How to Properly care for your Hardwood Floors.

With the proper care and maintenance, hardwood floors can last a lifetime. Oftentimes, homeowners and even cleaning professionals are either unaware or misinformed how to properly care for and preserve their natural beauty. This happens when damaging floor cleaners and chemicals are used that are not appropriate for wood floors. In fact, using such products may actually void the manufacturer's warranty. Fortunately for today's consumers, caring for your wood floors requires much less effort than in the past when wax flooring was the leading choice. Regardless of the finish, style, or species, one thing remains the same - maintenance is key! A good maintenance routine that protects the finish from scratches and moisture can add years to the life of your floor. Keeping in mind various cleaning methods may differ based on finish types, generally the following basic maintenance guidelines apply to all residential and commercial wood floors and finishes.

Sweeping & Vacuuming - Starting with step one. Be sure to use a soft bristle broom, dry dust mop, or vacuum (be sure your vacuum is properly rated for hardwood floors with a soft bristle brush roll and either without wheals or with rubber wheels) *PRO TIP : Be sure to frequently clean the underside of your vacuum cleaner to remove build up of dirt and debris from scratching the surface while you are rolling it along the floors. Sweeping and vacuuming should be done routinely to remove the grit and grime that accumulates on the floor. If left unattended, dirt particles can work like an abrasive when trapped under footwear and create fine micro scratches overtime which will dull the finish coat on the floor.

Mopping - lightly mist the floor with your approved flooring cleaner (We suggest DuraSeal Floor Cleaner or Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner) working in a 4x4 ft area. Follow with a damp mop. Rinse and ring out your mop as needed to remove dirt and build up. Your mop should never be more than slightly damp. Excess water is the number one culprit when it comes to damaging the wood and finish. Similarly, steam cleaners can cause peeling, cracking and whitening and leave a cloudy finish on the floor's surface.

Avoid cleaning agents and methods utilizing vinegar, as its acidic properties can actually dull or scratch the surface of the wood; Ammonia, which can cause discoloration and deterioration to the finish; Wax and Oil-Based Detergents, not only can they damage the finish, but they also leave a sticky residue on the surface of the wood; dust sprays and polishes - These should also be avoided at all costs, as they leave a slippery coating on the surface that can cause injury

Window Coverings - Wood is a natural product and thereby affected by light. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays can cause exposed wood to fade and amber over time. Window treatments and shades can go a long way in adding protection to keep your wood's color preserved.

Area Rugs & Floor Mats - It is good practice to place area rugs at all entrances and in high-traffic areas, near sinks, and/or any other place where dirt or water may accumulate. Be wary of rubber backed mats and non-slip rug pads, as they can be unkind to the floor's finish. The pattern on the non-slip mat may actually imprint onto the floor. Rugs, mats and pads with natural backings are your best bet. Keep in mind that the use of area rugs may cause shading differences in the floor due to light exposure.

Felt pads - We recommend installing floor protector pads to the bottom of anything that will come in contact with the floor. This includes all furniture, floor lamps, large toys, etc. Never slide or drag heavy items across the floor, as wood finishes can easily scratch under pressure. Make certain to keep felt protectors clean and well maintained as dirt and debris can become embedded on the pad and act like sandpaper and damage the flooring surface. Replace often.

Additional Suggestions for further protection to your floors:

Be mindful to keep shoes in good repair. High heels in particular are a threat if they lose their protective cap and the nail is exposed. Obviously, all athletic cleats and spikes should be left at the door. If possible, a no shoe policy would be the most effective way to aid in avoiding the spread of

  • As far as pets go, make sure their nails are clipped and trimmed regularly.
  • Wipe spills immediately and pay close attention to the flooring around the dishwasher, refrigerator, house plants, or any other areas prone to spills or leaks.
  • Keep indoor temperature in-line with normal living conditions in your area, as extremes of humidity and temperature can wreak havoc on wood floors. The average recommended humidity level is approximately 45°.
  • Change your filters. Changing vacuum filters and furnace filters will help keep these appliances working at an optimal level while decreasing the presence of dust in the air.