Regular maintenance and care are essential for keeping your timber floors looking great for years to come and can make beautiful scenery in your house. Timber floors are such a beautiful addition to any home. When properly maintained, wood floors develop a coveted patina that contributes to the warmth and character of a space. However, without regular care, timber floors are susceptible to scratching, wearing, drying out, and losing their luster. Implementing a simple cleaning routine is key to preserving your investment in real wood floors. Read on for tips on keeping them looking fresh and avoiding damage.
Go Barefoot or Wear the Right Shoes
One of the easiest ways to reduce wear and tear on your timber floors is to ditch the shoes when indoors. Going barefoot or sporting only socks inside eliminates abrasive dirt and debris from being tracked in. If you must wear shoes inside, be sure they have soft, non-marking rubber soles. In particular, high heels and cleats can damage wood flooring. Providing shoe storage near entryways reminds residents and guests to remove footwear. Place doormats inside and out to catch more dust and moisture before it’s tracked throughout the home.
Sweep, Dust Mop, and Vacuum Regularly
Developing household habits that prevent dirt from building up will cut down on the need for deeper cleaning. Sweeping or dust mopping at least once per week lifts surface dust and grit that might otherwise scratch the floor’s protective finish. Make sure brooms and mops for wood floors have soft materials that won’t mar the surface. Brushes with angled bristles easily collect dust and debris from between floorboards.
While vacuuming may seem redundant, it lifts what sweeping misses. High-quality vacuums with special bare floor attachments are ideal. Turn off rolling brush bars to prevent marking; instead, allow suction to lift fine particles. Handheld vacuums easily reach into corners and crevices as well. Remember to frequently empty canisters so particles won’t fly back out later.
Address Spills, Splashes, and Sticky Messes Quickly
Life happens. Spills and splatters are inevitable, especially in family abodes. However, moisture exposure breaks down wood fibers and finishes over time. When something wet hits the floor, soak up excess liquid immediately then thoroughly but gently clean the area. For water and clear fluids, spray a light mist of cleaner and wipe gently with a soft cloth. Vinegar and water work great for this.
Grease splatters require a bit more elbow grease. Dish soap mixed with warm water can cut through the oil. Apply a small amount directly on the stain and allow it to soak for a few minutes. Scrub gently with a sponge or scrub brush before wiping away the residue. Avoid abrasive scouring pads or powders that may leave scratches.
For sticky substances like juice, tree sap, or candy, try heating them with a hairdryer and then peeling them off gently. Avoid harsh solvents or citrus cleaners that can damage some wood floor coatings. If needed, dab a few mineral spirits on a cloth then wipe carefully.
Clean Thoroughly But Gently
About once per month, wood floors deserve a deeper refreshing than just dust removal. However, harsh chemicals can degrade flooring finish or strip oils from the wood itself. Invest in cleaners specifically made for sealed hardwood. Popular ingredients like vinegar, tea tree oil, and coconut oil lift dirt without leaving a chemical residue.
Fill or mist a spray bottle with the cleaner and funnel any suds toward the nearest door or exit with a broom. Avoid excessive standing moisture. Buff dry any cleaner remaining after 5-10 minutes. This lifts embedded dust and brightens the shine.
Every 3-6 months consider a light re-oiling, especially on higher traffic areas that see the most wear. Use a soft cloth to gently apply the recommended oil or wax blend. Let it penetrate the floorboards anywhere from 15 minutes up to overnight. Buff away any visible excess for a refreshed surface.
Professional Deep Cleaning
Sometimes DIY refreshing fails to resuscitate a grimy floor with engrained residue or blemishes. Rather than immediately jumping to sanding or refinishing, have professionals deep clean using gentle methods first. Reputable services assess the floor’s current condition before determining the best process. Common techniques include:
Low-moisture spray cleaning
This pressurized mist penetrates and then lifts dirt from the grain. Suction removes particles without leaving excess moisture.
Soft buffing pads agitate cleaner deeply into floor crevices under specialized equipment. This lifts stains and restores luster too embedded for home methods.
Professionals scrub floors thoroughly with nylon brush bristles mounted in automatic scrubbers. Vacuums instantly remove the resulting suds leaving floors clean and only slightly damp.
Avoid saturating hardwood flooring which can warp planks and encourage mold or rot. Trust technicians to know the appropriate amount of moisture and scrubbing power needed per flooring type and condition. They may also apply new protective finishes or offer stain blending to mask damaged areas.
By implementing careful habits and cleaning techniques, your timber floors can maintain their enduring beauty and last for decades. Remember to sweep and vacuum weekly, promptly address spills and messes, clean gently monthly, and call for professional help when needed. Consistent care preserves wood flooring as an invaluable asset and design element enriching your home. Make timber’s unique warmth and character a treasured signature of your household.