There are many benefits to hardwood floors. Hardwood floors come in a number of different varieties and it is important to know which kind you have before you can figure out the best way to clean hardwood floors.
Hardwood flooring falls into the following categories:
- Solid Hardwood Flooring: Real wood and the most expensive type of flooring. It can only be installed by professionals. Solid hardwood can be of 2 types:
- Plank Flooring – Not common and wood size has to be more than six inches in size.
- Strip Flooring – Commonly used and can vary in size from 1½ inches to 2½ inches in width.
- Domestic Hardwood flooring: All wood flooring made from North American trees such as Oak, maple and cherry.
- Exotic hardwood flooring: Hardwood floors made from trees originating in Asia, South America and Australia are considered exotic. These floorings cost substantially more than domestic flooring.
- Hand Scraped: The most fashionable hardwood flooring with unique long flat lines, every piece has a distinct appearance.
- Smooth Finish: Most commonly available, with a smooth mirror-like shiny surface.
- Engineered Flooring: This flooring looks like solid hardwood, but actually is plywood topped with a real wood surface layer. This wood is perfect for humid settings.
- Distressed Hardwood Flooring: Distressed finish is very popular and is machine created to give an antique look.
- Unfinished Wood Flooring: You can choose your own stain and sealant to create an individual look. But it can be costly to finish.
- Pre-Finished Wood Floors: Most flooring is pre-finished with a polyurethane coat to make it tough. The pre-finished flooring is ready to use immediately after installation.
So now that you have determined what type of flooring you have installed in your house, you can find out what is the best way to clean hardwood floors. However, you must bear in mind that hardwood floor cleaning can be a taxing and tiring job, especially when not done properly.
How to Clean Hardwood Floors:
- Surface-sealed hardwood floors: If your hardwood floor is pre-finished and has been sealed with polyurethane, acrylic or urethane, then these types of floors are the easiest to clean. They are water resistant and stain proof, so you do not have to worry about ruining them by getting them wet. A simple bucket of water filled with soap and a mop will take care of the cleaning process for you. Just sweep a wet mop across, or use robot mops the surface and you will have shiny floors! The Best Hardwood Floor Vacuums: Reviews by TheHouseWire
- Penetrating Seal Treated Hardwood Floors: These are usually found in exotic wood floors and need to be pampered a lot. These floorings are soaked in either a penetrating seal or oil finish so that the grains harden. The best way to clean hardwood floors which are penetrating seal treated is to wipe and polish with wax. The wax restores the shine and gives a clean look to the floors.
- Untreated Hardwood Floors: Untreated floors are not resistant to water like the surface sealed floors. Therefore it is imperative to keep water away from them. Water will cause discoloration on untreated floors. Polishing with wax is the best way to clean hardwood floors which are untreated.
Other methods for cleaning hardwood floors include:
Hardwood Floor Cleaning Machines: There are a number of machines available which can be used to clean wood floors. These machines use a neutral cleaner instead of water which is safe to clean almost all types of hardwood floors. Particularly if you are cleaning floors which are not properly sealed, this type of cleaners are safe to use. The machine should be moved along the direction of the grain of the wood to give it a high luster and not create streaks.
Steam Cleaning Hardwood Floors: Steam cleaning is another way to clean your wood floors and also get rid of germs that might have been dragged into the house. Especially if you have children in the house, it is best to steam clean the floors once in a while so they are bacteria free and your children can safely play on the floor. Caution should be used though when using a steam cleaner, as you do not want to use too much water and steam, as the moisture might cause damage to your floors.
To summarize, here are a few Do’s and Don’ts to follow for your hardwood floor care:
- Sweep or vacuum (with a felt brush) once a week.
- Wipe up spills right away with a dry cloth or mop.
- Place mats at all doorways to collect dirt and avoid it from spreading on the floor.
- Use a lot of rugs to keep the floor clean.
- Use furniture leg protectors under all furniture to avoid scratches.
- Protect flooring from direct sunlight.
- Keep humidity in your home low to avoid damage to hardwood floors.
- Let the water stand on the floor.
- Use shoes with metal heels or strips on the bottom.
- Use ammonia, acrylic, detergents or other abrasive cleaning agents.
- Carefully follow these instructions and select the best way to clean hardwood floors which match your flooring.
That’s all the recommendations for the care of hardwood floors. If you have carpets in your house, here the links to articles that will help you keep your carpets in good condition.