Floor maintenance tips from Hardwood Floor Masters
- Use a solution of 1 cup distilled white vinegar to 1 gallon of distilled water.
- Always vacuum or sweep the floor to remove all traces of dust or abrasive residues before cleaning.
- Spray lightly some solution on a section of the floor or directly on a terry cloth mop or rag.
- Wipe the floor with the mop or rag, lengthwise on the floor strips with a back-and-forth motion. Finish one section before starting another one.
- Do not use too much cleaning solution. An excess of liquid might filter between the strips and damage the wood fibers.
- Stubborn spots such as heel marks or sticky stains can be removed by scrubbing the area with a sponge or a damp cloth sprayed with the solution.
- Regularly sweep or vacuum the floor to prevent sand or abrasive dust from accumulating and scratching the finish.
- Place doormats outside and rugs inside at every entrance of the house. This helps to prevent sand or abrasive dust from accumulating on the floor.
- Sand and water are your hardwood floor’s worst enemies.
- Avoid interior rugs that are tightly woven or that have a rubber underside. They prevent proper air circulation.
- Place a rug in front on the kitchen sink and the dishwasher to protect the floor from dropped kitchen accessories and from water and oily detergent spills.
- Use adequate floor protection (felt pads) under all furniture and chair legs in order to ease their movements and to prevent scratching the floor.
- Make sure to use specially designed commercial protectors. Keep them clean and in perfect condition.
- Use protectors under all narrow casters or replace them with wider rubber casters.
- Avoid plastic casters.
- Protect the floor when moving heavy pieces of furniture. Carry them or place them on a thick rug, wrong side up, and then slide the rug.
- Refrigerators should never be moved without adequate floor protection.
- The relative humidity level in your home must be maintained at 45% (i.e. 40-50%) throughout the year.Hardwood is a living substance which reacts to changes of relative humidity. It absorbs or releases humidity according to seasons. Consequently, it’s dimension changes.
In the Summer, when humidity is at it;s highest, it is absorbed by the wood which then expands. This causes the strips of wood to push against one another. The floor is cupped or ‘cupping’. These variations can be minimized with proper ventilation, dehumidifying or heating.
In Winter, on the other hand, when the heating system is on, the relative humidity level is the house is much lower. The wood releases it’s humidity and consequently contracts or shrinks. Small gaps start appearing between the wood strips. It is then recommended to use a humidifier, in order to minimize extreme shrinkage effects.
- Wood burning stoves and electric heating systems have a tendency of creating an extremely dry environment.
- Protect your floor from all sources of water. Wood expands when it absorbs water and contracts when drying. All spills must be quickly wiped dry in order to prevent stains and damage to the finish of the wood.
- Wood and water don’t go well together.
- Keep ‘high heel’ shoes in good condition. Damaged or worn high heels may expose a metal tip which will certainly damage your hardwood floor. Furthermore, this type of exposed metal tip will damage any other type of flooring like linoleum or even concentrate.Some types of spot shoes may also damage the surface of your floor. To a certain extent, marks and bumps become with time part of the wood floor’s history, as with antique furniture.
- High heels, second only to water, are one of the worst enemies of hardwood floors and floor coverings.
- Keep your pet’s nails well groomed in order to prevent scratching the surface of the floor.
- The usage of a low gloss level finish, type ‘Satin’, will minimize the appearance of wear in high traffic areas and scratches made by domestic animals or high heel shoes.
- Protect your wood floor against direct sunlight or any intense source of artificial lighting as much as possible. Over time, intense light will discolor exposed surfaces. This phenomenon with wood surfaces is normal and natural. To minimize the contrast created by the absence of light under carpets and furniture as compared with the rest of the floor, we recommend that carpets and furniture be moved about from time to time, and that sources of intense light be reduced.
Cleaning Tips and Practical Advice
Elements of prevention identified earlier are important to preserve the beauty and prolong the life of your hardwood floor, but accidents do happen. C’ est la vie!
Here are some tips:
- Food, soft drinks, alcohol, etc…
- Clean spills immediately. Using a damp (not wet) cloth or sponge, wipe as much liquid as possible before it dries and becomes sticky. Spray some vinegar and water cleaner on the spot and wipe clean.
- Dark or hard to remove stains…
- Spray some vinegar and water floor cleaner on a damp cloth and wipe the stain.
- For harder to remove stains, pour some white vinegar directly on the stain, leaving it on for 2-3 minutes. Scrub well and wipe clean.
- For really stubborn stains, pour some mineral spirits or lighter fluid on a rag and wipe clean.
- Makes caused by shoes, rubber casters, asphalt, etc…
- Spray some white vinegar and water floor cleaner on a cloth and wipe dirty spot.
- Stains from grease, oil, lipstick, coloring pencils, etc…
- Apply a plastic bag filled with ice cubes on to of the deposit until it hardens and becomes brittle enough to wipe clean.
- Chewing gum, candle wax crayons, etc…
- Apply a plastic bag filled with ice cubes on to of the deposit until it hardens and becomes brittle enough to crumble. Spray some vinegar and water cleaner on a cloth and wipe clean.
- Ink stains….
- Apply some mineral spirits or lighter fluid on a cloth and wipe clean.
- Deep scratches, dents, bumps on the surface
- Natural appearance of the wood caused by years of use or abusive treatment
- Consult our hardwood floor specialists and have your floor sanded and recoated if necessary.
Things to avoid
Thanks to high quality products and modern technology, your hardwood floor can be cleaned effortlessly. However, certain things are to be avoided in order to keep your floor beautiful, easy to clean and long lasting.
- Try to avoid pouring vinegar and water cleaner or any other cleaner directly on the floor.
- Never leave any liquid stand on the floor.
- Avoid dripping mops which can leave extra water on the floor. Some manufacturers recommend cleaning hardwood floors with a mop rinsed in a water and vinegar solution. This is acceptable as long as the mop is squeezed dry beforehand.
- Never use wax, oil-based detergents or any other household cleaners. These may dull or damage the finish, leaving a greasy film.