Keeping surfaces free of dirt, dust, and debris isn’t just a move to keep your floors looking tidy; it also protects from long-term damage. Particles left on the floor can cause scratches and abrasions that will fade or damage the finished surface of wood over time. Be careful what you clean with, though. Using a broom with soft bristles or a vacuum is recommended, since stiff or wire bristles can easily leave scratches.
Any spills or messes should be cleaned as quickly as possible. Not only are dried-on messes harder to clean up, but they can stain and discolor your floors. The moisture can also cause swelling as the wood absorbs liquid. Moisture that sits too long then dries out may lead to warping and bowing, which is a nightmare for flooring. As we’re getting into the summer months, colorful fruit juices, drippy popsicles, and spilled soda that are left too long could damage wood. Accidents happen, but the sooner they’re wiped up, the better.
Of course our homes aren’t just empty rooms, so it’s important to protect furniture as well. Using floor protectors can be an easy way to avoid scratches caused by slight movements in everyday use. Small felt pads are available in most grocery stores, but this author recommends silicone protectors for larger furniture, like couches and beds, since they usually have a cup shape that prevents the protector from sliding out and scratching the floor.
Other preventative steps should be taken, too. Using floor mats at entryways and in kitchens is encouraged, since the mats collect contaminants that could scratch the floor or water that could be absorbed, or even cause slips. Yikes! Keeping your pets’ nails trimmed can also prevent scratches from excited paws running through the house. Lastly, be selective about what shoes you wear, since cleats, high heels, or other shoes with hard points can leave scratches or gouges on softer woods.
Not all wood floorings are created equal. There’s a wide variety of styles, finishes, and sealants, so it’s important that you be aware of what kind of wood you have and manufacturer recommendations for cleaning/maintenance. Some of the most common sealants are either wax or polyurethane (PU). Depending on the sealant, your floors will react differently to moisture and cleaners. If you’re going to use a cleaning product, be sure that it is suited for your wood finish and sealant, since strong chemicals can break down protective coatings or strip color away.
It’s tempting to leave our floors as they are when life gets hectic, but wood floors need regular attention to keep their classic, clean look. Small scratches can be touched up, but large spots that look dull, hazy, or scratched may need to be recoated with a new protective coating. If you notice an obvious change in color (maybe in high traffic areas or where water has collected), refinishing or sanding and then refinishing might be necessary. Taking proactive steps to protect the wood can extend the life of the flooring, so small steps now can make for big savings in the future.
Let Chem-Dry of Blackfoot & Pocatello assist in taking proactive steps to care for your wood floors today! Our process not only cleans and disinfects, but also helps seal and protect to keep wood floors cleaner for longer. Call or visit our website to learn more about wood floor cleaning today.