Hardwood flooring requires very little maintenance. The most effective way to keep the appearance of a hardwood floor looking fresh and new is to prevent scratches and damage happening to the floor in the first place. It is also advised that hardwood flooring is swept and cleaned on a regular basis. Below are a few simple steps to help keep your hardwood floor in tiptop condition.
Simple steps to prevent damage to hardwood flooring
Follow these simple steps to prevent scratches and damage to a hardwood floor:
• Doormats should be placed at entry doors and used to wipe dirt from shoes or boots before walking on the floor. Ideally, shoes and other footwear should be removed altogether and left in a porch or garage (not on the hardwood floor) to prevent dirt and water from scratching and damaging the floor.
• Spills and water accidents should never be left to sit on hardwood flooring for any amount of time. They should be wiped away immediately to ensure the water does not soak into the flooring, causing it to warp or swell.
• Anti-scratch felt pads should be fixed to the bottom of furniture to protect the hardwood floor from scratches and dents.
• Sharp or heavy objects (furniture, toys, stiletto heeled shoes, etc.) should not be dragged across a hardwood floor. They may cause dents, scratches and damage to the floor.
Cleaning a hardwood floor
Hardwood floors should be swept and cleaned on a regular basis to prevent a build-up of dirt, which if walked on can cause scratches to the floor. High traffic areas such as hallway and kitchens should be swept daily, and rooms with less traffic swept weekly. A soft brush should be used to sweep the floor, and then a microfibre cloth and PH neutral wooden floor cleaning spray to clean away any dirt. Water and a damp mop can also be used to clean a hardwood floor, but may not be as effective at removing dirt and stains. If using water and a mop, ensure that the mop is wrung out totally before it is used. If the mop is wet, excess water will soak into the floor and may cause the hardwood flooring to warp and distort.
Oiling and lacquering
If the hardwood floor is oiled, then re-oiling in a few years will re-seal the floor and brighten and revitalise its appearance. If the hardwood floor is lacquered and starting to look dull, certain types of floor polish are available to brighten and enhance the appearance. Re-lacquering is another option.
Things not to do
• Do not use oil, wax or furniture polish. These products can leave a slippery residue on the surface of the hardwood floor.
• Do not use any abrasive or acidic products or anything that contains ammonia. These can damage and scratch hardwood flooring.
• Do not use a steam mop to clean a hardwood floor. The steam and heat will cause the floor to warp.
• Do not use excess water to mop a floor. If water is used, ensure the mop is wrung out fully before it is used. Excess water will cause hardwood flooring to swell and distort.
• If using a vacuum cleaner, ensure that a cleaning head specially designed for wooden floors is used. This will minimise the chance of scratching the floor.