Keeping your wooden flooring looking its best isn’t difficult, it just requires a little knowledge, some good quality cleaning products, and a cleaning and care routine.
Basic Care and Maintenance for Timber Flooring
You should give your wooden flooring a basic clean once or twice a fortnight. Start by dusting the floor with a specialised dusting mop – it’s important to remember this is a dry mop, no water should be involved. Once the dust, dirt and other things that might scratch your floor are gone, give it a quick vacuum using a floor-brush attachment, or you can sweep with an electrostatic broom. Do not use a vacuum with a ‘beater bar’ attachment, which is designed for carpets and can scratch a wood floor’s finish.
Removing Marks from Your Hardwood Flooring
Another ongoing maintenance task is removing marks from your floor. Now, ideally you can avoid stains in the first place by cleaning up any spills promptly. But that’s not always possible, and besides, not all marks come from spills.
Hard or Soft Finish?
The way you remove marks from your floor will depend on the kind of finish you have. Basically, if the mark is clearly on ‘top’ of the floor, you likely have a hard finish, such as urethane. This is good news. However, if the stain has penetrated through to the wood, you’re probably dealing with a soft, oiled finish; which is a little trickier.
Cleaning Hard Finishes
To remove a stain or mark from a hard finish, you can simply use a soft, clean cloth. If needed, dampen the cloth slightly, but never soak it. Be sure not to use sandpaper, steel wool, or harsh chemicals on such a surface because they can permanently damage the finish.
Cleaning Soft Oiled Finishes
Unfortunately, this is a little trickier. There are different methods for different stains, and you may need to re-stain, wax, and buff the wood after some of them.
- For dark spots, pet stains, and heel marks: rub the spot with No. 000 steel wool and floor wax.
- For oil-based stains: rub the area with a soft cloth and dishwashing detergent to break down the grease, then rinse with clear water.
- For water marks or white stains: rub the spot with No. 000 steel wool and floor wax.
A Deeper Clean
A fortnightly vacuum or sweep is important, but it won’t totally stop the build-up of dirt, oil, and grime over time. Once or twice a year you should give your oak timber flooring a much deeper clean. Dilute a wood-cleaning product in water according to the label instructions, then saturate a sponge or rag mop in the resultant solution. Wring it out until it feels only slightly damp to the touch – it’s never good to soak a wooden floor – then damp-mop the floor. Be careful to prevent standing water as you go, re-mopping areas to dry them out a little if you spot puddles.
If your cleaning product requires it, rinse the floor with a clean mop dampened in pure water. Again, be sure to wipe up all standing water. Once you’re finished, leave the floor to air dry; if the weather is humid, use a ceiling fan or your air conditioning to help it dry quickly.
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