How to clean and maintain hardwood floors

How to clean and maintain hardwood floors

What’s a big part of the “wow” factor when visitors enter a home?

The flooring.

Flooring takes up a large part of the visual space in a room. Gorgeous, shiny hardwood floors add something wonderful to your home decor. Scuffed, dirty hardwood floors don’t add that same pizzazz. When you learn how to clean and maintain your hardwood floors, you can keep that wow factor going for years to come.

How to Keep Hardwood Floors Clean

The basic premise of cleaning and maintaining wood flooring applies to most all hardwood floors. There is some species-specific (or finish-specific) care, but the following steps work for most wood floor types.

Sweep or Dust Daily

It’s amazing how much dirt and debris end up on the floor, even if you don’t wear shoes in the house. Allowing dirt to accumulate not only affects the visual look of your floor, but it can also lead to long-term damage if left unchecked. A quick daily sweep or pass with a dry dust mop will eliminate the majority of this debris.

Vacuum Weekly

For a more thorough cleaning job, consider vacuuming once a week. Remember, little pebbles or even just crumbs of dirt can scratch your floors if left there long enough.

Make sure to use the setting for wood flooring or you risk scratching the surface with the beater bar of the vacuum. Don’t like the idea of vacuuming? Task a Roomba to do it for you.

Clean Spills Immediately

As soon as something spills, wipe it up with a dry or slightly damp cloth. Though wood floors are sealed with a protective coating, you shouldn’t leave moisture sitting long. Eventually, the liquid can soak through, and potentially stain and warp your wood planks. It’s far easier to wipe it up when it happens to avoid any costly damage.

Spot Clean

When stains do appear, you can spot clean to remove them. How you clean them depends on what kind of finish the flooring has:

  • Hard finishes (urethane) will keep the stain on top of the wood. Scrub this with a soft cloth and appropriate floor cleaner.
  • Soft finishes may allow the stain to penetrate the wood. In this case, work at the areas with sandpaper or steel wool and floor wax. To lighten an area, apply a small amount of bleach or vinegar and allow it to soak in for an hour or so. Then refinish to match the rest of the floor.
For oil-based stains, you can use dish detergent to break down the grease and wipe it up with a soft cloth. Follow up with a few swipes with fine-grain sandpaper to finish.

How to Deep Clean Hardwood Floors

Perhaps about twice a year —depending on your home’s traffic— you’ll want to deep clean your wood floors.

The best way to clean hardwood floors is with a damp mop that has been thoroughly wrung out. Do not soak your wood floor or allow standing water at any time. This can cause warping and other moisture problems.

You will want to make sure to choose a floor cleaner appropriate for your flooring. Cork or bamboo floors will require something different than true hardwoods. That being said, you can use ½ cup of vinegar to a gallon of warm water to clean most floors. Vinegar is both environment and budget-friendly, but it may dull some finishes so test it in an inconspicuous area first.

Hire a Professional

If you don’t have the time to clean or refinish your floors yourself, consider hiring a professional to come it and do it for you. At Calvetta Brothers Floor Show, our hardwood floor refinishing experts treat your floor as if it were our own. We specialize in restoring scuffed, scratched, and worn wood floors to their original beauty.

We use a 4-day process to make your floors look brand new:

  • Sand
  • Buff
  • Stain
  • Seal

Minimizing Scratches

Hardwood floors are vulnerable to getting scratched. Unfortunately, this means that as much as you would like your giant Saint Bernard and your hardwood floor to get along, there will be a few casualties along the way.

A great way to hide small scratches and imperfections is to choose a style of flooring that has a grain and coloration ideal for camouflaging any flaws. You can also consider opting for rustic or recycled wood flooring. Oftentimes, these flooring types are used to achieve an aged, worn look. This textured finish makes scratches and flaws virtually impossible to find.

Choosing a Hard Wood

To rate the hardness of the wood, lumber producers use the Janka Hardness Test. This test is performed by measuring how much force (in pounds-force) is required to press a 0.444” steel ball halfway into the wood.

Exotic hardwoods from the tropics like Bolivian Cherry and Brazilian Chestnut score well over 3,000 pounds-force. Unfortunately, these woods tend to be expensive. They need to be transported from their native land. Their unique hardness also makes them harder to install.

More readily available woods like oak and red oak still rate rather high on the hardness scale yet are easier and less expensive to install. Hickory is the hardest domestic wood, and comes with an eye-catching, distinctive grain pattern.

If minimizing scratches is your priority, you will want to choose solid wood flooring over engineered wood flooring. Solid wood can be refinished multiple times to restore it to its former glory. Engineered hardwood, despite being an incredibly versatile, budget-friendly option, can only be refinished a handful of times.

Choosing a Finish

Softwoods like bamboo or birch can also take a bit of abuse with the right finish. Prefinished woods straight from the manufacturer come with the hardest finishes. Additionally, once the floor is laid, refinishing it every few years will help keep it scuff-free.

When hiding scratches, the color of the finish you choose also makes a difference. Dark wood floors with glossy finishes tend to show scratches more easily than light wood floors with a matte finish.

Finding the Perfect Hardwood Flooring

Finding your dream wood flooring is all about prioritizing the right factors for your taste and lifestyle. Here at Calvetta Brothers, we are in the business of helping you choose the perfect hardwood flooring for your home — at the right price. Whether you want wide plank flooring, engineered hardwood, solid hardwood, or even recycled wood flooring, we have gorgeous options for you.

There’s no reason you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Contact us to learn about the best hardwood flooring options for your home today!