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Monday, March 29, 2010

It's Spring Cleaning Time ~ Hardwood Floors

First, check the legs of all furniture to see if the floor protectors need to be replaced. Replace as needed. It is now time for a thorough sweeping or vacuuming of your floors. Do not use a vacuum with a beater bar or hard head on hardwood floors. The hard parts (plastic, metal) can scratch the floor. The vacuum head should be brush or felt; a wand attachment is preferable.

Be careful as you move furniture and appliances. Do not drag heavy pieces. You may need to use large pieces of cardboard or something similar to move the heavier items onto to protect the floors underneath. Many people move the refrigerator to clean behind and under it as part of their spring cleaning. Do not merely roll the refrigerator out. The weight of the refrigerator can easily indent the floor. You need to roll the refrigerator onto something so that you are not rolling it directly on the floor. Use a large piece of cardboard, a thin piece of plywood, or a piece of carpet with the fiber side down. We have seen more damage done to hardwood floors from moving a refrigerator than from any other cause.

Damp mop as needed using a hardwood floor mop and approved hardwood floor cleaner (do not use oil, wax, or ammonia based cleaners as they will dull the finish and performance of your floor. These products will also affect the ability to recoat your floor later.)

Since wood naturally expands when it is wet, never wet mop or use excessive water to clean your floor. Large amounts of water can cause the wood to swell and may cause your floor to crack or splinter.

TIP: Just because something says it is for hardwood floors does not mean it should be used on the floor. Read the ingredients carefully. We are amazed by what various internet sources state to clean wood floors with. Do NOT use Orange Glo, Goof Off, steam mops, Windex, ammonia, dish soap, Pledge, vinegar, Pine Sol, Mr. Clean, Mop and Glo, bubble bath, Rejuvenate, tea, Simple Green, or similar products. Only use cleaners made by wood flooring manufacturers like Armstrong, Mohawk, or Bona.

Use good quality doormats at all of your exterior doors. Replace as needed.

Now is also a good time to look closely at your hardwood floors to determine if it is time for another coat of polyurethane. Start with the areas that get the most foot traffic. Are these areas duller than the wood in areas that do not get as much traffic? Do you see light scratches in the finish? If you can see superficial scratches and the traffic lanes are visible, it is time to recoat your wood floors. Most floors are in need of another coat of polyurethane every five years or so; although in some homes, another coat may be needed every 12—18 months. If you wait too long, a simple screen and coat will not be effective; the floors will need to be refinished.

TIP: Dust mop your wood floors frequently. Use a clean, dry, non-treated dust mop. Hardwood floors mops can be purchased at Enhance Floors & More if you do not have one. As we mentioned previously, be very careful if you choose to use a vacuum; worn parts or grit on the wheels will scratch the surface. Do not use a vacuum with a beater bar on the wood flooring.

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