Wood floors, properly finished, are the easiest of all floor surfaces to keep clean and new looking. Unlike carpeted or resilient floors that show age regardless of care, wood floors can be kept looking like new, year after year, with minimum care. Here are some general do's and don'ts to help keep your hardwood floor looking like new:
Enemy Number 1: Water
Regardless of its finish your floor will quickly lose its luster if exposed to water. More serious damage is also possible, including warping and other problems.
DO: Wipe up any spills immediately with a soft, dry cloth, starting at the edges of the spill and working your way toward the center.
DON'T: Let water stand on your floor, or use wet cloths for clean up.
DON'T: Do not mop sealed-and-waxed floors, not even with a slightly damp mop.
Banish Dirt, Dust and Grit
Dirt, dust and grit can also damage your hardwood floor. Tracking dirt, dust, and grit can dull its finish and cause scratches that can only be repaired by refinishing the floor.
DO: Sweep your floors regularly. Invest in a good broom that features exploded tips to trap dust and dirt, not simply spread it around. Dust mops can also be helpful in keeping dirt, dust, and grit under control.
DO: Vacuum frequently, using a canister vacuum with special hardwood floor attachments.
DON'T: Use an upright vacuum with beater bars. They can cause dents in your floor's finish.
DON'T: Use any dust treatment unless it is approved by your floor's manufacturer. The wrong treatment can make your floor dull and cause problems the next time you refinish.
DO: Use doormats at the entrances of your home to help trap dirt and grit. Clean them regularly.
DO: Use area rugs or small sections of carpet placed inside doorways and in areas like kitchens where spills are likely to occur.
DON'T: Use throw rugs with rubber or vinyl backing without checking to determine if they will affect your floor's finish. Some materials in the backing can react with certain floor finishes, discoloring or causing the finish to become dull.
DON'T: Let even damp throw or scatter rugs sit on the floor. Check the rugs frequently and make sure damp rugs are removed.
DO: Move your area carpets or throw rugs occasionally to maintain a uniform appearance in the floor's finish.
The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight can cause discoloration over time.
DO: Protect your floors by using sheer drapes, curtains, or blinds to limit sunlight.
DO: Place glides made of felt or some other fabric under the legs of furniture to prevent scratches. Clean the glides regularly to ensure that dust and grit do not become imbedded.
DO: Use barrel-type casters instead of ball casters to prevent dents.
DO: Use non-marking rubber casters instead of plastic or metal.
DO: Lift furniture when moving it to avoid scratches in the floor's surface.
DO: Make sure there are no exposed nails or metal heel supports on shoes that could scratch or dent the floor.
DO: Check shoes with soles that have deep treads to ensure that any trapped dirt or gravel won't scratch or dent the floor.
DO: Be aware that high heels can dent a hardwood floor.
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