Posted Dec 17, 2014
Cleaning Wood Floors: A Simple How To
If your apartment has hardwood floors, you’re in luck! It’s a classic type of flooring that not only looks timeless and sophisticated, but is also fairly easy to care for. Plus, who wants to deal with having to power wash their carpeting to get old stains and Fido’s pet hair out? Nobody.
While moving into an apartment with hardwood flooring is a win, you should make sure you know some of the basic ways to keep it looking its best – it doesn’t stay flawless without a little tender loving care. Take a look at these guidelines for cleaning wood floors:
Take Care When Moving
You don’t want to scratch or scuff the floors as soon as you move in! Hardwood flooring is easily scratched, so when moving into your new place, it’s important to be careful not to drag furniture or moving boxes into place. If you can’t fully lift up a piece of furniture, put moving pads or area rugs under each leg, soft side down.
Even when everything’s moved in, consider using floor protectors on your heavier furniture, like the couch and table, in case it gets pushed around or causes indents in the floor under its legs.
Use Area Rugs
High-traffic areas like hallways or in front of the sink in the kitchen are more likely to show wear and tear no matter what type of flooring your apartment has. For hardwood floor care, consider using area rugs in the spots where you spend the most time standing or walking. The extra cushion will keep your floor looking pristine.
Avoid Pet Scratches
Back to Fido: Make sure to keep your pet’s claws trimmed up or they could cause scratches all over the floor. You can also buy claw caps for your furry friend, which keep his scratchers dull and unable to do any damage.
Protect It From Water
Water damage is one of the main things you should be wary of with hardwood floors. Water causes wood to warp, so the longer it sits on the floor, the more likely your floor is to become uneven and damaged. Be mindful of closing the windows during rainy or snowy weather and take soaked shoes off before walking across the apartment.
Keep Shoes By the Door
It’s a good idea to take shoes off in general before entering your apartment, or at least to keep a large rug in the entryway for wiping off shoes as soon as you walk in the door. You’ll want to avoid tracking wet or dirty shoes across the floor, since you’ll have to clean those spots up right away. Spiked stilettos or hard metal heels are another hardwood floor care issue since they can cause dents, so remove those shoes at the door as well.
Believe it or not, rearranging your furniture and moving your area rugs around can actually help keep your hardwood floors looking nicer for longer. Wood that’s exposed to sun fades very slowly over time, so if your furniture and rugs stay put, it could make the flooring a bit uneven.
General Floor Care
Think of the previous tips as defense, or preventative measures – now it’s time for offense. Regular cleaning and maintenance is important for quality hardwood floor care. Here’s what you can do to maintain your floors:
- Use a broom or a vacuum with a brush or felt head attachment to clean the floors weekly. Use a dry dust mop or sweeper for cleaning up dusty areas like corners and under the furniture. If you’re using a vacuum to clean the floor, try not to use one with a beater bar or rolling brushes, since both could cause damage.
- When cleaning, don’t use products that could break down or damage the floor’s finish. Stay away from products with ammonia, wax, bleach, detergents or anything abrasive.
- Clean up water spills right away. If it’s a major spill, like flooding from broken plumbing, it’s a good idea to get your landlord involved right away so they can help you clean it up properly.
Spot Cleaning and Repairing
- Wax: If candle wax or gum gets onto your floor, freeze the spot by covering it with a sandwich bag full of ice. Leave the ice for a few minutes, then use a scraper tool or a card from your wallet to clean it up.
- Ink: For dark stains, like those from ink or shoe scuffs, use a sponge made of very fine steel wool and a wood floor cleaner to buff them out.
- Grease: Grease or oil spots should come out with a wood cleaner and a soft cloth.
- Scratches: Unfortunately, scratches on hardwood are pretty much inevitable, no matter how careful you are. If you start to see some light scratches on the wood, check out a local hardware store to see if they have any wood-colored crayons or markers for camouflage. Hardware stores also sell wax sticks that can help to fill in shallow scratches. For major damage, your landlord may want to have the floor sanded and refinished, so check with them before taking any action.
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