Hardwood floors are beautiful focal points to a home and their durability makes them stand out against other floor coverings. Another benefit of wood floors is their minimal maintenance. Cleaning hardwood flooring is relatively easy, but the wrong cleaning supplies can actually damage your floor. In today’s post, we’ll take a look at what types of cleaning agents to avoid using on your hardwood surface.
Even the toughest hardwood floor can be scratched by the wrong cleaning habits. Abrasive cleaners are designed to scratch away heavy dirt and stains on things like cooking utensils and barbeques. Yet, when they’re applied to a wood floor they can damage the finish by scratching away at the protective surface. Abrasives include natural cleaning agents like baking soda, as well as manufactured cleaning products like scrub pads and bottled cleaner and should be avoided at all times.
Vinegar and Water
Dirt accumulation in a wood floor occurs in the finish of the floor rather than in the wood itself; because of this, treating your finish kindly is the first step to a long lasting floor. Vinegar and water is a popular eco-friendly alternative to harsh household cleaners. But when this combination is applied to a wood floor, it can eat away at glossy finishes and reduce the protection they offer. If using eco-friendly cleaners in your home is a priority, try using a very damp mop or other eco-friendly floor cleaners instead.
Moisture is the enemy of hardwood flooring, but keeping your floor clean is also a priority. When it comes time to mop your floor, use a very damp mop (that has been almost completely rung out) to remove stains and dirt. If you’ve accidentally spilled a large amount of water on your floor, quickly soak it up with towels to avoid stains and wood rot.
Designed for deep-cleaning shag carpeting, steam cleaners can single-handedly ruin your hardwood floor. When used on wood, the hot steam coming from the machine is injected into the small cracks throughout your hardwood. This steam increases the floor’s suitability to rot and crack further, which will require you to replace it prematurely. The bottom line is – never use a steam cleaner on a wood floor.
Vacuums with Beater Brushes
You can vacuum your hardwood floor (in fact, it’s probably one of the easiest ways to clean it), but be wary of what type of vacuum you use. Many vacuums are designed for carpet flooring and use beater brushes to dig into carpet fibers and disrupt deep-seeded dirt. These brushes turn extremely fast, and when used on a hardwood floor they can scratch the finish and potentially damage the wood beneath. You can tell if your vacuum has a beater brush by turning it over and checking for a long-cylinder with bristles stretching from end to end.
Keeping your hardwood clean the right way will make you happier about your investment and prolong the life of your flooring. Remember to avoid using abrasive cleaners, beater brushes, and large quantities of water when cleaning your floor to prevent scratching the finish or enabling moisture and rot. If you’re thinking about updating your floor finish, take a look at this guide to picking the best finish for your home.