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Cleaning Your Hardwood Floor

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There is nothing quite as beautiful as a hardwood floor. The lustrous shine, the glimmering perspective it gives to a room, the long accents of the wood grain.

However, keeping a hardwood floor properly cleaned and maintained is pretty critical, because, guess what? There is nothing quite so dowdy and depressing as a scuffed, stained, dull old wood floor with remnants of its former glory buried under years of neglect.

Cleaning Your Hardwood Floor

That said, it is key to our sense of dignity to keep those wood floors buffed and shiny, dust-free and dazzling. After all, it is not that difficult to clean a hardwood floor. On the other hand, it’s easier still to neglect, except then you will pay a price because restoring a wood floor is a terrible chore, while keeping it maintained is not so much.

Most critically, of course, a shiny hardwood floor must have the appropriate hard finish applied. This is the portion which is buffed to a remarkable shine. Once the finish is down, it can take a beating over time through scuff marks and scratches.

Just like dirt is what wears out your clothes, the very dust on a hardwood floor can be its downfall, because dust includes grit and just walking on sharp grit on a hardwood surface can put scratches in the polish. Over the years, those scratches add up. Eventually, your shiny floor looks like it’s been walked on by demonic cats. Mean ones.

Start with a vacuum cleaner that can take off the grit and dust without grinding it into the floor. Go into the corners of the room and under the furniture carefully, because it’s that grit that can ruin all your hard work.

Then gently sweep. Sweep thoroughly, going under the same couches, chairs and tables. Broom can do a better job than a vacuum cleaner with some types of grit; so even if you don’t see much produced by the broom, remember that you are protecting a floor by protecting a shine. That shine is your wood finish, which is protecting the oak, maple or ash underneath it. So, protect that shine, because that’s all that stands between you and a re-finishing job. (And you want to avoid that at all costs.)

Once you are done sweeping with a broom, use a duster – a cloth broom sprayed with dust spray to collect even finer grit than the broom could find.

Then use a damp mop – not one that is overly wet, but just slightly damp. You are not looking to scrub your hardwood floors, just remove the dust to get that shine back up.

If you need to scrub stains off of a wood floor, tackle those areas individually. Use the appropriate soap and water, but dry the water as soon as you can and do that well. Grit is not the only enemy of wood floors; too much water is also not good for the shine and, if it reaches the wood, standing water can change the color of the wood itself—and never in a good way.

If you need to, break out a new bottle of floor shine and apply the product per the instructions on the label.

Clean a hardwood floor as often as you need to, but do it right because that shine is protecting your floor, while it also looks like a million bucks.


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