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hardwood flooring care & maintenance

Proper hardwood cleaning is important to maintain your flooring investment. In order to enhance the look and feel of your hardwood floors, you’ll need to clean them on a regular basis. A thorough hardwood floor care and maintenance regimen not only includes routine sweeping, but also preventative methods that can help prolong the life of your hardwood floor. For example, placing mats in all doorways and area rugs in high traffic areas can help prevent unsightly hardwood floor damage. Below you’ll find tips and tricks that can show you how to properly care for your hardwood floors. Note that proper maintenance can help keep your hardwood floors looking great, as well as save you money in costly floor repairs. It is important to note that you should always use a manufacturer recommended hardwood floor cleaner.

UPDATE: Steam Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Since many avid floor consumers have contacted us in regard to steam cleaning their laminate or hardwood floors, it’s imperative that we make this announcement above the laminate and hardwood care and maintenance lists. Steam cleaning laminate and hardwood flooring is NEVER RECOMMENDED. In fact, steam cleaning hardwood floors will ultimately lead to irreparable damage. Learn more information on steam cleaning dangers in our laminate and hardwood blogs and articles.

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Prevention and Maintenance

  • To keep dust and dirt from damaging your finish, be sure to dust mop, vacuum, or sweep your hardwood floors regularly. Walking over a dirty or dusty floor will damage the finish.
  • When vacuuming your hardwood floor, avoid using a vacuum with a beater bar. Instead, use a vacuum with a brush or felt head.
  • Place mats or area rugs at all outside entrances to capture excess dust and dirt before it enters the house. Be sure to frequently shake out, vacuum, or wash any mats or area rugs. In order to let the floor cure, avoid laying down rugs or mats for the first three weeks.
  • Apply floor protector pads to the bottoms of furniture legs. Keep them clean of any dirt or grit and periodically replace them with new ones.
  • If you're installing hardwood flooring in your kitchen, place area rugs in front of the sink and stove to prevent excess wear and catch liquid splashes and spills. Vacuum and shake out the rugs when needed to keep them clean.
  • Never use a non–ventilated or rubber–backed mat on hardwood floors.
  • Consider purchasing a humidifier or dehumidifier to use in your home, especially if you live in a climate where the humidity frequently fluctuates. This will keep your hardwood floors at the appropriate moisture level to minimize cracking between the planks.
  • Clean up liquid spills immediately. Spills left sitting can leak between the boards and damage your hardwood floors, warping the wood and potentially leading to mold beneath the floor.
  • When mopping the floor, apply floor cleaner directly to the mop until lightly damp. Do not pour cleaner onto your hardwood floor. It's a good idea to use a swivel–head mop with a terry cloth cover to avoid scraping your hardwood flooring.
  • Never wax over a urethane finish, and avoid using cleaners that will leave behind a residue.
  • Always use manufacturer–recommended hardwood floor cleaners. If you use the wrong type of cleaner, you risk voiding your warranty.
  • Be aware of what type of finish your hardwood flooring has, because that will determine what you use to clean it.
  • Protect your hardwood floors from direct sunlight, as this can fade your floors over time. Frequently move rugs and furniture, and hang window treatments to limit direct sunlight exposure.

Care and Cleaning

  • Use green cleaning products that are free from toxic chemicals.
  • Hardwood floors should be cleaned with the manufacturer's recommended cleaning system. If you purchased prefinished hardwood floors, consult the flooring manufacturer's guide. If you purchased unfinished floors and finished them yourself, consult the finish manufacturer for tips. If consulting the manufacturer is not possible, be sure to use a cleaner that won't leave a residue.
  • Scuff and heel marks can be removed with a recommended hardwood floor cleaner and light rubbing with a clean cloth.
  • Do not use oil soaps or ammonia solutions, as these will dull your floor's finish and make refinishing difficult.
  • If your urethane finish starts to show wear, you can easily recoat it. Lightly sand the surface, then apply the same finish.
  • Wax finishes should never be cleaned with a water–based cleaner. Consult the finish manufacturer about what cleaner to use. Generally this will be a solvent–based cleaner.
  • If the wax finish on your hardwood floor begins to dull, clean and then buff the floor. Additional wax should only be applied in very high traffic areas to avoid over–waxing.
  • White spots resulting from water spills may be cleaned with fine steel wool and mineral spirits. Use a small amount of spirits and gently rub at the spot with the steel wool until the spot disappears. Then re–wax and buff the area on the hardwood floor.

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