By Vincent Platania
Natural, renewable materials are again becoming popular in home dcor. Homeowners are choosing solid woods, laminates, and veneers for their cabinets, furniture, and hardwood floors because natural wood is durable and easy to care for. There is an abundant selection of wood products for home use, ranging from inexpensive pines, maples, and laminated woods to tropical hardwoods like teak, and mahogany, and exotics like mesquite. A generation raised with vinyl flooring, vinyl couches, and glass and metal tables may think the proper care of this wood it too complex a task to even risk the investment. However, they would be surprised to see how using the correct cleaning supplies makes cleaning wood floors a quick and simple chore.
The best daily care for your hardwood floor is to use a vacuum or dust mop to remove dirt and dust. In lightly traveled areas, this may be the only care the floor needs beyond a periodic waxing and buffing or careful washing with a specially formulated wood cleaner. How you clean your floor depends on whether your floor is finished with a penetrating seal or a surface seal. For either surface, follow your manufacturers recommendations on which type of cleaning supplies to use, so as to avoid damaging your floor, voiding your warrantee, or making the job of refinishing the floor difficult. Be sure to never use an ammonia based cleaner on any wood floor.
The rich, smooth shine of a well-cared for hardwood floor creates a warm, inviting atmosphere in a home. The look is elegant and expensive. But hardwood floor care is straight-forward. To keep this investment looking new for years, owners need to focus on preventive care and to invest in cleaning supplies specifically made for hardwood floors. The two worst enemies of hardwood floors are water and gritty dirt. Keeping those enemies away from the floor will maintain its smooth surface and shine. Water and other liquids should not be allowed to stand on the floor, but, rather, should be immediately mopped up with a towel. Standing water can warp the wood or cause water spots in the finish. Even moderately wet cleaning rags and mops should also be avoided. If it is necessary to wipe up a sticky area, use a barely DAMP, not wet, mop or towel, and buff the floor completely dry when you are finished. Protect the floor from accidental water spills in areas like the kitchen by using soft, easy to wash area rugs like those made of cotton in front of sinks, stoves and refrigerators. Avoid any rugs with rubber or vinyl backings, as these coatings might trap moisture on top of the wood floor.
Keep the grit and dirt outside where it belongs. Use bristled or other dirt-trapping mats at the outside entryways of your home. Inside these entry points, use soft area rugs to catch any remaining dirt and sand. Shake out, vacuum, and wash these rugs frequently. Once a week, vacuum any remaining dirt with a canister vacuum that has a brush-type floor attachment — or use a treated dust mop and dustpan Also, attach felt pads to the bottoms of furniture legs to protect the floor, and remember to pick up a piece of furniture if it is necessary to move it. Scooting furniture across the floor can scratch the floor. Be sure to keep high-heeled shoes in repair, as these heels can dent the floor if the rubber tips are worn off. Also, keep your pets nails trimmed.
Once a year, you may need to re-wax and buff your floor, or clean it with a specially formulated wood floor cleaner. Again, which treatment you use depends on the type of finish on your floor. If your floor has a surface finish (such as conversion varnish, acrylic-impregnated finishes, oil-modified polyurethane, or water-based urethane) you can use the wood floor cleaner and a slightly damp mop or towel. If your floor has a wax finish, you will need to reapply a liquid buffing or paste wax made for hardwood floors. When you are finished, rebuff the floor to a soft shine. A well-buffed and waxed floor can be touched up as needed with a floor cleaner, but you should never wax a floor that has a surface finish. With normal usage and preventive maintenance, the need for cleaning wood floors is a seasonal event.
About the Author: Author Vincent Platania represents the Fuller Brush Company.
Fuller Brush has been in business since 1906, and offers safe, environmentally friendly products for keeping your home and your body clean. Visit fuller-brush-products.com