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How to Care for Hardwood Floors

Enjoy this DIY Hardwood Floor Care Guide!

By: Jessica Kane for GoHardwood

How to Care for Hardwood Floors

Does hardwood floor maintenance have you down? Hardwood floors are easy to keep beautiful as long as you stick to a maintenance schedule and use the right products on your floor. In this helpful guide, you will learn How to Care for Hardwood Floors. From the cleaning compounds recommended to a schedule for floor maintenance, you will find fabulous information on the proper care for hardwood floors. Caring for hardwood floors should not be stressful. Check out this handy guide and maintain your hardwood floors with ease. 

Do You Have a Wax or Polyurethane Finish?

Hardwood floors are typically finished with either a wax or polyurethane coating to protect against wear. While caring for both types of finishes is about the same, different cleaning compounds need to be used. If you have waxed wood floors, you will want to use a waxing cleaning compound that pulls dirt out of the finish while adding a new coat of wax.
 
If you aren't sure what type of coating you have, add a few drops of water to the floor. If you have a polyurethane finish, the bead of water will remain on top of the floor. With a wax coating, the water droplets will soak in after several minutes. 

Cleaning Compounds Recommended for Hardwood Floors

It's very important to put only the right types of cleaning chemicals on your wood floors to prevent damage and stains. Never use oil soap, or household cleaning chemicals with silicon, citrus, lemon, or tung oil, according to Mohawk Flooring. Chemicals and cleaning products that can scratch the floor, such as scouring powders or pads, should also be avoided. Do not use a 2-in-1 cleaner with urethane polish or acrylic or restore gloss to your floors as these products will make your floor slippery and dull.
 
If you have oil-treated or penetrating-seal-treated flooring, you will need to use a paste or liquid wax to maintain the finish. If you run your finger across the wood and it leaves a smudge, your flooring has a penetrating seal, varnish, or oil finish and wax.
 
Most hardwood flooring manufacturers recommend certain products for cleaning, but you can make your own safe cleaner with a quart of pH-neutral or mild soap like liquid dishwashing soap in a bucket or water. Murphy Oil Soap can also be used. 

Easy Cleaning Guidelines

Cleaning hardwood floors is easy as long as you use the right products. Avoid using a steam or wet mop to mop your floors as both can dull the finish and cause damage. Instead, use a mop that is only damp, not dripping. Start by dipping a clean mop into your cleaning solution and wringing it out completely. Mop in the same direction of the wood grain. Once you're done, go back with clean water to rinse the floor. 

Maintenance Coat on Wood Floors

When it's time to apply a new finish to your floors, vacuum first then strip the old wax with mineral spirits or a stripper. With mineral spirits, you will need to rub it into the wood then wipe it away with a soft cloth. Once the floor dries, apply a thin coat of wax with a cloth for paste wax or an applicator for liquid wax. Apply a second coat once the wax dries.
 
Your floor may also require occasional buffing every few years. You can do this with a cloth or a rented buffing machine, but make sure you buff in the direction of the wood grain.

Schedule for Hardwood Floor Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your hardwood floors will require sweeping daily with a soft bristle broom or dusting your floors with a clean, dry microfiber mop. Along with this daily care, your floors will also require occasional cleaning, maintenance coats, and refinishing. This schedule is recommended by the National Wood Flooring Association.

●  Sweep or dust daily
●  Vacuum with the beater bar turned off on the bare floor setting once a week
●  Clean with a wood-safe cleaning product once a month
●  Apply a maintenance coat every 3-5 years
●  Sand and refinish the floors every few decades
 

Jessica Kane is a writer for GoHardwood, a premier flooring company that sells first-rate, quality hardwood flooring products for less.
 

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So many great tips out there! My entire apartment is hardwood floors, so this will definitely come in handy )

These are some good ideas and tips for How to Care for Hardwood Floors. I have the urethane finished hardwood floors through out my whole house and keeping them looking clean isn't easy. I have a dog that leaves hair everywhere she walks. So after cleaning and drying my floors I can look back and see hair all over the place. Also I have a big problem under and around our kitchen table. The chairs have scratched the finish and I can't get the floor to look clean no matter what I have tried. Looks like I may have to redo the floor?? Any tips would be nice.. Thanks for sharing this free DIY idea.

Wow, wish I'd known all this at my last apartment... I had wood floors and they never looked that great after cleaning.

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