Hardwood flooring in room with exposed brick walls

Hardwood flooring is incredibly popular with homeowners in America and it’s easy to see why – there’s a lot to love. They’re very easy on the eye and a great deal easier to keep clean compared to carpet, especially if you have one or more four-legged friends roaming around your home. But in order to maintain their beauty, they have to be treated right. And based on our experience, there are lots of folks that don’t quite understand what that involves. So we’re going to give you a few pointers.

Here’s What You Do Want to Do to Maintain Hardwood Floors

Here are some simple tips and tricks to help you keep your hardwood floors looking their best.

Sweep Them Often

One of the main causes of superficial surface damage to hardwood floors is grit and other abrasive debris that falls onto the floor and is then rubbed against the surface as you walk over it. This can cause ugly-looking scratches that are expensive to put right. To combat this problem, you need to sweep often, as this will remove these abrasive materials before any harm can be done.

Choose Cleaning Tools Wisely

Tougher, harsher tools can cause damage to the surface of a hardwood floor, similar to that in the situation we just discussed above. That’s why we recommend that if you are cleaning hardwood floors in your Boulder or Westminster home, you choose soft cleaning tools to do the job. Something like a Swiffer works well, although they do have a tendency to leave the floor a little on the wet side, but this can be remedied using a towel to quickly dry it off.

Limit Those UV Rays

You don’t want to leave your hardwood floors exposed to hours and hours of intense, direct sunlight as this has the effect of bleaching the floor’s color. There are numerous things you can do to combat this. Installing drapes and window blinds is the most common step taken, but you could also look into things such as solar window films, which filter out harmful UV rays, without blocking your view of the outside of your home.

Make Sure Cleaning Products are Suitable for Hardwood Floor Cleaning

Just like when you’re carpet cleaning, you need to make sure that the products you’re using are suitable for the type of hardwood surface that you’re cleaning. These products can be picked up at most big box stores, and if you’re really worried about this kind of stuff, even more reason to work with a professional who has years of experience in cleaning hardwood floors and will instantly recognize the best product to use on your particular floor.

Here’s What You Don’t Want to Do When Cleaning Your Hardwood Floor

Now we’re going to take a look at bad practices that can have a negative impact on hardwood floors, damaging their condition, giving you a lot more to worry about than just cleaning them!

Don’t Let Water Sit on Hardwood Floors

This is the reason we don’t recommend you use a wet mop to clean hardwood floors. There’s just too much water involved. And when that moisture is allowed to sit on top of your floor for any length of time (and I’m only talking about longer than a minute or two here), it can have some pretty devastating consequences.

Water will start to damage the wood's finish and eventually penetrate the wood's surface. When this happens on a repeated basis, you'll likely end up with warped floors. Not a good look.

And Definitely Don’t Use Hot Water

This follows on from the last point. Cleaning hardwood floors with hot water is even worse. Heat is much more harmful to the wood’s finish and the moisture will penetrate it quicker. The bottom line is this: if you use water to clean a hardwood floor, you need to use very little and it needs to be cold. Otherwise, you’re asking for trouble.

Never, Ever Use Steel Wool

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, right? Well, that doesn't exactly apply when you’re talking about hardwood floors. They are beautiful, but that beauty is quite delicate and needs to be protected. If you encounter a tough stain that won’t seem to budge, one thing you don’t want to do is reach for the steel wool.

Abrasive cleaning materials such as steel wool will scratch the surface of your hardwood floors, and then you’ll have bigger problems to worry about.

Contrary to Common Advice Online Don’t Use Vinegar or Ammonia

We’ve all done it before. I’m talking about relying on the internet to provide us with the answer to our cleaning woes. Whether it’s carpet cleaning advice or suggestions on how you can free your oven from the baked-on grease that has taken over its interior. One thing you come across a lot when researching household cleaning hacks online is to use vinegar or ammonia as a cheaper alternative to store-bought solutions.

“They work great” they say. And in certain scenarios they’re right. But not in the context of hardwood floors, which as I’ve already said, are quite sensitive. Both of these “homemade” cleaning solutions are quite abrasive and harsh, and are known to damage hardwood floors. So stay away!

Need Help Cleaning Your Floors in Boulder or Westminster? Give Us a Call

Whether it’s carpet cleaning or hardwood floor cleaning, the pros at Steve’s Carpet Care are here to help. We have over 40 years of experience making sure floors look their best, and have hundreds of satisfied customers that can testify to the high standards of our work.

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