Hardwood floors are a beautiful and impressive part of your home, no flooring looks more inviting, warm and timeless. It is critical to maintain your hardwood floors, as with proper care they can easily last for a lifetime.
The easiest and cheapest way to maintain hardwood flooring is simply to keep it clean. Regularly cleaning hardwood floors will prevent debris from scratching the surface and doing permanent damage. When hardwood floors get too scratched up because they are not properly cleaned, they can require resurfacing, which is a time consuming, dusty, toxic fume producing and expensive endeavor.
When trying to clean hardwood floors, many people make mistakes that end up accidentally damaging the floors. In order to help you avoid the most common errors, we have created this article explaining four mistakes people make when cleaning their hardwood floors.
Too Much Water
When cleaning floors, many people reach for a mop bucket like they would for tile or linoleum flooring. While it is possible to clean hardwood with a wet mop, you need to be incredibly careful not to use too much water.
When you use too much water, it can find its way between the cracks in the floorboards and can be absorbed by the boards. When wood absorbs water, it starts to swell, and if the board swells too much it will push against the other boards and they will pop up and out of place. A popped up board looks bad and is an unsafe tripping hazard that will require a very expensive repair, if not a complete tear out and redo of the whole floor.
If you want to mop your hardwood floors, consider using a dry mop, like the ones used to clean up a hardwood basketball court. If you must use water, use as little as possible and make sure that it dries quickly, you may need to use a fan or some dry towels to assist in drying faster.
Going along with this, anytime that liquid spills onto a hardwood floor, it is important that you clean up the liquid as fast as you can to avoid water getting into the cracks. Water is really bad for a hardwood floor, so always stay vigilant.
Too Harsh Of Cleaner
You can not just use any old floor cleaner on your hardwood floors, many of them are too strong and can strip away the floor’s protective coating. Bleach is an example of a household cleaner that is too harsh for hardwood. Bleach and other strong cleaners will wear away at the polyurethane sealer that protects your floor and will leave the floor in worse shape than if you had not cleaned at all.
Be wary of floor cleaners that you find at the store, even if they say they are safe for hardwood floors. The only way to know if a wood floor cleaner is safe for your floor, is to get instruction on cleaning from the person that finished the floors or the manufacturer of the sealant used on the floors.
Different sealers have different reactions with certain floor cleaners, so you need to know that what you are putting on your floor will be safe and not damage the seal. If you do not have a way to find out what sealant was used on your floor, it is best not to use any chemicals at all.
The safest way to clean your floors could be to use small amounts of water and white vinegar just on spots that you can not clean with a dry mop or towel. Clean all of the floor you can with a dry cleaner, and then if there are still dirty sections, go back over them more thoroughly, then use a floor cleaner if you know it is safe.
Sometimes you may want to test a floor cleaner on a section that is normally hidden under a rug or furniture. That way, if it affects the floor badly, it will not be noticeable.
Not Using Hardwood Floor Setting on Vacuum
Vacuuming is a great way to clean a hardwood floor, unless you fail to put the vacuum on the hardwood floor setting. This setting will make it so the vacuum’s beater bar will not beat against the hardwood floor, potentially scratching it.
The beater bar is meant to be pretty strong so that it can literally beat the dust out of a carpet. But when it is used on a hardwood floor, it may scratch the sealant of the floor, possibly leaving the floor vulnerable to moisture or other penetrations.
To avoid this, make sure to adjust the setting on your vacuum to the hardwood or bare floor setting. Vacuuming is one of the best ways to get debris and dirt off of a hardwood floor, but you must use your machine properly to avoid damaging your floor.
Neglecting Professional Floor Cleaning Services
You are probably thinking that you can just clean your hardwood floors yourself and that will be good enough, but you are wrong. Hiring floor cleaning services will make your hardwood floors last longer while looking better the whole time. With regular floor cleaning service, you may never have to refinish your hardwood floors again.
It may seem expensive to hire hardwood floor cleaners, but if you consider how many years of life they will add to your floor, it makes a lot of sense to spend the money to have them cleaned the right way. If you need to refinish your hardwood floors, it can easily cost over $10,000 and takes more than a week where you will have to move out of your house because there will be so much dust from sanding, then toxic fumes from applying the new sealant. It is a big hassle that can be put off by having regular professional cleanings.
Just like brushing your teeth on your own is good at home maintenance, but you need a professional cleaning twice a year, your floor should get the same treatment. Professional floor cleaning services will have all the tools and knowledge to make sure your hardwood floor is taken care of the right way.
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