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How to Clean Your Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors can make your house look exquisite and elegant. You can also make your home look classy by installing hardwood flooring. However, your work would be in vain if the floor were to become dirty. A dirty hardwood floor can appear old and lackluster rather than shiny and fine looking. Therefore, you need to know how to clean hardwood flooring. 

Preventive Maintenance

Before you think about cleaning your floor, you need to take smart preventive maintenance. In this way, you can reduce the time you spend cleaning. 

You could begin by positioning a doormat on the interior and exterior doors to prevent tracked-in dirt. A boot removal area would be a good idea in rainy or snowy weather, which can bring in moisture that could damage the wood.

Basic Care of Hardwood Flooring

Numerous techniques exist which you can use to clean your hardwood floor. Choose the most suitable one for the type of flooring that you have. Alternatively you can combine the techniques for the best results, which is recommended, if you have the time. 

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Sweeping

Sweeping is the most basic cleaning routine. You should sweep your floor as often as possible to prevent dirt build-up. In high traffic areas, such as the dining room or kitchen, you should sweep at least once or twice daily. However, you should choose a soft broom to do the cleaning. A rough broom could damage your flooring by scratching it. You could complement sweeping with vacuum cleaning.

Vacuuming

You could vacuum weekly or biweekly to remove dust, hair and other kind of dirt. The ideal vacuum cleaner for wooden floors is one in which a floor-brush is attached. A vacuum with a beater bar attachment can end up scratching the smooth finish of your floor.

Mopping

You should always be careful when cleaning hardwood flooring with a wet mop. It is advisable to simply vacuum and sweep it regularly. However, you could mop high-traffic areas once or twice a week. You can mop areas that have less traffic monthly or once a season. Water can cause wood to rot or grow mold. To avoid this happening to your wooden flooring, you should never use a soaking wet mop. Instead, use a slightly damp one.

When you dip your mop into a cleaning solution, you should ensure you remove as much moisture as you can by wringing it out. To mop effectively, you should not mop against the grain but rather along the grain. Empty any dirty water and mix some more cleaning solution. Rinse with clean water.

Polishing

This is one of the most effective methods of cleaning your hardwood flooring. First, you should remove the old wax with a stripper or by rubbing mineral spirits into the wood. You should use a soft, clean cloth to dry it off. Then, use an applicator to apply a coat of wax thinly on the surface. Let the wax dry and reapply as necessary for more protection. 

Buffing

You could rent a buffing machine if buffing with a cloth is difficult. Buffing should be done along the wood grain rather than against it. 

Deeper Cleaning

You should occasionally carry out deeper cleaning to remove residues of oil, dirt and grime that build up eventually and are not removable with a weekly dust mopping. Deep cleaning should be done using a diluted wood-cleaning product. Begin by damp mopping the floor, taking care not to leave any standing water. You should then use a clean mop dipped in clean water to rinse.

Completely dry any moisture on the surface. 

Removing Marks

To remove marks from your hardwood flooring, check whether they are on the surface or deeply penetrated. You should then wipe surface stains with a soft, clean cloth, which is not necessarily damp. Rough materials such as steel wool and sandpaper should never be used, as they can end up damaging rather than cleaning the finish. Similarly, harsh chemicals should never be used. 

The majority of modern wood flooring is sealed with polyurethane, polyacrylic or urethane. Surface-sealed floors are easiest to clean and care for because they are resistant to stain and water. You can simply clean by sweeping and mopping.

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It is important to use floor-cleaning products that the floor finisher recommends. If you are not sure which product to use, use plain soap and water. However, mopping with water alone will leave a dull look. It is also ineffective against dirt build-up. 

With these tips, you should be ready to clean your floor as a professional would. Just ensure you understand the kind of flooring you have and read labels on the products you will use for cleaning.