Cleaning Options For Wooden Surface
In some of my blog posts about interior design, you will have seen that I have an apparent love of the hardwood floor. To me, no other option offers the same sense of style and comfort as a perfectly laid, wooden surface with a beautiful grain. Admittedly, it is easy to get caught up in romantic notions of those timeless, beautiful options and to forget about the practical aspects.
A hardwood floor doesn’t require the same amount of vigorous vacuuming as a thick carpet, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need to be cleaned and kept looking good. So how should we go about cleaning them? In this guide, I will take you through some of the best tips I know that are sure to keep your floors looking their best.
Cleaning Options For Hardwood Floors
There are three key cleaning processes that immediately come to mind when cleaning hard surface floors – sweeping, vacuuming and mopping.
Regular sweeping with a broom is a must for reducing the amount of debris that is lying around and any dry dirt. Go for a softer, synthetic option to reduce wear and tear.
Vacuuming is a simple option for getting rid of dirt and hair in an efficient manner, but you have to be careful which model you choose. Check out my other post on the best types for more information.
Mopping is where the cleaning can get a little trickier. It may seem like a good idea to get a bucket full of warm soapy water and scrub away at the dirt and stains for the perfect clean, but you could end up doing more harm than good. Too much water, especially standing water, can be a big problem.
So How Do We Figure Out What To Use For Mopping?
Some advocate damp mopping, a damp cloth with a little dishwashing soap for a gentle, clean, but be aware that this can be time-consuming and murder on the knees.I guess that this is the price we have to pay to maintain our beautiful floors. Another interesting approach is to mist the floor with a solution from a spray bottle – minimizing the amount of moisture on the floor and to working it into the wood with a dry microfiber mop or cloth.
Cleaning hardwood floors is clearly not simple, and it pays to know precisely what sort of floor you have before you start.
The trick to knowing how best to clean and mop your hardwood floor is to understand precisely what it has been made of and how it has been treated. This protective coating is designed to prevent spills and water from damaging the wood, but not all floors are treated the same way, and some cleaning actions can damage the coating, making it more likely that the wood beneath will be affected.
Many modern hardwood floors will have been treated with a polyurethane finish to create that barrier. Older floors may have a varnish or wax coating that penetrates the wood differently. Don’t simply guess that you have one from other the other – carry out a few simple tests to not only determine which barrier is in place on your floor but how much protection it is offering.
Check to see if you can feel grain. If you can, that means that there is most likely a waxy, penetrating finish. Another test, one best carried out in an inconspicuous spot, involves a few drops of water. If they remain on the surface with no effect, you have an effective seal. If the drops remain but leave a mark, you have a working wax coating. If, however, they sink into the wood, the protection is no longer in place. Another test for modern sealants involves paint thinner. This will result in the surface bubbling due to the reaction, but this may not be ideal for pristine about new floors.
Match The Right Product To The Wood Finish
Try and find the safest, most suitable product for your floor type and always avoid floor cleaners for other materials like tiles and laminates. If you find that you have an older floor with a wax coat or a reduced surface protection – avoid using water or liquid solution that may damage it further. It also pays to be careful on painted hard floors too.
You might think that the paint offers an extra protective layer, but it is easy to chip the paint off with rough treatment, and wet mopping should again be avoided. Engineered wooden floors are another issue that you may need to deal with as this means a different type of construction and protection. This tough veneer is highly durable and easier to clean, and this means that regular use of a broom, vacuum, and a damp mop should be okay.
Daily Preventative Maintenance Is Best
Keeping a kitchen floor spotless can be tricky if you have a dog like a sure clumsy-footed, puddle-loving Labrador I happen to know, but you can reduce the amount of dirt walked in by remembering to leave shoes in the hall.
The amount of pressure we put on the floor can also make a difference when avoiding damage. Ever consider what your tiny stiletto heels are doing to the protective layer of the wood? Neither had I and now I make sure not to wear them too much around the house.
Do Your Research and Take Your Time
There is clearly a lot to think about when deciding how best to clean your hardwood floor. I know that I was surprised to learn about all the different styles of protections and cleaning tips.
It may sound as though there are a lot more harsh warnings than helpful tips out there at times, but it is important to be aware of the risks because the last thing that we want to do is wreck the pride and joy of our room.
Take the time to understand the materials and coating of your floor with the appropriate tests, invest in the best tools and cleaning solutions for the job and be prepared to get on your hands and knees to get the best finish. Caring for a hardwood floor takes some effort, but their beauty is worth it.