How to Care for Hardwood Floors

A mop cleaning hardwood floors

Of all the types of flooring we pick for our homes, nothing beats the beauty of good hardwood. You get that vintage, almost rustic appeal that does wonders in adding warmth and style to your home.

Unfortunately, due to wear and tear from scuffs, spills, and everyday traffic, your floor is bound to experience some damage. And as you may already know, hardwood is not cheap. To help your investment retain its glossy sheen, you have to regularly clean and care for it. The aim is to prevent the buildup of dirt and the formation of scratches.

Well, drawing some insight from the National Wood Flooring Association, we’ve compiled a few of the most fundamental steps on how to care for hardwood floors that you shouldn’t skimp on. Let’s take a look.

Develop a Hardwood Care Routine

Learning how to maintain hardwood floors isn’t something you do once and forget about. You’ll need to perform it regularly to keep your progress consistent. And it is impossible to achieve this without creating a hardwood care routine.

Having protocols in place will keep you on your toes, ensuring that you get constant and consistent results.

Part of this includes setting days when you’ll be doing the cleaning. You can establish the frequency based on how much traffic the floors receive.

On top of that, you can also determine the cleaning materials to use, like microfiber mops (best for picking up grime and dust) and dusting agents such as dusting sprays and wood polishes.

Dust or Sweep Daily

One of the biggest threats to the integrity of your floor is the buildup of dirt and grime. Not only does it make the place appear dingy, but the debris and dirt particles tend to scratch the floor as you walk across them. If left unchecked, these small debris can lead to more severe and irreversible damage to your floor.

However, this can all be avoided by daily dusting or sweeping. You want to use a broom with angled soft bristles to prevent dust from spreading out into the air and floor. You can follow it up by dry mopping it to remove the smaller dust particles for even better results.

If you are dealing with a larger space, it might be hard to sweep the whole house each day. In this case, you can focus on the high traffic areas such as hallways, stairs, and entryways. Then do a more thorough sweep once or twice a week.

Clean Weekly

Besides merely dusting your hardwood floors, you’ll also need to do a deep clean every once. This should help remove the grime and oil that has settled into the floor’s crevices. If you’ve been dusting daily, you might need to do the cleaning only once or twice a week.

As you clean, consider using a combination of water and a suitable wood floor cleaning product. Make sure to use a cleaner made for your particular floor’s finish and follow its specific dilution instructions.

Polish Quarterly

Sometimes, even a deep clean might not cut it. To give it the extra shine, you’ll need to polish your floor. Ideally, this can be done every two to three months.

Before you polish, make sure that you dust and vacuum the floor to ensure that any loose debris is removed. Your choice of polish also matters. The best kinds are water-based polishes because they don’t emit any harmful toxins or leave residues on your floor. They also do a good job of preventing stripping of the floor.

Urethane-based polishes are another great option. They have quick dry times and provide an extra protective wear layer that evens out the floor and fills in any micro-scratches.

Keep Floors Dry

Water is yet another common enemy of hardwood floors. When exposed to moisture, the wood tends to swell and shrink. Eventually, it will split or gape.

For this reason, a large part of your wood care routine should be to keep the floor dry at all times. Always clean spills when they occur using a slightly damp or completely dry cloth.

On top of that, you can make sure that people leave their wet shoes outside or at a designated wood-free area of the house to prevent the water from forming pools.

How to Clean Hardwood Floors During Your Regular Cleaning Routine

As we’ve seen, learning how to care for hardwood floors mostly entails cleaning them regularly. However, there is a right and wrong way to clean a hardwood floor. Here are a few tips and tricks that you can use to yield the most satisfactory results.

For a Quick Clean

You can dust the floor using a microfiber mop or a mop treated with a suitable dusting agent. This should eliminate any pet hair, dirt, and dust that might damage the floor surface.

For a Deeper Clean

You can use water and a wood floor cleaning product of choice.

  •         Start by dipping the rag or sponge mop in water and then wring it, so it is only damp but not wet. Excess water will eventually dull your floor’s finish.
  •         Proceed to mop the floor using the damp rag while avoiding standing water. Excess liquid can damage the wood surface if left on for too long.

Refinishing Hardwood Flooring

Now, hardwood floor care involves more than just cleaning the surface. Over time, the wood starts getting worn down and appearing a little dull. If this is the case, you might need to apply another coat of finish to bring back its original luster.

Besides improving the overall aesthetics, refinishing adds an extra protective layer to your floor, making it even more durable.

It is important to note that there are many different types of finishes out there, and each one has a special treatment. Therefore, as you clean, ensure that you check the product recommendations of your particular finish.

Also, avoid using harsh chemicals on hardwood floors. They often react with the finish to cause hazing, which builds up over time. If you observe a cloudy film on your wood, you can easily remove it using a microfiber cloth. Simply dip it in warm water and wipe the surface.

The DC-Area Hardwood Flooring Experts

Hopefully, now you know a thing or two about caring for hardwood floors. As you’ve seen, all it needs is regular dusting and the occasional cleaning and refinishing. The key here is to do these preventative measures regularly. This way, you prevent the dirt from building up, which reduces the amount of work you have to put in every time.

At the same time, you have to make sure to use the right products and proper cleaning techniques to prevent further damage to the floor.

If you are in the DC area and need to install a hardwood floor or are still unsure about the proper care routines for your particular hardwood floor, our experts at Precision Flooring Services can help. We’ve been providing residents and business owners in the Washington DC area with our top-notch hardwood flooring services. So you can rest assured that we know what we are doing. For any enquiries or free estimates, don’t hesitate to contact us at 888-765-4737 or contact us online.

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