Guests walk into the front foyer of your home or living space. They look down and take in the rich, vibrant sheen of your hardwood floors. Appreciative eyebrow raises, maybe a gasp or a compliment to follow.
Satisfying feeling, right?
As with all good things, those types of reactions to your flooring will take a bit of work, and by work, we mean cleaning.
Here are a few tips to make your hardwood worthy of envy.
Before you start any cleaning, make sure you’ve determined the finish of your flooring. There are three main types of finish. Surface-sealed floors, penetrating seal-treated/oil treated floors, and lacquered, varnished or shellacked floors. Each of these finishes will require you to treat it differently when cleaning. That being said, don’t worry too much if you don’t have the exact details behind the finish. One way of determining the flooring is to swipe a finger along the floor. If you create a smudge, the floor was treated with an oil finish or penetrating seal, or a lacquer, shellac or varnish.
As a note, surface-sealed floors do not require any sort of protective wax. All you need to do to clean this type of floor is sweep and then mop. Do remember — even though the sealing treatment is designed to make your floors water and moister resistant — that water and wood don’t mix very well. A damp mop is suggested over a soaking wet mop. Your cleaning solution should follow your floor finisher’s recommendation, or should be made of approximately a cup of mild soap or other wood cleaning product to a bucket of water.
All of the other types of finishes will require old wax to be stripped away with a paint stripper/scraper type tool, and re-waxed at least once if not twice a year. Make sure you are using a wax that is recommended by the flooring manufacturer or finisher, and do not mop them once waxed. To clean, just vacuum and sweep the surface regularly. Make sure you use a floor brush attachment if vacuuming, as the beater-bar attachment will damage the floor.
As far as how often you should be cleaning, all types of wood flooring benefit from regular sweeping. For high traffic areas, once every other day is a minimum with daily sweeping being the recommendation. Surface sealed floors should be mopped once a week, with the other finishes needing vacuuming once a week to once every two weeks depending again on how much foot traffic the floors see.
To wrap things up; although wood flooring is beautiful, it does take work to stay that way. Remember to clean according to your floor’s finish, and always follow the manufacturer or finisher’s recommendations as far as cleaning products or waxes. As always, for any cleaning that you just don’t have the time or energy for, we recommend using one of the GTA’s many home cleaning services, including Maidstr! We have extensive experience in bringing to shine dull hardwood floors.