How to Clean
grit and dirt are the hardwood floor’s worst adversary.
They act just like sandpaper each time you step on it.
The best advice for wood floor owners is: remember that
when you are cleaning your hardwood floor, you are
cleaning the finish – not the wood. With that in mind,
is the cleaner you are going to use appropriate to the
type of finish you have on your floor? Learning about
your floor’s finish is essential to proper care.
and Maintaining Wood Floors
Maintaining your hardwood floors requires several
things. Sweeping, vacuuming, dust mopping and stain
removing are just the start. Maintaining your floors
will require occasionally refinishing as well. Knowing
about your floors will help you decide when and how to
proceed with care and maintenance.
all-important floor finish- One thing you need to find
out before deciding on how to clean your wood floors is
what type of finish your floors have. Surface finishes
can be polyurethane (the most common), pre finished
floors, water based polyurethane (second most common),
and catalyzed. Penetrating seals can be acrylics, oils
or waxes. Most seals have either a matte or satin finish
and most surface finishes have a shiny finish.
can feel the grain of the wood then you most likely have
a penetrating seal instead of a surface finish. Oils and
waxes penetrate the wood and protect it from the inside
out. Surface finishes cover the wood with a clear finish
that keeps anything from damaging the wood. Please not
that ammonia is especially bad of oils and waxes.
will cause it to weaken, soften and turn white. White
vinegar, on the other hand, will not do any damage.
when cleaning your wood floors that you are cleaning the
finish and not the actual wood so knowing about your
finish is important. Because the finish is so important,
some manufacturers will not guarantee their product if
you use anything but their cleaners. If your floor is
still under warrantee, be sure you read the manual
before putting any cleaners on the floor.
to determining the condition of your wood floor is to
put about 2 tablespoons of warm water on the most warn
part of your floor. If that water soaks in and turns a
dark color, your floors are in need of refinishing. If
your floors soak up the water but leave a lighter spot,
you probably need to begin considering refinishing. The
third option, the water doesn’t soak in and just beads
on the top, means you are in good shape and should just
do regular cleaning
Avoid Damaging Hardwood Floors
sunlight will damage, discolor and possibly even warp
your natural hardwood floors. Add sheer curtains if
necessary. Pull closed the curtains during the day or
when you will be gone for long periods of time.
lift the furniture when moving it to avoid scratching or
damaging the floor or the floor’s finish. Brooms that
have ends that fray out are better because then ends act
as a polisher and also pick up the smallest bits of
oils soaps aren’t a good idea for a couple of reasons.
First, they are sticky when dry and therefore attract
more dirt than repel. Oil soaps also leave a residue
that creates problems when it comes time for heavier
cleanings or refinishing. In addition, oil soaps are
generally for cleaning wood. With wood floors, you are
cleaning the finish not the wood.
sand and grit are the primary enemies of hardwood
floors. Those common household ingredients—especially if
you have kids around, act as a deadly sandpaper on that
lovely caramel colored finished that you worked so hard
to pick out. Sweeping, vacuuming and dust mopping are
essential to maintaining your floors in great shape.
sweeping, vacuuming and dust mopping in active
households wouldn’t be too often. Brooms with ends that
have frayed tips are the best for picking up bits of
sand and dirt on the floor. Dust mopping is effective as
well. If you use a spray on the mop head, it is
advisable to spray the mop head the night before for
Wood Floor Finish
two types of finishes: surface finishes and penetrating
seals. Determining the type of seal will help you
determine how to maintain your floors. Surface finishes
include polyurethane (the most common), water based
polyurethane (second most common), pre-finished floors,
and catalyzed. Penetrating seals includes oil finishes,
acrylics and waxes.
finishes are usually shiny finishes and penetrating
seals are generally satin or matte.
hardwood floors are made of either oak or maple for
their color and quality. Ash, beech, cherry, hickory and
walnut are also commonly used.
ever use ammonia on either of these finishes! Ammonia
will weaken, soften and whiten the finishes on wood
floors. Bleach is another chemical you will want to
avoid putting on your wood floor.
Floor Stain Removal
staining can be repaired by using the following
the stained area one to two layers of finish off of
the board. It would be better to sand the entire board
for a better finish.
the dust from the area to keep it from mixing into the
Reapply the same finish lightly twice. Do not over
apply or you will build up more than you have removed.
this doesn’t take care of the stain, the entire board
will need to be refinished or replaced.