Hardwood flooring – Cleaning and maintenance

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The beauty of wooden flooring is unsurpassed and though hardwood flooring does not come cheap it can last a long time. The care and maintenance regimen followed will have a direct effect on hardwood flooring – making it last in good condition for years to come.

Shankhwalker architects featured on Prismma

Shankhwalker architects featured on Prismma

Always use a broom with a soft bristle to sweep hardwood floors; while vacuuming make sure to use the bare floor attachment or those with soft brushes; put away the beater bar. Water damages hardwood flooring – do not wash the floor or use a wet mop. The best option is to use a microfiber mop with a flat surface; dip the mop in water and ring it well so that it is just damp enough to pick up the dirt from the floor. In case water spills on the floor wipe it off immediately. For efficient cleaning it is advised to spray hardwood cleaner onto the head of the damp mop and then clean the floor with it. Rinse the mop in water frequently, wring out the water completely and then spray the cleaner again onto the surface of the mop before you proceed.

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Hard bristles of brooms and brushes will scratch the surface of hardwood flooring and so will un-padded legs/bases of heavy furniture. Never ever drag furniture across hardwood flooring; place a rug beneath the base of the furniture if you have to move them. Nails/claws of pets and footwear like stilettos also can damage hardwood flooring. Make sure that you cut the nails of your pets and file them. Placing area rugs in heavy traffic areas would help minimise damage caused to hardwood flooring. Foot-mats/small rugs at entrance to doorways would help to a certain extent; this would dislodge grime and grit from footwear being dragged in and onto your precious hardwood flooring. However, it is best to avoid rubber and vinyl mats as they trap moisture and this in turn would damage the flooring beneath it. Make sure to keep the rugs/mats clean as dirt and grit can percolate down to the floor from the mats.

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Harsh sunlight would also cause damage to hardwood flooring in the long run. Protect hardwood flooring from harsh sunlight with drapes/blinds for windows and doors that facilitate sunlight to stream in.

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Stains should be sponged off immediately and at times you may need to scrub very carefully and gently with a fine steel wool (N0.000) or nylon scrubber, especially in the case of pet stains and water marks. For pet urine stains use a bit of scouring powder and wipe with a hot damp cloth. For oil stains too you need to use a bit of detergent while srubbing. Then wipe again with a damp cloth followed by soft dry cloth. Stains caused by beverages and ink also should be srubbed off in case they do not disappear even after sponging off with a damp cloth. You may need to use mineral spirits to scrub off marks left by crayons; even a spot of toothpaste can do the trick. Blood stains or spots can be cleaned with a touch of ammonia and damp cloth followed by clean damp cloth and then wiped with dry cloth. Make sure that the cleaned floor is  completely dry, buff and refinish it. Burn marks, heel marks etc also can be removed by srubbing and then resealing; if there are pock marks on the floor you may have to use wood putty and then buff it when dry and refinish it.

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