it shining like new.
Using the Wrong Vacuum Attachment
Vacuuming is effective in removing dust and dirt off your floor as it can clean cracks or gaps. However, not all suction tools and attachments are suited to hardwood floors. Using the wrong vacuum head can leave scratches and create cracks for dirt and dust to accumulate within, making it harder to clean. Avoid using any attachment with a rotating brush or a beater bar with hard bristles, as these are too harsh for wood and can cause irreversible damage. Instead, opt for an attachment with soft bristles or a felt component that’s gentle on wood. You could use a vacuum cleaner with a small canister, since they’re relatively light and less likely to cause scratches and dents.
Using Harsh Cleaning Solutions
Whether you’re looking to deodorize or remove stains, choosing the right cleaning product is important. Over-the-counter floor cleaners often contain harsh chemicals that can wear away the topcoat, leaving it dull and lifeless. Instead, pour a few drops of dishwashing liquid into a bowl of warm water and use the mixture to wipe the floor. Also, blot stains immediately after they happen to avoid permanent discolouration. Even if you’re using a wood cleaning solution to remove stubborn stains, grease or grime, always dilute it with water first. Remember not to apply a cleaner directly to the surface.
Water is the biggest damaging factor for any type of wood. Moisture easily gets trapped in the fibers, causing the planks to cup, warp, swell and separate. Frequent mopping can cause water to seep between the boards, resulting in damage over time. While occasional mopping helps get rid of stains and dirt, overdoing it can do more harm than good. Use a damp (not wet) mop or cloth to clean and dry the surface immediately with a towel. This will stop water from getting into cracks, avoiding the risk of mould and mildew under the floorboards.
Using Ammonia or Vinegar
Vinegar is a natural cleaning solution used in many households. It’s inexpensive, readily available and effective against mould. While vinegar is a preferred (and milder) alternative to detergents for cleaning fabrics, it’s not a good choice for hardwood as its acidic nature will eat away the finish. As ammonia will also make your floor look dull, avoid using it directly or as a cleaning ingredient.
Using Steam Cleaners
The excessive heat and moisture from steam cleaners can ruin not only the topcoat but also the wood beneath. Since the damage is gradual, you’ll need a total floor replacement by the time you realize your mistake.
Not Cleaning Your Vacuum Cleaner
If you use your vacuum cleaner often, chances are that it’s accumulated a lot of dirt. Dirty filters can clog the vacuum and prevent proper suction. That’s why it’s important to clean your vacuum canisters frequently.
Using Oil-Based Cleaners
Many cleaning products claim to be safe for hardwood floors but not all are. Cleaners containing oil, wax or polishes can create a topcoat on your floors and turn them into a black spot over time.
Hardwood floors are durable and attractive, yet vulnerable in many ways. From dust, dirt and termites to excessive heat and moisture, many factors can affect their looks and performance. Now that you know what to avoid when cleaning your hardwood floors, the job should be easier. If you have more questions, get in touch with the experts at Amazon Hardwood.