They are gorgeous, they are fantastic, they are elegant and long-lasting but they also need a good amount of routine care to keep them looking shiny and clean. This is what having a hardwood floor means.
However, keeping a hardwood floor clean requires some simple tasks, which can be easily incorporated into your daily cleaning regime. They are:
• Vacuum cleaning: A hardwood floor requires its daily dose of vacuum cleaning to keep it looking good. Since hardwood floors cannot be wet mopped, it is only the vacuuming that can keep it clean and dry. Another way to keep it clean, in case you do not have a vacuum cleaner, is to give it a dust mop every day. This can be easily done using a mop treated with a good dusting agent or with the innumerable disposable electrostatic dusting cloths available in the local markets. Done regularly, this dust mopping is more than enough to keep your hardwood floor clean.
• Keep it dry: Water and wood do not gel at all and care should be taken to ensure that hardwood floors are kept dry at all times. This means that:
o They cannot be mopped with a wet cloth and
o Drinks or other liquid spills have to be immediately cleaned.
• Annual waxing: In order to retain the shine of any hardwood floor, it is imperative to give it a wax polish at least once a year. Carried out over a period of time, this annual ritual yields results which will ensure that your hardwood floors keep looking new years on end. Today, most hardwood floors come with a coating of polyurethane and a good waxing indeed does wonders to this coating.
• Natural cleaners: Every hardwood floor needs an occasional deep cleaning. Using natural cleaners like diluted white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, olive oil or even tea for this makes for a cheaper and easily available alternative to chemical cleaners. They also ensure a safe environment for your family, including kids and especially members with allergic reactions. However, care must be taken to use these natural cleaners carefully and in very dilute proportions else it might damage the polyurethane coating leaving your hardwood floor looking listless and dull. Also after mopping the floor with these cleaners, it needs to be mopped again with a dry cloth to ensure that the floor dries quickly.
Some dos and don’ts which need to be followed to facilitate easy maintenance of hardwood floors are:
• Cover high traffic areas with rugs to protect the hardwood floor from minute scratches,
• Never move items of furniture across the floor as it might leave deep scratches which might be difficult to remove,
• Always remove your shoes and wipe your feet on a rug before entering a room with hardwood floor to ensure no moisture is carried in,
• Avoid spilling drinks onto the hardwood floor etc.
Having a hardwood floor in your home is a legacy that you pass on to your next generation. This, in itself, is worth all the trouble you have to incur in keeping it looking as good as new.