Hardwood Floor Cleaning – Simple Steps and Best Practices

by Sorin Giurca on April 23, 2014

A Clean Hardwood Floor Looks Better, Lasts Longer and is Healthier For You

Recently, I wrote to you about the health benefits of hardwood flooring, so I won’t belabor the point again, today. However, in that earlier post I glossed over a very important concept; the best practices for hardwood floor cleaning. Yes, the traditional “sweep and swab” idea is still as important today as it has ever been, there are simply a lot more kinds of brooms, mops and cleaning products to use, these days.

Hardwood floor cleaning in the proper manner will maintain their gloss and shine longer and keep them free of the grit which can mar the wood over time, and help maintain the healthy environment you read about earlier.

It All Starts at the Front Door

Naturally, the best approach to hardwood floor cleaning is to not let them get too dirty in the first place. Your welcome mat should provide you and your guests with an opportunity to remove as much dirt from shoes as possible. Here in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area, I also recommend a “hedgehog” style boot cleaner right next to it, with stiff bristles to get the sides of the shoes as well. Just inside your front door, you should place another, softer and absorbent welcome mat.

You should never be shy about asking your guests to remove their shoes. Footwear is responsible for tracking in all that damaging grit, and everyone knows it. A collection of shoes along the wall and perhaps a small bench to sit on, might help you get that point across. Not just at the front door either; every entrance to your home should be a convenient place for friends and family to remove their footwear.

Bi-weekly Dust Mopping is a Great Idea

One of the best friends a hardwood floor owner can have, is that new twist on the old dust mop concept; those  “swiffer” style dusters for hardwood floors. Hitting your floors once or twice a week with just the dry pads will remove more dust than you imagine is there. Many of those newfangled dust mops also now come with liquid cleaning solution dispensers right on the handle, which makes the process all too easy.

Clean Liquid Spills from your Hardwood Floors as Soon As You Can

Unlike carpeting, where any colored liquid spill – like wine – is almost cause for panic, your finished hardwood floors are fairly resistant. However, that does not mean you should allow liquids to stand on your floor for any longer than is necessary. Towel or mop up spills  as soon as is practical. Generally, it is also best to use a merely damp mop. Try to use the least water and detergent possible, to get the job done.

Mild or Non-acidic Cleaning Solutions are Always Best

The brand of finish and sealer that you choose to cover your hardwood floors, will probably have a recommended cleaning solution listed on the container. None of them will recommend a harsh detergent or acidic based cleaner, because those can strip the finish, leaving your floors dull and more likely to get dirtier, sooner. Your hardwood floor’s shiny finish is the result of a very smooth surface with very few micro-pores. Harsh cleaners etch that smoothness away.

Steam Cleaning and Vacuuming are Also Good

If you hire a professional floor cleaner, they will probably use a professional steam cleaning system. Despite the name, those use very little water. They also apply an extremely strong vacuum which will pull the dirt up from between the wood slats, leaving you a floor you can quite literally eat off. Of course, you might also want to simply rent or purchase your own steam cleaner, and save yourself the expense.

If Your Hardwood Floor is Installed Right, Cleaning it is That Much Easier

A professionally installed and finished hardwood floor, based solely on the workmanship of the people who put it in, will have the tightest seems and narrowest gaps possible. That means less space for dirt to hide in and less work for you, in the long run.

If you’re thinking that a new hardwood floor might make your life easier, you’re right. If you would like that new hardwood floor to be installed with the best modern practices combined with the pride of old world craftsmanship, Artisan Hardwood Floors is the right company to call. Contact me right now, so we can set up a time to discuss the possibilities.

Sorin Giurca

Craftsman, owner, artist

Artisan Hardwood Floors

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