Many different types of hardwood floors are available and some finishes require different care than others. However, cleaning hardwood floors is not as challenging a task as some may perceive and with the right tools, materials such as a hardwood floor cleaner, and guidelines, minimal effort is needed to maintain the durability and good looks of hardwood floors.
Hardwood Floor Finishes
Different finishes on hardwood floors require different kinds of care so knowing the specific finish will determine the right hardwood floor cleaner that can protect and prolong the life of a floor.
Hardwood floors that are finished with polyurethane are practical and very popular and require minimal maintenance. A generic hardwood floor cleaner can be used to clean these floors as wax-based or petroleum-based products can damage the finish.
Hardwood floors with wax finishes soak into the wood and harden to form a protective seal. Additional thin applications of wax can help to maintain them and they should be cleaned with solvent-based waxes, cleaning liquids or buffing pastes made explicitly for wood floors finished with wax.
The most durable and extremely hard finish is done using acrylics which are injected into the wood. A urethane-based finish should be cleaned following the same procedures as for those finished with polyurethane while a spray and buff system can be used to clean a non-urethane-based finish.
Dirt and grit from between the floor boards of a hardwood floor should be removed on a regular basis. Rather than using a wet mop which can dull the finish of the floor, sweep it with a broom or dust mop or vacuum the floor with a special attachment for hardwood floors.
Spills should be wiped up immediately with a dry, soft or slightly damp cloth. Spills that are not cleaned up and remain on the floor can damage the finish and the underlying wood as well.
To prevent scratching the finish of the floor or even denting it, avoid walking on hardwood floors with high heels that need repair or with sports cleats. Furniture legs should have felt pads on their bottoms so as to minimize scratches.
Scratches can also be minimized with the placement of scatter rugs at entrances to reduce the amount of debris and small stones that may enter the house. Wood flooring retailers also sell special rug mats that can prevent hardwood floors from discoloration.
Proper care and maintenance will ensure that a hardwood is protected and will last for a lifetime, and even longer.