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Caring For Your New Hardwood Floors

Many new home buyers shake their heads at the thought of professional cleaners deep cleaning hardwood floors. They don’t realize just how much dirt and gunk can get into the nooks, crannies and crevices of wood floors or understand what dirt and gunk can do to the finish of a wood floor. Nor do they think of cleaning them properly. So here’s the down and dirty on cleaning hardwood floors.

What Kind of Dirt and Gunk?

Look at it this way. When you step through the front door of your home, whatever you walked through all day is on the bottom of your shoes –chemicals, broken glass, small stones caught in the tread of the shoe, leaves, twigs, pine straw, animal stuff, sand, dirt and the list goes on and on. All that is going to walk across your hardwood floor. It will scratch, scour and scrape the finish, which is the first thing your shoe will encounter on your wood floor.

Now think of what’s on the bottom of the grocery or shopping bags you just placed on the front porch while you dug out your keys. Consider what’s on the bottom of the boxes UPS just delivered to your front door. The kids will be home from school soon, carrying on their shoes whatever they’ve encountered that day. We’re not even going to mention where the dog has been. All that is getting stamped into your wood floors by persons weighing 50 pounds and up.

Where In the Floors Does Dirt Hide?

To answer that, you’ll need to know how the hardwood floors are installed. Some wood floors use tongue-and-groove installation, much like putting together puzzle pieces. The just slide into one another. Other wood floors are nailed or stapled to the subfloor. Some wood floors are attached to each other with either nails, staples or tongue-and-groove, and then they are floated above the subfloor.

Next you need to know about relative humidity and wood floors. Wood doesn’t die when the tree is cut down. It still reacts to heat and cold, just like its cousins in the forests. When the wood expands, dirt and grit have more chances to get into the nooks and crannies. When it contracts, then the dirt and grit is trapped in the spaces between planks.

When wood floors are improperly cleaned, the dirt and gunk get more added to it. Chemical cleaners eat away at the finish on the wood, making it sticky to the touch. Dirt and gunk get covered over with this mess, making layers.

How to Properly Clean Hardwood Floors

In between calls to professional cleaners, take a dust mop to the hardwood floor. The newest ones are made of microfiber, something we are very glad was invented. It traps dirt, dust and gunk in its fibers, and you just toss it in the wash before you clean next time. If the wood floors look like they could use a mop, then just barely wet one, preferably one with strings instead of a sponge. Standing water on a wood floor eats up the finish. So just barely wet a string mop and go over the floor once.

Professional cleaners will vacuum the floor and then clean it with an alkaline cleanser and a squeegee that gets all the dirt and gunk deep down in the crevices. They will then go back over the floor with a vacuum to get up the trapped dirt and gunk. A special cleaner is applied that keeps the pH balance of the wood intact. Edges and stairs are done by hand.

To keep your wood floors looking beautiful after the house is built, don’t use scratchy brooms or the vacuum on the wood floor. If vacuuming, use the attachment with soft bristles. Dust mop the floors, and damp mop if necessary.

Are you looking for a new home in Orange County, Long Beach or the Los Angeles metro area where you can install beautiful new hardwood floors?? Brandywine Homes is opening six new communities this year offering a combined 265 single-family homes and townhomes. Click here for more information.