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Hardwood floors around the house are a popular thing these days, and people want to know the best ways to keep them looking great whether it’s for a party with friends or for your own peace of mind. Here are a few tips on cleaning hardwood and getting the most out of it:

Maintain your hardwood – It is a good idea to regularly give your floors a quick sweep or vacuum every few days to keep excessive amounts of dust from building up on them.

Reduce pet hair – We all know pets are known for shedding quite a bit of hair, especially coming into the spring/summer seasons. A great way to minimize the amount that gets onto your floors is by simply giving them a full body brush outside of the house. This will keep future hair loss from your pet down to a minimum inside the house.

Dealing with spills – Spilling liquids or pet accidents can happen at any time. It is important to know that these must me soaked up ASAP as they can ruin the finish on the hardwood and cause permanent stains. Use a cleaning rag or microfiber cloth to soak up spills.

Using water – Wood absorbs water and in turn makes it expand. Using too much water when cleaning hardwood floors can cause it too warp and do serious damage to them. You should minimize floor washing and choose something that won’t damage the wood and will maintain it’s natural look.

Washing – As stated above, do not use excessive amount of water. If anything you should use a damp mop which will help get rid of any extra dirt and dust that might be stuck in any grooves. Another option is to wash it on your hands and knees so you have more control over how much water goes onto the floor. Whichever method you choose, be sure to buff the hardwood with a dry mop immediately after.

Using vinegar – Some people suggest using a mix of vinegar and water for cleaning hardwood floors, but because of the acidity in the vinegar it can actually damage the floor’s finish. If used, it should be a very diluted mixture and never used on a wax finish.

Using tea – Black tea has been known to be a natural cleaning agent for darker hardwood floors. Simply steep one or two bags in boiling water. When it has cooled down, moisten a cloth in the solution and start washing.

Warranty tip – Be aware that using vinegar, water, tea or anything else not approved by the flooring manufacturer will likely void the warranty on the hardwood.

Sanding the floor – Sanding will need to be done if you are planning on refinishing the floor due to damage or staining. This can be a big project but is a more affordable option than purchasing a whole new floor.

Scuff sanding – If there is damage to only the finish on the floor and not the wood itself, it can be easily fixed by lightly sanding the area with an electric buffer smooth out the scuff.

Removing dust – It is important that you make sure as much dust from the floor is removed after sanding before refinishing your hardwood. You don’t want any dust particles being sealed into the floor.

Eco-friendly finish – There are many plant based oils to choose from when refinishing a hardwood floor. Make sure it is non-toxic with no VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). There is also a clear coating made from recycled whey protein. To naturally maintain your hardwood and ensure zero risk of damage, a good choice would be to use Murphy’s oil soap or another oil based polish that will give your hardwood a clean new look.