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The following information are general guidelines that we at National Floors, prescribe to our customers.  It's important to understand, with each hardwood floor professional you encounter, you may receive different advice.  Since hardwood floor care is not a a service we sell, the purpose of this information is simply put forward to extend the beauty of our clients hardwood floors.  If you have something to add to our advice, please use the contact information page to tell us all about it.    

Sweeping your hardwood floors

Sweep your hardwood floors regularly.  The fact is, when someone walks into a home, the first 3-5' is where the most damage can occur.  This is when the fine particulants from outside are brought into the home and are knocked off the shoe.  If you don't sweep regularly, then these fine particulants will start to build up and cause faster damage.  In essence, your shoes start to act like sand paper and slowly and prematurely wear the hardwood floor protective coating away.  Since prevention is better than the cure, we highly suggest getting floor mats and strategically placing them at the major entry points in the house.  If you have a long hallway to the bedrooms or bath, like most do, than getting a runner (long area rug) would also be a great idea to keep thos floors looking great as long as possible.

Hardwood floor flat mopping

After you sweep, you can then flat mop.  Using a flat mop is great, but if you apply a wet flat mop prior to sweeping, than expect mud.  Flat mopping is the best way to really clean your hardwood floors.  It's really simple and incredibly fast.  When we flat mop a hardwood floor, the flat mop will typically come with some micro fiber type of attachment.  In most cases, we just lie down a damp terry clothe towel.  Water is the only thing you will need.  A little water can go a long way.  Remember, moisture is a natural enemy of hardwood floors, so use just enough so that the floor will dry very fast once you have completed your work.      

Hardwood floor cleaning products

Soap and water

Using soap and water to clean your hardwood floors just makes sense.  Unfortunatley, soap, unless it is rinsed, will leave a film behind.  This film is very thin, but after a number of good cleanings, you will find that this film will effect the appearance of your floors.  Usually, the hardwood floors will dull in appearance if you use soap and water.  All is not lost if the hardwood floors start to dull from soap and water.  You will need to strip the remove the soap to restore the appearance.  How you remove the soap is another story.   

Vinegar and water

Using "Vinegar and water" is an old wives tale.  Don't use vinegar and water to clean your hardwood floors.  Vinegar is an acid.  Will it clean your hardwood floors?  YES!  Will vinegar damage your hardwood floors?  YES!  The subtle etching of your floors will take place over the months.  Some will neglect this advice and use vinegar and water anyways.  Unfortunately, once the floors etch, there is no chance of restoring the sheen without a hardwood flooring contractor to assist you in the process.  There are 2 options to restore the sheen:  A recoat procedure and a complete sand and finish process.     

General purpose floor cleaning solution

There are plenty of cleaning products that can be used to clean your hardwood floors.  What you will find is that any general purpose cleaner is the last thing you want to use on your hardwood floors.  General purpose cleaners contain chelates and are usually acidic.  Like water and vinegar, acidics will etch your hardwood floor.  Etching is another word for dulling.  The arguement could be, these products do in fact clean my floor, but at what cost.  It may take months to etch the floors, but eventually it will happen.  Once the shine is lost, there is no restoring the shine by scrubbing harder. 

PH hardwood floor cleaning solutions

If you insist on purchasing a hardwood cleaning solution, there are products out there that you can use.  The first thing you need to do is identify whether your hardwood floors are prefinished or finished on site.  Prefinished hardwood floors come from the mill with a protective coating installed.  This protective coating is called "Aluminum oxide".  

The alternative, hardwood floors that are finished on site is a hardwood floor that does not come with a protective coating on them.  This is raw wood that is installed and then sanded and top coated with polyurethane.  Usually 2-3 coats of polyurethane is required to have enough protection to keep your floors safe for years to come.  Choosing the proper hardwood floor cleaning agent is dependent on this information.   

The reason I bring up Prefinished vs. Finished on site, is because the cleaning solution used is different for each of these floors.  Researching the proper hardwood cleaning solution is vital to guarantee the best results.  It is based off the PH of the product.  Your hardwood floors is a lot like your hair and skin.  If you use the wrong PH level, that you can run into serious issues.  There is a company called "Bona Kemi" that offers extensive information on their website.    

Preventing hardwood floors from being gouged

This is a biggy.  Gouging can happen with any piece of furniture, like a chair, that is constantly being drove into the floor with movement.  In a relatively short while, this abrupt furniture movement will aggressively penetrate the protective hardwood finish and actually move into the hardwood itself.  This damage can be severe and would require a hardwood floor contractor to correct. 

The use of furniture pads is your best bet for preventing your hardwood floors from being gouged.  There are literally dozens of furniture pad options available.  Unfortunately, some work well and others will fail quickly.  Once installed, it's a great idea to check the pads periodically to see if they are still installed.  If you sweep and find some strange pad on the floor, don't throw it away, you may be able to reinstall it again.  Ultimately, prevention is better than the cure.  Start installing those furniture pads now.