How To: Care for Hardwood Floors – Molyneaux Tile Carpet Wood

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How To: Care for Hardwood Floors

Posted on August 05 2019

beautiful hardwood floor

You planned, evaluated samples of different colors and styles, and met with a design consultant to choose the perfect hardwood flooring for your home. Congratulations on your selection of a true classic! Hardwood flooring is a timeless choice for home, so you will want to keep your floors looking their best for years to come. Whether they are brand new or well-loved over time, you can maintain the beauty of hardwood floors with some care and cleaning. We called in our team of Molyneaux professionals to share their favorite tips. Spoiler alert: a little damage prevention goes a long way!

dustpan and broom

Clean Hardwood Floors Regularly

Built up grit can damage the surface of your beautiful hardwood floors, so create a habit of sweeping or vacuuming your floors once a day. For sweeping, a broom or dry Swiffer will do the trick. When vacuuming, use a brush or felt vacuum head and be certain the wheels of the vacuum are clean, so they won’t damage your floor’s finish. Do not use a rotating beater bar, which can wear down the finish.

Use Approved Cleaning Products

When it comes to cleaning products, don’t just trust the label; just because a cleaning product says it’s good for hardwood flooring doesn’t always mean it is. You can find approved cleaners from the flooring manufacturer or by visiting any of our Molyneaux showrooms. As a quick tip, Shaw’s R2X Hard Surface cleaner is safe for all hardwood floors.

Here are a few cleaning products you should avoid. Not only can they damage your floors, but the resulting damage may not be covered under your warranty:

  • Do not use oil soaps, liquid or paste wax products, or other household cleaners that contain citrus oils, lemon oil, tung oil, silicon or ammonia. These products will harm the long-term performance of your floor and may affect the ability to refinish them down the road.
  • Do not wet-mop, damp-mop, use hardwood floor cleaning machines or steam cleaners. Water and excessive moisture are the enemy of hardwood floors.
  • Do not use two-in-one cleaners with polish that may contain acrylics or urethane polish.

boots on mat

Prevent Everyday Damage

In addition to regular cleaning, there are some everyday steps you can take to prevent damage to your hardwood floors. Keeping in mind that water and excessive moisture are harmful, wipe up spills immediately using a soft cloth and approved cleaning product. Place protective mats in front of doors to catch dripping umbrellas and melting snow from winter boots.

Hardwood floors are susceptible to scratches and dents, so remove shoes with spiked or damaged heels before walking on the floor. If you hear the tapping of pets’ nails as they run across the floor, it’s time for a trim! Keep pets’ nails trimmed and paws clean of dirt and gravel that can scratch the hardwood surface. Use care when positioning or moving heavy items across your floor. Place protective felt pads beneath furniture legs and use a dolly and protective sheets of plywood when moving heaving objects such as furniture and appliances. Keep furniture casters clean and look for wide vinyl casters with a minimum width of one inch.

hardwood floor and area rug

Preserve Beauty Over Time

Some damage occurs over time, so you want to take preventative steps now to keep your floors looking beautiful for years to come. Position area rugs in high-traffic areas and pivot points, such as stair landings and room entries, to reduce wear and protect the flooring finish.

Be mindful of sun exposure on hardwood floors, which accelerates the oxidation and aging of wood. This can cause the wood to stain, fade or change color. We recommend rearranging rugs and furniture periodically so the floor ages evenly and doesn’t get discolored underneath.

Humidity can also affect your hardwood floors. Aim for relative humidity levels in your home between 35 and 55 percent. In high humidity, the floors can absorb moisture, which causes them swell and expand. This creates pressure between the floorboards that can result in warping and cupping. In low humidity, the floors can dry out, which can result in splintering and splitting. In our Pittsburgh climate, you may need to make adjustments to the humidity level in your home with seasonal weather changes. In humid summer months, use air conditioning and a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air. As we transition to dry winter months, switch to a humidifier as needed to add moisture and increase the humidity level in your home.

With regular cleaning and attention to objects that can cause scratches or other damage, you can keep your hardwood floors looking new for years to come. Every once in a while, despite your best efforts to clean and maintain your floors, you may see some damage or another unique situation that requires expert advice. Our Molyneaux team is here to help! Give our service team a call at 412-793-6100 and we’d be happy to answer your questions. Now that you know how to care for your hardwood floors, check out our care and cleaning tips for other flooring types, such as carpet, vinyl and tile.