Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

At Home: Beware of How You Clean Hardwood Floors

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

At Home: Beware of How You Clean Hardwood Floors

Article excerpt

Dear Angie: What's the best way to clean a hardwood floor? -- Les G., Baton Rouge, La.

Dear Les: Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any room and can really boost home value.

Installing hardwood flooring also can be a big investment, so proper care and maintenance -- including cleaning -- are important.

Laminate flooring is a bit more durable, but using the wrong cleaning supplies on hardwood can damage the wood and cause it to warp or even crack. So, here are some cleaning tips to help you safely care for your hardwood floor.

Floor cleaning don'ts

It's a no-brainer that wood flooring and moisture don't mix, so you'll want to avoid any cleaners that involve a mop and bucket.

Getting your floor wet can cause the wood to expand, warp or even buckle. Solutions using vinegar or ammonia are too harsh for hardwood floors and can leave behind residue. Steam cleaners are also a big no-no for hardwood, because the steam can actually crack the wood.

Similarly, commercial polish, waxes, abrasive soaps and floor cleaners can damage your floor's finish.

Most newer homes have finished hardwood floors that can withstand a small amount of moisture. But if your floor is unfinished, you'll want to avoid liquid or water-based cleaners altogether, because even a small drop of water can leave behind a stain.

Selecting supplies

Whether you've chosen a solid hardwood floor, or more durable engineered hardwood or bamboo, you'll want to follow the manufacturer's instructions when it comes to choosing cleaners.

If you purchased pre-finished hardwood flooring, check with the manufacturer for recommendations on which cleaning product to use. If your wood flooring was finished at the site by the installer, find out what type of finish was used and consult with the manufacturer. …

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