5 Clever Ways to Keep Your Hardwood Flooring Clean

Hardwood flooring is beautiful when it is brand new, and keeping it clean is the key to retaining its beauty for the decades it might spend in a home. Here are five ways to keep hardwood floors clean: 

1. Make Everyone Take Off Their Shoes at the Door 
The amount of dirt that won’t get ground into a hardwood floor if the homeowner makes everyone take off their shoes is inestimable. Homeowners may want to stock up on pairs of slipper socks for people who object to walking around the rooms in their bare feet. It is also a good idea to wipe the feet of pets that have come in from the outside especially if the outside is wet or muddy. 

2. Don’t Sweep the Floors 
Sweeping the floors with a broom is counterproductive. A broom merely moves the dirt around when it needs to be gathered up. An alternative to a bristle broom is a broom with a head that can be fitted with a terry cloth or microfiber covering. The terry cloth should be slightly dampened to grab the dirt from the floor while the microfiber will pick up the dirt on its own. Experts suggest that the floor be swept this way about two times a week, though some experts claim that the best routine is to sweep or vacuum the floor daily. If the floor is vacuumed, it should be done with the floor brush attachment. A vacuum’s beater attachment might ding the protective covering or scratch the wood. A cloth diaper pinned to a mop head is excellent for the final buffing. 

When it come to cleansers, a mop should never be sopping wet when it cleans a hardwood floor. Even if the floor is sealed, the water can seep beneath the baseboards and cause the wood to warp. Acceptable floor cleaners include everything from oil soap, a solution of one part vinegar to 10 parts tepid water or even diluted tea. Experts claim tea gives the floor an amazing shine. 

3. Use Mats or Area Rugs 
Strategically placed mats or area rugs on the hardwood floor not only protect it from dirt but from damage by people who refuse to take off their high-heels and the feet of heavy furniture. Rugs and mats are also part of the room’s decor and can be bought to complement the color and texture and grain of the wood floor itself. Runners, which are long and narrow rugs, are just the thing for a long hallway with a hardwood floor. Welcome mats both inside and out are a must. 

4. Clean Up Spills Immediately 
Spills need to be blotted up immediately before they have a chance to harden, and any crumbs or other bits of food or debris on the floor should also be cleaned up as soon as possible. Putting them off for later simply allows more dirt to accumulate on the floor and makes cleaning it that much harder. 

5. Wax the Floor 
Since most contemporary wooden floors already have a polyurethane finish, they don’t need to be waxed. However, if a homeowner installs an unfinished wooden floors they should consider waxing them. Wax is an excellent protection against dirt and water and gives the wood a lovely sheen. Floors can be waxed with either liquid wax or wax that comes in a paste. The job requires some elbow grease, especially if it’s paste wax applied by a cloth or fine grade steel wool. Liquid wax can be applied by an applicator. After the wax hardens, it will then need buffing by a rotary buffer that can be rented from a big box store. The floors should be buffed every month, and when the homeowner sees that buffing no longer revives the wood, it’s time to wax again. Whatever sort of wax is used, the homeowner should read the instructions before starting the job. 

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