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Spring Cleaning: How to Clean Hardwood Floors

Few things dress up a home more than sunlight falling on freshly cleaned hardwood floors. Some homeowners may be reluctant to clean them thoroughly though, being concerned about the possibility of damaging their wood floors in the process. However, taking care of hardwood flooring is not at all difficult once you get a few basic techniques down as well as gain a solid understanding of what works on wood and what doesn’t. Following are several things that you should know about cleaning a hardwood floor.

Dust First

To clean hardwood floors, the first step is to dust the surface thoroughly with a dust mop that has been sprayed with a commercial product formulated for the removal of dust. Don’t use a product not labeled for use on the floor, as many wood cleaners contain waxes that can cause a wood floor to become very slippery and unsafe if you wear socks while walking on it.

Electrostatic cloths are another option for basic dust removal on hardwood flooring. This will get rid of the first layer of dust on the floor, and if you do it on a weekly basis, you’ll never have to deal with a floor that has gotten overly dirty. However, you may want to perform this chore more often than once a week if you have shedding pets or active children in your home.

Deep Cleaning

Depending on the size of your household and how much traffic your hardwood flooring gets, you should deep clean hardwood floors at least twice a year using a product specifically formulated for cleaning hardwood floors. Good times to do this include the end of winter and just before the holiday season. If you are one who does a thorough spring cleaning each year, make sure you deep clean hardwood floors last.

When deep cleaning hardwood floors you should keep in mind that standing water can easily mar and even ruin wood surfaces. You can use a device such as a SMOP or a Swiffer, but be sure to use as little fluid as possible, always using a spray mist not a stream of water. If you live in an area that experiences a high degree of atmospheric humidity, run your heater, AC, or ceiling fan, depending on your current outdoor temperatures, to help speed up the drying time.

In-Between Cleanings

Always keep in mind that liquids of any kind should be removed as soon as possible if they happen to fall onto your hardwood floor. Liquids can cause stains and uneven coloring in wood floors, and are difficult to remove. If you have scuff marks or even cosmetic scratches in your wood floor, you can purchase repair pencils in the paint department of most hardware stores.

Whether you are doing a light cleaning, a deep cleaning or just trying to prevent/repair damage to your wood floors, there are different techniques you should be cognizant of. With some care, hardwood floors can last for decades.

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