Hardwood floors are a gorgeous addition to any home. Whether in a living room, bedroom, dining room, or kitchen, they seem to blend in with just about any environment and really open up the room. That's why a stain on a beautiful hardwood floor is all the more frustrating.
So if you're on a mission to get rid of that pesky stain, it's important that you understand how to deal with a hardwood floor in particular so that you can indeed accomplish that mission.
First off, what is the difference between a hardwood floor and just plain wood floor? Hardwood is simply the most compact and hard wood out there. Thus, a hardwood floor has its own character and must be treated differently than other types of floor (like wood laminate or tile).
Before we talk about how to battle those inevitable stains, let's discuss how to simply maintain your hardwood floors. After all, the healthier your floor, the more equipped it will be to handle your more intensive cleaning and the longer it will live!
Fortunately, hardwood floors not only look good, growing in their rustic charm with every passing year, they are also very enduring and not at all complicated to nurture. The number one chore you should do on a daily basis is to vacuum and/or sweep the floor. You need to make sure that dirt, dust, sand and the like do not make a permanent home on your hardwood. floors. After you pick up these gritty pests with a vacuum cleaner or broom, then you can take a mop to the floor – but make sure it isn't soaking wet. You want a mop that is only mildly damp. Don't drown the hardwood!
To help keep your hardwood floors clean, invest in some rugs. Not only do they add style and elegance to your home, but they protect your floor. Especially in entry ways where people first step onto your floors from the dirty ground outside, rugs can really come in handy and take the brunt of the dirt so that your hardwood floors don't have to. Because rugs can be professionally cleaned for accumulated dust and dirt, they're great for this.
But there's no doubt that eventually someone will spill some food or liquid onto your great-looking hardwood floor. Simply take care of it right away with water and a towel. That's all you need. Only if the liquid or food or other grime has time to sit on the hardwood, should you worry – as then it can sink into the floor and be really hard to get out.
Which brings us to stains. For water and ink stains in particular, there are very precise things you can do. First, attack the spot with a commercial wood floor cleaner. Follow that up with a dose of water and vinegar. Then make sure you dry the area well. But your job's not over. In order to remove the persistent stain, rub sand paper or a steel wool brush onto the stain. Don't press too hard however; be gentle! You should see the stain gradually disappear. Once it does, rub the area clean with a rag of some sort. You may have to apply another layer of finish over the stain if you weren't successful in removing it.
Probably just as important as learning what to do with a hardwood floor stain, is learning what not to do. While there are a few “do's,” there are even more “dont's.” Basically, don't apply ammonia to a hardwood floor. If you're thinking of using a cleaning product, check the ingredients – is there ammonia in it? In general, aggressive cleaning products should be avoided at all costs. Even classic soap shouldn't be put to work on your hardwood floors. If you are too rough on the floor, it will become discolored and even age ahead of its time. You may or may not get rid of the stain, but you will most certainly have caused damage that is almost impossible to reverse on your once pretty hardwood floors.
So, the key to keeping your hardwood floors looking as good as new, is to maintain them on a daily basis and choose simple cleaners over the more complicated, store-bought kind. For those tough stains, you may have to get a wood cleaner off the shelf, but generally, water and vinegar may be all you need! Just be careful to thoroughly dry your floors after they've been mopped or rubbed down. Otherwise, you'll have some really annoying water stains to deal with.