Caring for your home takes small steps every day. When it comes to your hardwood or laminate flooring, there are a few things you can do daily and weekly to keep your floors looking and feeling great. While it’s not hard to take care of your flooring, damaging it can be easy; so, take heed!
Basic Cleaning Tips
Whether you’re working with hardwoods, laminate flooring or some other type of wood composite, the first step is understanding your flooring. If you still have your manufacturer’s guide, we suggest taking a few minutes to review the best practices outlined therein. That being said, we have a few tips that are ideal for both hardwoods and laminate floors. The watchword to keep in mind for both is that standing water is no good. Regardless of which cleaning method you employ, be sure to apply your solution carefully and with caution. Too much water means too many problems!
Sweep or dust mop to remove debris and dust before cleaning. Depending on the finish your floors have, you’ll want a special cleaning mixture or a simple water/vinegar mixture.
Wax finish vs. Polyurethane finishes
For polyurethane finishes, use ten parts water to one part vinegar mixture (10:1) in a spray bottle. Spray lightly on the floor and use a dry mop to clean. Buff dry with a microfiber towel.
For wax finished floors, lightly apply a compound for waxing/cleaning that replenishes the wax. Dry mop and buff.
Not sure of your finish? Try this simple water test— apply a few drops of water to a single area. If the water beads and stays on top, it’s polyurethane; if soaks in, wax is the likely finish.
Use the same vinegar/water solution, but apply sparingly using a spray bottle and wipe up immediately. Don’t wax. Just buff with microfiber. Laminate is easily damaged by water. You can also use rubbing alcohol or diluted dish soap for removing stains. Still, these methods should be used carefully so as not to soak the laminate.
Stain Removal & Maintenance
When it comes to soiled or stained floors, you can add a couple of drops of dish soap to your cleaning spray, but remember that saturating your floors is still to be avoided. Follow through with the same procedure for mopping and drying.
For stubborn stains like gum or melted wax, use ice and a credit card to gently remove the material.
Best practices for maintenance
For high traffic areas, we recommend area doormats, rugs and runners to minimize the wear on your wood floors. Also, keep your pet’s claws trimmed. Dogs and cats can do a number on floors! In areas where you’re not using rugs, make sure your furniture is outfitted with floor protectors. When moving large items, always use assistance to avoid scratching or dinging the hardwoods.
Use a humidifier during winter to minimize gaps—when your wood gets too dry, the planks can separate and create gaps. If your wood gets wet, you can see buckling and warping.
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