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How to clean hardwood floors

A properly cared for hardwood floor will last a lifetime, and cleaning is a very important part of any hardwood floor maintenance regime. However, it is only too easy to permanently damage a hardwood floor by using an unsuitable cleaning method because people forget it is the finish on the wood and not the wood itself they are cleaning. This article looks at how to keep your hardwood floor both clean and undamaged.

Regular cleaning

Dust and grit It is vital not to let dust, grit and dirt accumulate on your hardwood floor as they can cause scratches. This type of debris should be removed on a daily basis and the best way to do so is to use a vacuum cleaner. Daily vacuuming Use a high quality hard-floor attachment with a soft brush. Vacuum carefully from one end of the room to the other taking care to remove all dirt from the floor.
Weekly vacuuming On a set day each week, while vacuuming your hardwood floor, move the furniture and vacuum underneath it. However, ensure felt protectors have been placed on the feet of the furniture you are moving to guard against scratches to the floor's surface.

Deeper cleaning

Do not over-wet a hardwood floor Do not wash a hardwood floor in the way you would wash linoleum or vinyl. It is very important that a hardwood floor does not get too wet, as water will make it swell and may cause permanent damage. Damp mop
If you vacuum away dust and grit regularly from your hardwood floor's surface, you may be able to keep it in pristine condition by simply damp mopping it once a week. Open windows when doing so to ensure the dampness dries almost immediately. Wet mop If you have to wet mop, use a detergent designed specifically for hardwood floors. Have several mops to hand and once you have applied the detergent solution, mop up as much of it as possible. Rinse the floor with clean warm water and dry it immediately. Steam cleaners Dry vapour steam cleaners should not be used on hardwood floors with a wax finish as they will lift the wax. However, they can be used for other hardwood floors providing the steam being emitted is as dry as possible. Use high quality microfiber cloths on the floor cleaning head and keep it moving across the floor. Do not concentrate the steam on one section of floor. Used correctly, a steam cleaner of this kind will remove dirt without the use of chemicals, leaving the floor virtually dry.

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