by Heidi Estes, March 31, 2016

Make your hardwood floors sparkle again!! After a long, wet winter, most likely your floors have taken a beating. The good news is, often, with some good ol’ fashion elbow grease, your hardwood floors can be brought back to life. With these tips from Mary Ellen Pinkman, you’ll be able to make sure you’re cleaning your floors the best possible way!

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 3.05.24 PMFirst, you’ll need to figure out what type of hardwood flooring you have. Your floors may be surface-sealed floor, penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors, lacquered, varnished, shellacked or untreated floors. Once, you’ve determined what type of flooring you have, select the best type of cleaning solution that will clean without harming your flooring.

Pro Tips for Sealed Floors

You’ll want to avoid using oils, waxes or furniture sprays. Oil leaves a residue, furniture spray creates a slippery surface (think slicker than slick!) and wax takes time to apply and makes re-coating difficult.You’ll also want to avoid using straight ammonia, alkaline products or abrasive cleaners. They’ll dull or scratch the finish. Absolutely, use a floor-cleaning product recommended by the floor finisher or we suggest using plain soap and water.

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Routine cleaning

In high-traffic areas, like the dining room and kitchen, you should sweep daily, if possible, and mop once or twice a week. Mop less-trafficked areas once a month or once a season.

Mopping technique Remember: Water is wood’s worst enemy (even on sealed floors!), so use a damp mop rather than a soaking wet one.

Dip the mop into the bucket of prepared cleaning solution, wring it out completely, mop in the direction of the wood grain and repeat. When the water gets dirty, empty the bucket, mix a new batch of cleaning solution and continue mopping.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 4.05.23 PMWhen finished, go back over the entire surface with clean water to rinse.

Don’t be afraid to get on your hands and knees if necessary. When a floor needs serious attention,  clean it with a cloth. (It’s better than a sponge because you can “feel” the dirt as you wipe!)

Pro Tips for penetrating-seal-treated oil treated, shellacked, varnished, lacquered or untreated floors

Use a stripper to remove old wax buildup. Then, choose a product the floor manufacturer recommends, a commercial product from the hardware store or mineral spirits. Next, you can use liquid wax designed for wood floors or paste wax. Liquid wax is easier to apply but leaves a thinner coat (and provides less protection) than paste wax. You’ll want to avoid using acrylic or water-based waxes, furniture waxes or one-step waxes.

Routine Cleaning

Do NOT damp-mop waxed floors. Just vacuum and sweep the surface regularly. Once or twice a year, strip the old wax and apply a fresh new coat. If a high-traffic area gets dull in between treatments, you can spot-wax the area. To wax your floors, you will first need to vacuum the floor to remove dust. Strip the old wax with stripper (following the manufacturer’s instructions) or mineral spirits (rub into wood and then wipe off with a clean, soft cloth). Keep the area well ventilated as you work and as the floor dries. After the floor has dried, apply a thin coat of wax, using an applicator (if you’re using liquid wax) or a cloth (if you’re using paste wax). Let the wax dry. For added protection, apply a second coat of wax.

For more hardwood floor care tips and tackling simple wood floor issues from Mary Ellen Pinkman, click here. If you have additional questions or concerns about your hardwood floors, stop in today. We’d love to chat.




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