Hardwood or carpet? The choice is yours but, before you decide, consider how often you want to clean your floors. Both options have their specific requirements for maintaining the look and feel of the material you’re laying down.
Carpets need some vacuuming and an annual deep clean. But the best way to clean hardwood floors requires similar tactics with a few additional considerations to keep your wood flooring at peak performance for as long as you own it. After all, this is an investment you want to protect and the fastest way to ruin it is through long term neglect.
Without routine care and maintenance, your hardwood floor will show its age much faster than it should as wear and tear degrades the surface and penetrates through the boards.
Those homeowners who want to be responsible about caring for their hardwood should also be mindful of the cleaning techniques they employ as well. The wrong cleaning methods could actually have a negative impact on the condition of your flooring, leaving it dull, dingy, and possibly damaged.
In order to avoid such impacts, here are some hardwood floor cleaning basics you must heed the next time you want to give your wood flooring some tender loving care:
Tend to Spills Quickly
It doesn’t matter what kind of hardwood you have installed in your home, spills and messes can severely damage the wood if they’re left to sit there for extended periods of time. It’s due to the amount of moisture that is allowed to seep into the floor.
Much like with carpeting, it’s smart to tend to those spills and accidents as fast as possible. In both cases, moisture can lead to the development of mold and bacteria as well as significant damage in the form of warping, staining, and weakening of the wood and the layers of the floor beneath.
The type of moisture and the severity of it can also have devastating effects on your wood flooring, making for one very expensive repair or, worse, replacement job that can cost you a lot of money.
The Right Equipment
Floors can be very sensitive to the cleaning methods used to care for them. It’s true with the type of cleanser you select and even more so with the machinery you may employ to get the job done. For instance, you may consider using a vacuum cleaner to pick up all of the dust, hair, and other dirt particles that might collect over time.
Vacuuming once a week is a smart way to clean your flooring and avoid the build up of grime and bacteria. However, you should also be cognizant not to scratch the wood while you vacuum. Too many homeowners will run their machine over the surface of their delicate hardwood and find they’ve scratched or scuffed it without knowing why.
The reason is because they didn’t use the hard floor attachment that is included with most vacuum cleaners. This attachment can be much easier on your wood flooring than the main head of the cleaner.
Another piece of equipment you should never use is a buffing machine. Consumer-grade flooring simply can’t handle the impact of a buffing machine and while you may think to use this type of thing to beautify the floor, you could actually damage the finish and dull the surface instead of give it that shine you want.
When it comes to cleaning your floors, you have plenty of options from which to choose on those store shelves. Each one claiming to be the most effective at restoring the shine to your hardwood flooring. But with so many choices, it can be easy to pick the wrong one.
How do you know if you’ve made such a mistake? A good rule of thumb is to avoid purchasing any cleansers that contain heavy powders, harsh abrasive chemicals, and any other ingredients that might wear away the finish of your flooring surface. These include things like ammonia or oil-based solution that seem like the right thing to buy but, in reality, are not.
Erosion of the finish on your wood flooring can leave the wood susceptible to permanent damage. Not only can it degrade the look and feel of the wood but it can age the wood prematurely. These are visual impacts that you will not be able to repair and your only recourse will be to replace the flooring entirely.
This is a very costly improvement project, one that you can avoid completely by following these simple cleaning tips. Know the basics and you’ll preserve your flooring for years to come.