This care and cleaning guide is provided by the World Floor Covering Association.
Tiny particles, like dirt, can act like sandpaper and scratch your wood. By placing a floor mat at each entryway and encouraging family members and guests to wipe their feet, the majority of dirt and grime will remain on the mat. Also put a floor mat or rug in any area where water could be splashed — like near the kitchen sink. This will hinder any possible water damage. Note that rubber-backed or non-ventilated floor mats or rugs can damage your floor. Instead use floor mats or rugs made especially for hardwood floors and be sure to shake them out regularly.
Whistle While You Work
Along with a hardwood floor comes the responsibility of keeping it clean. The better care you take, the longer your floor will maintain its original beauty. Step one is to purchase a high quality broom so that you can sweep your floor regularly of dirt, dust and other particles. Second step is a vacuum cleaner without a beater bar, to get in between the boards and other hard to reach areas.
Deeper cleaning techniques vary depending on the installation and finish of your hardwood floor. For “Finish in Place” hardwood floors, using an 8”x14” terrycloth mop with a rotating head that makes cleaning corners, under cabinets and along base boards is recommended. Professional cleaning products recommended by your flooring retailer can be used to remove tough stains and spills without dulling the finish of your wood floor. Makers of “Pre-finished” floors recommend their own specific products for routine maintenance. Check with your retailer for details.
Do’s & Don’ts
Do use cleaners that won’t leave a film or residue.
Do use a professional hardwood floor cleaner to remove occasional scuffs and heel marks (just spray some cleaner on a cloth and rub the stained area lightly).
Do clean sticky spots with a damp towel or sponge.
Do minimize water exposure and clean spills immediately.
Don’t wax a wood floor with a urethane finish.
Don’t use ammonia cleaners or oil soaps on a wood floor — they’ll dull the finish and affect your ability to recoat later.
Don’t wet mop or use excessive water to clean your floor (wood naturally expands when it’s wet and can cause your floor to crack or splinter).
Protect Your Investment
All hardwood floors fade or change shades over time. Like our own skin, wood’s exposure to sunlight may greatly increase this process and cause permanent damage. Window treatments are recommended to shade your floors from the sun’s harsh rays. We also recommend rotating area rugs and furniture regularly, allowing wood floors to age evenly from UV exposure. To avoid permanent marks and scratches, it’s a good idea to cover furniture and table legs with flannel protectors. Be careful when moving heavy objects across your floor to avoid scuffing. Ladies — your stiletto heels may be fashionable, but what’s not in fashion (or covered by your warranty) are the dents and scratches they cause to wood floors. Likewise, trim your pet’s nails regularly and keep any and all other sharp objects away from your floors. Love your floors and your floors will love you back for a long, long time.