Life happens on top of our floors. All the spilled milk, broken glass, shifting furniture, and doggy piles tend to end up down there. So while we’re practicing our TikTok dances and training our new quarantine buddy, Rufus, our floors are taking on the day each and every day. For homes with hardwood flooring, cleaning can look a little different than with carpet or vinyl. This week we are going to share some tips and tricks on how to keep your hardwood floors strong and shining through everything you and your family can throw at it.
You don’t need to be sweeping or mopping your hardwood every single day. In fact, we recommend that you don’t! Instead, lean into these good habits:
- Clean up spills as soon as they happen. Even an unattended ice cube left to sit can slip in between the slats and do damage.
- Use carpets or rugs in areas with the most potential for debris. For example, if your front entrance is hardwood, put down a rug where people can step directly onto and take off their shoes. It will also ensure that the outside elements don’t get routinely dragged across the floor.
- Use floor protectors under furniture. Not only does this protect from scuffs, but will reduce the chances of an indentation in the wood forming over time.
- What You’ll Need: A cleaning tool such as a soft-bristled angled broom, microfibre dust mop, or vacuum with soft bristles. If using a vacuum, make sure it will not damage your floors. In most cases, that means taking off the beater bar attachment.
Once you have your chosen tool, get to work sweeping or vacuuming that dust and debris away. When sweeping, always go with the grain so you don’t end up shoving down debris in between the wooden slats. If your floors see a lot of traffic, it may be best to double up on methods. For example, give the room a good sweep and then come in with the vacuum afterwards to clean up any remaining dog hair, dirt, or other debris.
- What You’ll Need: A trusted liquid floor cleaner. Different hardwood finishes will require different care. Using DIY cleaners like vinegar and baking soda can actually strip the finishing on some floors. Instead, check with the manufacturer or installer for specific cleaners. If you can’t reach out to those sources, make sure to use a cleaner designed for hardwood floors. Vinyl and lino cleaners won’t be as effective and may end up causing damage.
Before you get on your hands and knees and start scrubbing, grab the broom or vacuum that you use for your regular clean and give the floors a good once-over. If debris is left on the ground and you skip to the next step, you are just going to drag it around instead of really cleaning. When your floors have been thoroughly swept, saturate a mop or rag in the cleaning solution. Wring it out until it is damp but not soaking wet. Mop the floor with the cleaner. Rinse mop with clean water, wringing it out as before, then go over the floor again to soak up all the cleaner. Wipe up excess water on the floor with a clean, dry towel.
If you’ve followed all these tips and your floors are still looking dull, scratched, or stained, they may need to be refinished. After several years and the included wear and tear, cleaning will be less and less effective. This is a perfectly normal progression over time. Simply call the experts at Smith Bros to have your floors refinished and looking like new again!