Keep your hardwood floors spotless after gatherings using these recommended techniques.
A clean and well-maintained wood floor is one of the first aspects of your home that guests are bound to notice. Not only is the rich wood grain pleasing to the eye, the smooth panels are also a pleasure underfoot.
But cleaning your wood floors and keeping them in prime condition takes some know-how. Host visitors with confidence, and deftly clean up after they leave, through these simple steps that will keep your floor looking and feeling as luxurious as the day it was installed.
Get rid of dirt and grit
First off, sweep or vacuum up dirt, dust, and rough particles such as sand. Though tiny, these can have an abrasive effect, scratching your floor and causing it to look dull. This is the most basic step for timber floor care, and it’s best to do so frequently – ideally every day.
Use well-wrung mop
Next, mop your floor. The key is to ensure your mop is well-wrung, not dripping wet. Otherwise, the wood, as a natural material, will absorb the excess moisture and expand. This may eventually lead to the wood popping up in a “cupping” effect. It’s recommended to use a microfibre mop.
Speed up the drying of the floor by turning on the fan or air–conditioning for a short while. Make sure the wood is fully dry before placing back any rugs or carpets.
Clean water is sufficient for mopping; you can use warm water if you’re concerned about killing germs. However, should you want to add a floor cleaner into the mix, use one specially formulated for wood floors. Generic detergents can leave a residue on your floor. Mopping can be done once to twice a week.
Actively clean spills and remove stains
Wipe any spills on your floor as soon as they occur. Just like water, other liquids can be easily absorbed by your wood floor and stain it. Corrosive substances, such as thinner and nail polish remover, are especially dangerous as they eat away your floor’s protective coating.
To get rid of stains on wood flooring that already exist, apply timber floor cleaner on a small portion of the stain and gently rub it with a soft cloth to try removing it. In the same way, remove the rest of the stain bit by bit. If it still refuses to budge, however, contact your wood supplier or chat with us for professional assistance.
Also address water leaks promptly, so that your wood floor doesn’t drink up the extra liquid. Check under rugs and mats to make sure they’re not trapping moisture – rubber-backed anti-slip rugs are especially prone to this.
Protect your floor from heat and humidity
Check that your floor is not exposed to direct sunlight and gets ventilation. Too much heat can dry up your wood, causing it to shrink and leave gaps between the planks. With not enough ventilation, the humidity in the air can cause mould to grow on the wood.
Easy fixes are installing blinds or curtains to shade your floor from the sun, and occasionally opening your windows or turning on your air-conditioning to help disperse the moisture in the air.
Ensure rugs and furniture won’t mark the floor
Inspect the furniture – their feet should be tipped with soft protectors so they won’t scratch the floor. These protectors wear out, so you’ll need to change them regularly. The feet of furniture and undersides of rugs also preferably shouldn’t have rubber backings, as these can cause heat and friction and leave markings on the wood floor.
Oil up outdoor decking
If you’ve got wooden flooring for an area that’s outside, applying protective deck oil will help protect the wood from the sun and maintain its condition. Clean it first with a soft bristle brush and a solution made from a deck cleaning product. Then mop it and allow it to dry. Rub the deck oil into the wood using a cotton cloth along the wood grain, and immediately use another cloth to remove excess oil. Then let the floor dry for at least six hours without anyone walking on it.
Frequently made mistakes in cleaning wood floor
Avoid these common missteps in timber floor maintenance:
- Using a sopping wet mop or steam mop: As mentioned, an excessively wet mop will cause your floor to soak up excessive water. Steam mops can also introduce too much moisture and heat to your wood floor.
- Mopping multiple times a day: Again, this exposes the wood to more moisture than is recommended, and is not necessary to keep your floor clean. What’s more important is to remove the grit and fine particles that could scratch your flooring.
- Not cleaning at all: Not cleaning your floor or cleaning infrequently will lead to dirt building up on your floor. That will ultimately dull the surface of your floor and result in patchy, stained flooring – not at all what you want to see.
- Using the wrong cleaner: It’s critical to use the cleaning products formulated for indoor timber floors and outdoor timber decks according to the area, as they’re designed for different purposes. The outdoor decks in particular, will need cleaners that help them maintain their weather-resistant properties.
- Using pressure jets to clean outdoor decks: It may seem convenient, but using water jets to clean your outdoor wood flooring can strip away the coating protecting it from the elements.
All it takes is a little care when cleaning your wood floor to maintain its distinguished and luxe appearance. Follow the steps above to keep your floor in its best possible condition through the years. Should you need to buy cleaning products designed for timber flooring, you can enquire with Timplex, or visit DIY stores or larger supermarkets.