Gleaming hardwood flooring makes any home environment look warm, inviting, and elegant no matter what the style of the house or the type of interior decor the homeowner has chosen. If you're considering having your floors replaced with hardwood, you may be concerned that rambunctious children and pets will damage them to the extent that they will become unsightly in no time. Fortunately, hardwood flooring is tough, resilient, and difficult to damage. However, it never hurts to hedge your bets. Following are five strategies designed to maintain your hardwood floor and keep it looking good for years to come.
Practice Proper Cleaning Procedures
The most important thing to know about the daily maintenance involved in hardwood flooring upkeep is that harsh chemicals should never be used on a hardwood floor, and you should always use as little water as possible when cleaning your floor. Use a traditional dust mop or a Swiffer to remove debris such as dust and pet dander, and if necessary, damp mop the area using a small amount of water mixed with mild dish detergent. Always mop the floor going with the grain. Going over the floor with a soft cotton cloth afterwards is recommended to remove any soap residue and excess water.
Hardwood flooring can also be vacuumed, but you should take care to either use a vacuum cleaner that does not possess a beater bar or one that features a specific hardwood flooring mode.
Use Area Rugs
Placing area rugs in parts of the home with high traffic will save those who have active pets and children a lot of headaches. Specially designed rug pads can be placed under the area rugs to hold them in place, which helps prevent them from bunching, slipping, or otherwise posing a potential safety hazard.
Institute a No-Shoes-in-the-House Policy
Placing a shoe rack in the entryway and instituting a no-shoes policy in your indoor living space not only protects your hardwood floors from damage from dust and assorted debris, but it also helps keep you and your family healthy. Pathogens such as E. coli often hitch rides indoors on the soles of someone's shoes, as well as allergens, mold spores, and harsh chemicals used in lawn care and landscaping.
Keeping a box of disposable slippers by your front door provides guests with something to put on their feet before entering your home, especially if they aren't wearing socks.
Use a Long Outdoor Floor Mat
Even with a strict no-shoes policy in place, chances are that there will be times when someone slips past the entryway wearing shoes. Having a long outdoor floor mat in place right outside your door helps ensure that shoe bottoms are as debris-free as possible, especially if they've got slight ridges designed to loosen any soil that may be present in the soles of the shoes.
Keep Fido's Nails Trimmed
Homeowners who share their indoor living spaces with furry friends sometimes fail to take into account the damage that can be caused by a dog's toenails.Keeping your canine companion's toenails properly trimmed can help guard against this situation. As a general rule of thumb, if you can hear your dog's nails clicking and clacking when it walks across your hardwood floor, it's time to see the groomer for a trim.
It's also very important to avoid leaving standing liquid on your hardwood floors for very long. If your pup isn't completely housetrained, keep a sharp eye out for any accidents and clean them up immediately. Leaving them there can result in your floor becoming stained and warped.
Please feel free to contact your local hardwood flooring contractor for more information on best practices for hardwood flooring upkeep and maintenance.