Precautions To Take When Cleaning Old Wood Floors

Though contemporary floors are often considered one of the best flooring options for your home, antique hardwood floors are a treasure. They add beauty and character to your home and may even have as rich a history as the whole house. However, they are much more delicate than modern floors, so they require special care to maintain them. Consequently, certain precautions you should take when cleaning old wood floors include brushing away dirt, using a gentle cleanser, and not letting them get too wet.

A simple cleaning routine works best in matching their natural spirit and can keep your vintage hardwood floors in good shape. The first thing to know is that you want to do everything to guard against scratches and damage. Dirt from shoes can quickly become ingrained in the wood planks. Not only will it scratch the surface when walked on, but it will also gather in between the wood. Old wood floors should be swept frequently, if possible, on a daily basis. Always start your cleaning session with a sweep from a soft bristle broom to make sure all dirt and dust particles have been thoroughly removed. You can also use a vacuum, but make sure to use a soft bristle attachment that is gentle on the floor's surface.

Mop antique wood floors gently

Looking for the easiest way to clean hardwood floors? When you mop, be sure to avoid harsh cleaners and strong chemicals like ammonia, oil soaps, and anything abrasive. These can remove the natural oils that protect the wood, making it dry and crack. Avoid steam cleaners as well since the heat and moisture can warp floorboards and compromise their structural integrity.

All you really need is a mop and water or a cleaner specially formulated for your type of hardwood floor. In most cases, plain water is enough, but if you need a deeper clean, use a cleaner specifically made for wood floors. In addition, always use a damp mop, not a soaking one, since too much water can warp and possibly swell the antique wood. Before you mop, wring it out thoroughly until it's barely damp; the less water, the better. Always use a light touch when mopping to avoid damaging the floor. Once you are done mopping, dry the floor with a clean cloth to remove any lingering moisture.

Tips to keep old wood floors

While cleaning old wood floors is of prime importance, there are additional things you need to do to protect them in the long run. First, clean up spills immediately. You also might want to consider making it a home rule not to wear outside shoes in the house, particularly before walking on the hardwood floor, since any outside shoes can bring in dirt and debris. To prevent scratches, avoid high-heeled stiletto shoes on the floor. Even pet nails and children's toys can scratch an antique floor so have your pet's nails trimmed regularly and only allow children to play on parts of the floor that are covered, or better yet, in another room.

To that end, you can minimize scratches and wear on your antique wood floors by adding an extra layer of protection. Always use felt pads on furniture legs. Place area rugs strategically in high-traffic areas and move them around regularly. That also helps protect fragile wood from ongoing direct sunlight and curb potential fading. With proper care, hardwood floors will always be the right choice for a home.