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Hardwood Floor Care Basics

Hardwood flooring is beautiful when done correctly. It's also, despite its misleading name, very sensitive to some of the things it comes into contact with. There are two major elements to caring for the hardwood flooring in your home or apartment. The first is preventative; the things that you do (or don't) to maintain the quality of the flooring and avoid having to use reactive measures. The second is reactive; the things you do when the preventative measures have failed or something has happened that needs to be cleaned up or fixed in relation to your hardwood flooring. When these two methods are combined, they create a well-balanced plan for protecting your hardwood floor, so keep reading.

Preventative Measures

Using the right materials on your hardwood floor is one of the first preventative measures which will help you avoid damage to your floor. Many home cleaning products are composed of chemicals and other materials which could cause permanent, irreparable damage to your floor. The solution, however, is to use cleaning materials which are explicitly designed for use on hardwood floors. Check the labels when buying cleaning materials, chemicals and products to make sure they're safe for hardwood flooring before using them on your floor.

Using a mop on your hardwood floor is a bad idea; the water poured directly onto the floor ill cause damage, so use a damp cloth to clean up spills but avoid using a mop. Another cleaning method to avoid is using ammonia on your hardwood floor. Using wax with urethane or other form of glossy finish on your hardwood floor will damage it as well. This one may seem obvious but being careful when moving furniture along hardwood can also help to protect it as well. Lift furniture, don't drag it, to avoid scratching the wood with the legs of chairs, tables and other pieces of furniture.

DIY Fixes

Reactive measures are ways to clean, repair or maintain hardwood floors when potential damage has occurred or is imminent. One good reactive measure is to vacuum your floor when dirt, grime or other substances are found. Vacuuming is superior to sweeping because it pulls dirt from between floor boards. Many vacuums come with bare floor attachments which can avoid damaging the wood in the way a vacuum beater bar might.

If you're noticing discoloration on your hardwood flooring based on exposure to sunlight, use blinds, curtains or other blocks on windows to help diminish the flooring's exposure to the sun's discoloring rays.

When spills occur, don't mop or pour water directly onto the floor; use a damp paper towel and if you're noticing consistent damage or spills to high traffic areas, use a rug or other means of covering the area to protect the floor.

Keeping a hardwood floor clean and well maintained isn't easy but, with these tips, its more than doable. As always, do your own research when considering how to maintain and clean the hardwood flooring in your home or apartment.

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