Installing new hardwood floors or discovering them in an older structure increases a home’s value. They are long-lasting, have a high resale value, and can be used to complement almost any decorating style.
While a matte finish may appeal to some decorators, most hardwood floor owners prefer gleaming finishes. The trick is to keep that sparkle even after years of normal wear and tear. Your cleaning habits may be contributing to the dullness of your wood floors—or the fact that they continue to shine despite the passage of time.
What variety of floor finishes do you have?
Knowing what kind of finish has been applied to the wood is one of the most critical pieces of information for keeping hardwood floors gleaming. Was your solid or engineered wood sealed with polyurethane or polyacrylic urethane finish, or did you use a paste wax to finish it? If you’re not sure, take these tips to assist you in making the best cleaning resolutions.
Try to avoid an area with heavy foot traffic and place a drop of water on the floor. You should never clean hardwood with water because this indicates that the finish has not been properly sealed and will absorb the water quickly. If a bead of water remains on the hardwood surface, it has been sealed.
To determine if the floor has a paste wax finish, lightly rub it with fine steel wool in a corner. The iron wool will have a gray, waxy film if the floor has been waxed.
7 Reasons Why Wood Floors Are Unappealing
Now that you know what type of finish your hardwood floors have, seven common problems can cause them to look dull.
You’re just increasing the dirt around
Simply redistributing the dirt by using a filthy mop or neglecting to sweep, dust mop, or vacuum the floor before cleaning. Imagine all of that grit, dust, and dirt trapped in the cleaning solution and remaining on the floor’s surface.
Utilizing too much cleaning product or water
Even if you follow all of the steps correctly, using too much cleaning product or water will make your floors look worse. It is not always the fact that more is better.
Your cleaner is causing more problems than solving
Many acrylic-based liquid waxes that claim to make wood floors shine make them look worse. The floor can look patchy or milky when applied over polyurethane or paste wax finishes. To remove the milky appearance of acrylic waxes, use mineral spirits and elbow grease on a small area at a time. To restore the shine completely, you’ll need to strip and reseal the floors.
Complex chemicals like chlorine bleach, ammonia, undiluted vinegar, or pine oil can harm floor finishes. Read labels, use a commercial product formulated for sealed wood floors, such as Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
Leaving a job half-finished
To avoid streaking, a hardwood floor should be finished with good buffing after damp mopping or waxing. Simply buff the finish with a dry microfiber mop to ensure a shiny floor.
If the floors aren’t sealed with a polyurethane finish and rely on a carnauba paste wax for shine, the wax can grow and become dull. Even if you only use wax once or twice a year, it will eventually build up and become soft in low-traffic areas. Mineral spirits or another commercial wax stripper can remove paste wax.
Scratches are uncontrollable
If you have pets with sharp claws, forget to put clean doormats inside and outside entrance areas, or wear hard-heeled shoes in the house frequently, you’ll get scratches. Scratches and scuffs are simply drab floorings. To keep them to a minimum, practice some prevention.
The floor requires refinishing
No finish on hardwood floors will last indefinitely if the floor is subjected to foot traffic. Refinishing solid hardwood floors can be done many times. Even engineered hardwood with a thinner veneer can be refinished and resealed several times before it needs to be replaced.
A Five-Step Process for Cleaning Floors
Not only do we know how to fix and design the perfect flooring, but we also know how to maintain it. Follow these five steps for the cleanest floor you’ve ever seen.
- Remove Rugs and Furniture
Most people only move more miniature furniture and area rugs when cleaning weekly. Still, they should do a deep clean every quarter and clean underneath rugs and heavy furniture.
- Vacuum and/or Sweep
Sweep up large pieces and then vacuum up the dust and pet hair. You can also do a final sweep with a Swiffer to pick up any remaining dust.
- Wet a Bar Towel
Water and several drops of dish soap, such as Dawn, make a good cleaning solution. Connect the rag to a Swiffer “mop” stick and sweep small areas of the floor with it. To keep the towel as clean as possible, rinse it frequently. While this appears to take a long time, it works pretty well. The floor will not become excessively wet and will dry quickly.
- Apply Bona to the Floor
Apply a thin coat of Bona to the floor once it has dried. To get the best results, it’s worth investing in a Bona cleaning kit. The kit includes an application “wand” that makes the entire process 100 times easier. Squirt Bona onto the wand’s included pad, then squirt it onto the floor in small sections. When you’re finished, your floor will have regained its luster.
Rugs and furniture should be returned to their original locations. Then sit back and admire your lovely floor.
- Getting Rid of the Things That Aren’t Good for Your Hardwood Floors
There are products on the market that are harmful to your hardwood floors. Never use abrasives or harsh chemicals. Cleaners containing vinegar, ammonia, lemon juice, or alkaline soap are prohibited. Oils and furniture sprays are also safe. All of these conditions can wreak ruin on your floors’ sheen and seal.
How to Make the Most of Your Wood Floors
Wood floors, with proper maintenance, can last for many years. Remember that, like anything else, the better you look after them, the longer they will last.
Need help cleaning your wood floors? Contact us today!