The easiest way to maintain your hardwood floors and protect your investment is to stop damage before it happens. Easier said than done, right? Scrapes, scratches, stains, spills, and scuffs cause hardwood floors to lose their luster, and if not dealt with properly, these minor issues grow over time, leaving you with soft, springy floors, warped floorboards, or even mold.
Most flooring accidents are preventable with a little planning ahead, but if somebody does spill ice cream on your shiny new hardwood, you can avoid catastrophe with a few household cleaning products and a little elbow grease. Here’s our advice on how to prevent (and clean) damage and stains on your hardwood floors.
Stop Damage Before It Happens
You can stop damage to your hardwood floors before it happens by taking a few simple preventative measures:
- Identify Your Finish– Hardwood floors are finished in either polyurethane or wax and there is a huge difference. Using the wrong cleaning product for your floor’s finish can leave streaky residue or even damage the coating. So, before anything happens, we need to figure out what kind of finish we’re dealing with. To check if your floor has a wax or poly finish, drip a small amount of water on the floor. If the water beads up and runs off, your floor is coated in polyurethane. If the water starts to soak into the floorboards, they’re coated in wax.
- Regular Cleanings – Nothing stops damage before it happens like a consistent cleaning schedule. A dust mop or vacuum with a floor brush attachment is sufficient for daily or weekly cleanings. For deeper cleanings, wax floors can be mopped with a damp mop and a few drops of Murphy’s Oil Soap. For a polyurethane finish, a damp mop and Bona cleaning product once a month will do the trick.
- Install Protective Measures – When it comes to hardwood floors, most preventative maintenance is done to the furniture that sits on the floor, not the floor itself. To start, you should always place doormats inside and outside of exterior doors to keep dirt, dust, and gravel where it belongs. When dirt and rocks are tracked inside, they act like a scouring pad, stripping the finish off with each destructive step. Next, you should install rugs in high traffic areas like hallways and living rooms. Not only do they add a splash of color, floor coverings provide an important protective barrier between your feet, furniture, and the floor. Third, install floor protectors on chairs, tables, etc. so their legs don’t scratch the floor.
- Touch Ups – Accidents happen even if you sweep every day. For those unfortunate times, bring on the crayons. Seriously. If your floorboards are cracked or gouged, you can use a crayon that’s the same color as your floor for a quick DIY touch up. Simply rub the crayon over the gap, heat with a blow dryer on high, and buff smooth with a dry cloth.
If properly maintained, hardwood floors provide decades of elegant warmth compatible with any design style–past, present, or future. While they do require specialized maintenance, the actual labor involved in caring for hardwood is quite minor and the timeless appeal can’t be beat. Thinking about installing hardwood but don’t know if they’re worth the upkeep? Our friendly flooring pros are in the loop about all the latest flooring trends and are happy to help you out. Please click the button at the top of this page for a FREE consultation or give us a call at (888) SHOP-123 to find the answer to your hardwood flooring questions!