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Caring for wooden floors

by Ofentse Sefolo
Caring for wooden floors

The cleaning of wooden floors, whether solid wood or engineered, dictates a particular cleaning and maintenance regime. Specialist advice from the Southern African Wood, Laminate and Flooring Association (SAWLFA) provides clear cleaning and maintenance guidelines for keeping wooden floors looking great for many years. Here are their top ten tips.

TOP TEN CLEANING TIPS FOR WOOD FLOORS

  1. Every floor must be dust mopped, vacuumed or swept with a soft bristle broom daily, or as often as necessary, to remove grit and dust from the surface. Walking on dusty or dirty floors is the fastest way to damage a finish.
  2. Place walk-off mats at all exterior entrances. This will capture much of the harmful dirt before it even reaches the hardwood floor. Shake out, wash or vacuum mats and area rugs frequently.
  3. Floor protector pads of soft felt or similar material should be placed on the bottom of the legs of the furniture. Floor protectors must be kept clean of grit and periodically replaced.
  4. Direct sunlight may cause fading of your wooden floor, so ensure that all doors and windows have UV filters, blinds or net curtains.
  5. Kitchen floors experience the most traffic in a home. To prevent premature wear of the floor, place an area rug in front of the sink and stove areas. It is these areas that take the most wear from scuffling while standing for long periods. Shake out or vacuum the rugs frequently.
  6. It is important to use a humidifier or dehumidifier in conjunction with a heating or air-conditioning system to maintain relative humidity in the home at 40-50%. This will maintain the moisture in the wood and minimise cracks between the boards, especially during dry winters.
  7. Do not wet a wood floor with water. When using any wood floor cleaner which requires mixing with water, follow mixing directions precisely. A cloth/mop dampened with water and squeezed dry may be used to wipe up foodstuffs and other spills, provided the area is buffed dry immediately.
  8. Heel or scuffmarks and stubborn stains may be removed by lightly rubbing with a cloth and a wood floor cleaner.
  9. Don’ts:
    • Never use sheet vinyl or tile floor care products on wood floors. Self-polishing acrylic waxes cause wood to become slippery and appear dull quickly. The only remedy for this situation is to re-coat or sand and refinish the floor.
    • Never wax a urethane floor. The majority of floors installed today have urethane finishes.
  10. Consult with a professional installer if in doubt or in need of advice about which products to use for a wooden floor.

Advanced finish technology and innovative products make wood one of the most beautiful and easy-care flooring materials today. SAWLFA offers these guidelines to help preserve a beautiful finish and keep maintenance to a minimum.

For more information, visit SAWLFA at www.sawlfa.co.za.

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