A hardwood floor is classy, fashionable, desirable and just plain beautiful – when it is brand new. To keep that new floor shimmer, be prepared to battle against scrapes, scratches and a dulled finish.
The Enemy is Dirt
A hardwood floor’s wood may be hard, but the all-important finish is a bit softer. Dirt that’s tracked in from outside can cause scratching on your hardwood floor’s finish and scratches not only look bad but can allow dampness to reach the wood. Brooms and dust mops are great for daily dirt removal but to make sure that all dirt is picked up and out of the room, use a vacuum for a hardwood floor regularly.
The best vacuum for a hardwood floor needs a canister, preferably with special hardwood attachments. An upright vacuum, though marketed as more powerful can dent your floors finish.
Dust treatments may seem as efficient as a vacuum for a hardwood floor, but the wrong treatment can make the finish dull and even cause problems when refinishing. Know what kind of finish your floor has and find out from the manufacturer what types of treatments are recommended.
This goes for damp-mopping as well as a damp mop can pick up and remove dirt as well as a vacuum for a hardwood floor can, but water cannot be allowed to pool or remain on the floor and any cleaning solution has to be appropriate for the finish. A polyurethane finish needs a vinegar-based cleaning solution while a wax finish can be stripped by vinegar.
Once dirt and dust is removed, you may find that the floor has some scuff marks or shallow scratches. You can remove scuff marks from a waxed floor by spraying a vinegar-based cleaner and letting it soak into the scuffed area. A light wiping with extra fine steel wool (0000-grade) will remove the scuffed surface of the finish.
Sometimes just a coat of paste wax is enough for the waxed floor. Polyurethane finished floors might be cleaned with an ordinary pencil eraser and there are touchup sticks available in colors that match your floor to cover up slight scratching.
Sometimes just an area of the floor has to be refinished. You don’t have to do the entire floor if the area is small. Use the right product to remove the finish and be sure to protect the surrounding area. Then just make your repairs and reapply your finish.
Regular use of a broom, dust mop, damp mop and a vacuum for a hardwood floor will enhance its beauty and leave you to enjoy your floor for years.