Cleaning and Maintaining Hardwood Floors

by Sammy Dolan from Home Clean Expert

Hardwood floors can really catch your eye when you walk into a room or a hallway that has one. There is just something so classy and elegant looking about a hardwood floor. Of course, this only applies if the hardwood floor is in good condition. If it has not been cared for properly and is covered in scratches, dull spots and other nastiness it can be a real eyesore.

I have a lovely hardwood floor in my hallway that I wish I could take credit for, but it was here when I moved in. I make it a point to look after this hardwood floor as best I can and today I am sharing with you what I feel is the best way to clean and maintain hardwood floors.

Have A Cleaning Schedule

It is so much easier to clean and maintain a hardwood floor if you are looking after it on a regular basis. I have a cleaning schedule that I have done so often it is now second nature. Cleaning and looking after a hardwood floor is not as much work as some people make out, especially if you keep on top of it.

This is how I clean my hardwood floor... by the day, week, month and year!

1) Once A Day

That is right I said once a day! Do not freak out. All you need to do is give it a going over with a brush or a basic dust mop to get rid of any little bits of stones, debris, and other things that can potentially scratch this. It will take you a couple of minutes at the very most!

Of course, you know your home and where the heavy traffic areas are... give those more attention!!

2) Once A Week

I like to give my hardwood floor a vacuum once a week. Of course, if the kids or pets have made a mess then I will get the vacuum out, but at least once I week I will run my vacuum cleaner over it and pick up anything that may be stuck in the grooves. Again this will take you no time at all.

In the winter this can be done two or three times a week if there is a lot of dirt. Cordless vacuums, such as the ones featured on Home Clean Expert, are great for hardwood floors because they can be used for a quick clean and the motorized brush roll can be switched off, which will help prevent damage to your floor.

3) Once A Month

You can purchase all kinds of "professional" cleaning products that are designed for wood.. specifically hardwood floors. This is what you want! Have a look in your local supermarket or hardware store and get some. It is very easy to use and a coating and cleaning with this once a month will do wonders to keep that wood looking fantastic. I would recommend that you get one that is specifically called "wood floor cleaner".  You may want to use this more than once a month, but in my experience once a month is fine.

A note from NH: In most cases, it is unwise to use any wax products on a varnished or polyurethane-coated hardwood floor. Wax can make a polyurethaned floor so slippery that it can pose a safety hazard! This is especially true on stairways or areas that can get damp, such as near entry doors. Also, carpets can also become hazardous since they will have very little grip on a waxed wood floor!

4) Once Every One Or Two Years

I say two years, but I like to do this once a year, usually after the winter. You get all kinds of wooden floor polish that you can use to give your hardwood floor a coating with in order to protect it. My advice here is to first of all not spread it around too thick. Apply it in a controlled and precise manner.

Also, make sure you do it on a day when the kids are not home and keep the dogs off it until it dries. This can be a pain to do I know, but it is going to greatly extend the life of your hardwood floor.

More Tips For Keeping Your Hardwood Floors Looking Great!

Here are a few more tips that will help you keep that hardwood floor of yours looking fantastic for many years to come.

Do Not Use General Cleaning Products

Using the same stuff that you use to clean the sink or the bathroom floor might seem like the right thing to clean hardwood floors with, but these kinds of cleaners can have all kinds of chemicals in them that are harmful to wood. To start with they can make the floor very slippery, but it can also really dull the finish.

A Rug Can Be A Real Hero

While the point of having a hardwood floor is to be able to show it off, if you have a very large hardwood floor like in your living room for example or if your hallway is very long, do not be scared to cover it up a little bit. A rug can do wonders in preventing scratches, especially in high traffic areas. In my home, our hardwood floor leads to a door that goes to the backyard. I have a mat here so that people can leave their shoes or give their feet a wipe before they walk on the hardwood floor.

Do Not Put Things Directly On A Hardwood Floor

While I wish I could tell you that I had some kind of technology that will make the kids and pets float above the floor, what I am talking about here is furniture. Do not just put a chair, table, shelf or whatever directly onto a hardwood floor! This is just asking for a huge scratch to happen. Use felt protectors to stop furniture from having to be in direct contact with the floor. These are cheap, easy to install and you do not even notice them if you apply them cleverly.

Treat Spills Immediately

While most hardwood floors will be made with pressure treated wood or have some kind of protective finish on them, you do not want to leave any kind of spills on them. So if you have a spillage or you notice a wet patch, deal with it immediately. Do not rub the spill in, instead, gently pat it off. This way you are not rubbing liquid deep into the wood.

When To Call In A Professional

If all else fails and you are dealing with a hardwood floor that has some nasty scratches on it or if it has become really dull call in a pro! More than likely they will suggest sanding it down a bit (not something I recommend you try yourself) to get rid of any scratches. They will then give you advice on what kind of finish to use and then also let you know how to maintain this new finish.

In conclusion, kKnowing how to clean and maintain a hardwood floor is not all that difficult. I think that the real key to having a great looking hardwood floor for many years is regular care. Treat your floor with respect and it will stay looking great for many, many years. On the flip side of this if you do not brush it, treat it and look after it then it will start to look old and haggard and no one wants that to happen! So please take a little time each week to make sure that your hardwood floor is cleaned properly.

About the author: Sammy Dolan is a small business owner who loves taking on different kinds of DIY projects. He is a keen writer who loves writing about any topic related to home life, and currently runs the blog at Home Clean Expert.