Details for Hardwood Flooring Care
- When cleaning your hardwood flooring, do not use Swiffer or any of the competitive wet disposable cloths. The liquid soap used in these products can damage most hardwood floors. Prefinished hardwood floors are particularly vulnerable to the soap in wet cloths because of the unsealed seams between the boards, but the finishes of some site finished hardwood floors can also be damaged.
- Many hardwood floor owners have been advised by parents and grandparents to use a good oil soap on their floors, like Murphy’s. While these oils may have worked well in touching up a wax finished floor of yesteryear, modern hardwood floor finishes generally do not absorb the oil. Residue builds up with each application, attracts dirt and grime and gradually dulls the appearance of the hardwood floor.
- Always use a neutral ph cleaner specifically designed for hardwood floor finishes. Damp mopping with a hardwood floor cleaner is the fastest and best way to deep-clean your hardwood floor. If your hardwood flooring gets a lot of traffic you may need to damp mop as often as every week. Wet your mop and wring it so that it’s about half-dry. Wet the floor with your mop with the cleaner/water mixture. Dip the mop in clean water and wring it as dry as possible. Mop over the floor with the clean nearly-dry mop to remove as much water as possible.
Recognizing that hardwood floor dimensions will be slightly affected by varying levels of humidity within your building, care should be taken to control humidity levels within the 35-55% range. To protect your investment and to assure that your floors provide lasting satisfaction, we have provided our recommendations below.
Heating Season (Dry)
- A humidifier is recommended to prevent excessive shrinkage in hardwood floors due to low-humidity levels.
- Wood stoves and electric heat tend to create very dry conditions.
- Non-Heating Season (Humid, Wet)
- Proper humidity levels can be maintained by use of an air conditioner, dehumidifier, or by turning on your heating system periodically during the summer months.
- Avoid excessive exposure to water from tracking during periods of inclement weather.
- DO NOT obstruct in any way the expansion joint around the perimeter of your floor. NOTE: Final inspection by the end-user should occur from a standing position.
Proactive Protection For Your Floor
- When moving appliances or heavy furniture, lay a plywood panel on your floor and "walk" the item across it. This protects your floor from scuffing and tears.
- Use Floor Protectors on furniture to reduce indentation. As a general rule of thumb, the heavier the item, the wider the floor protector needed.
- Be careful with rolling casters. They can damage the floor. Therefore, we do not recommend them. If you choose to use them, the double wheel type are the best option.
- Place a walk-off mat at outside entrances to reduce the amount of dirt brought into your home. We do not recommend the use of rubber- or latex-backed mats because the chemical (antioxidant) used to keep the backing from becoming brittle can permanently stain your floor. We suggest a nonstaining vinyl-backed mat or a woven rug that is colorfast. Most of these products are identified "colorfast" by the manufacturer.
- Wipe up spills immediately.
- Vacuum, sweep or dust mop your hardwood floor once a week, or more, if needed. The vacuum head must be brush or felt.
- Use interior and exterior doormats at entrances to collect dirt and moisture and prevent it from being tracked onto the floor.
- Area rugs are recommended in front of kitchen sinks, at all pivot points and within high-traffic areas. The rugs must be made of a breathable material to prevent moisture entrapment.
- Place runners and area rugs (with slip-resistant backings) along high-traffic areas.
- Keep animal nails trimmed to prevent finish scratches.
- To prevent surface damage avoid rolling heavy appliances and furniture on the floor. Use plywood or appliance lifts, if necessary.
- Use Armstrong or Bruce furniture leg protector pads under all furniture legs.
- Replace hard, narrow furniture rollers with wide rubber rollers.
- Keep the relative humidity in your home between 35% and 55%.
- Protect your floor from direct sunlight.
- Use any of the following products (or products similar in nature) on your floor: ammonia based cleaners, acrylic finishes, wax based products, detergents, bleach, polishes and oil soaps, abrasive cleaning soaps or acidic materials such as vinegar.
- Allow water to stand on your floor for any length of time – wipe up immediately.
- Walk across your floor in poorly maintained shoes with heel taps, spike heels or with any sharp object protruding from your shoe.
- Allow furniture to rest on the floor on small metal tips or hard domes.
- Use rubber, foam back or plastic mats as they may trap moisture and possibly discolor your floor.
- Do not use vacuums with beater bars or hard heads.