Hardwood flooring is one of the most popular flooring choices for the home, and no wonder. It offers strength, durability and great looks. Plus, it tends to have a high return on investment when you start calculating resale value.
But hardwood is also an expensive flooring choice, so you want to take the best possible care of it. Plus, it tends to be more vulnerable to the wrong cleaning choices than other kinds of flooring.
Take these steps to ensure a long life and a beautiful finish:
Moisture and wood don’t mix. Water seeping into the boards, even in small amounts, can cause warping and cracks over the long term.
In most cases, the finish will protect your hardwood from incidental amounts of water, but regularly cleaning with a wet mop will stretch that protection to its limit. For this reason, clean up any spills quickly.
Steer clear of harsh chemicals such as vinegar or ammonia. Many manufacturers will recommend a specific cleaning solution, and you could void your warranty if you don’t comply. Stay away from steam cleaners as well.
Many cleaning products can dull the finish or discolor the wood. Plus, some products, even those that are advertised as safe for hardwood floors, leave a waxy residue or buildup that can be hard to eliminate.
For regular maintenance cleaning, a soft cloth or microfiber mop can pick up most messes. Many manufacturer-recommended cleaners come in spray form, which you can spray directly on the mop head.
Spray enough to make it damp but not wet, so it picks up dust but doesn’t leave residue behind. A regular vacuum can handle debris. Make sure you set it for bare floors.