It's a pretty common desire to have hardwood floors be the pathway for you and your guests in your home. They are beautiful, go with every kind of furniture and decorating scheme, and even seem to get better looking with age. And on top of that, they are easier to clean and maintain than carpet and tile floors!
That's right, if you want to have a floor that's as gorgeous as it is low-maintenance, then hardwood floors are the way to go. But only if you are dutiful about taking care of them. This means that if you neglect your hardwood floor, you could pay big consequences later – as it will age prematurely and you'll have to refinish it.
So how do you clean hardwood floors exactly? Is it really as simple as people say?
In order to keep your hardwood floors looking spotless and fresh, you have to clean them daily. This means that you vacuum or sweep them. Dirt, sand, dust, and grit should never have a chance to settle into the hardwood floor, as they are harmful and can weaken the floor over time. This is why you want to keep all of that dirt, even if it is practically invisible, off the floor.
Once you've cleared the floor, you can then take a mop to it. But be careful. One mistake that people often make is to douse their hardwood floors with too much water. Make sure the mop you use is only somewhat damp, not soaking wet. Just add a little water, not a lot, to your floors to clean it.
There are some easy things you can do to help keep your hardwood floors in good shape. One of those things is to buy some area rugs to protect your floor in different spots where there might be high traffic. For example, at the entry way of a door, or the middle of a room, you can place a rug down so that your hardwood floor can be saved from some serious wear and tear. Rugs are also a great way to dress up your home and even though hardwood floors are pretty, they can also look bland if there aren't a few rugs here and there to jazz things up.
Cleaning your hardwood floors routinely should prevent many problems down the road. This is because a clean hardwood floor is less vulnerable to deterioration and as well, stains and dirt buildups won't collect over time and thus become difficult to remove later.
However, you will inevitably have to confront more than just everyday dirt and grime. From red wine, to mud, to coffee, to urine, to lemonade, to blood, your floor will face all kinds of stains! The key is to attack these stains as soon as they arise. The longer you wait to remove them, the more difficult a time you will have.
So here are some tips on washing your hardwood floors free of stains. There are many wood cleaners that you can buy at your local store. These are ideal for cleaning up stains. By combining the cleaner with water and gently rubbing the stain (steel scrubbers and sand paper come in handy here), you can say goodbye to those pesky stains. However, don't rub too hard, as you will only succeed in rubbing the stain further into the floor!
However, above all, do not use ammonia to clean your hardwood floors. Ammonia is one of those miracle cleaners for many materials, but it will only hurt your hardwood floor. Ammonia can discolor and take away a few years from your floor's life. So when you do have a cleaning product around that you'd like to use on your floor, check the ingredients and if there is ammonia included, do not use it! Vinegar, on the other hand, can be useful. In that sense, hardwood floors really won't cost you a lot as you can often fight tough stains with simply water and vinegar.
Just make sure that you let water dry thoroughly on your hardwood, because if it doesn't, it can and will leave an ugly stain that will be very difficult to remove.
In general, as a rule, only use the most mild cleaning products and never use soaps on your hardwood floors. When in doubt, don't use any commercial cleaning products, unless they are designed for wood surfaces in particular.