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11 Best Tips for Cleaning and Maintaining Wood Floors

When you look at your company's wood floors, do you immediately think of Old West saloon floors that have suffered through a lot of dusty, hard boots and gouging rusty spurs? If you nodded yes, then your wood floors are definitely due for a cleaning.

Everyone admires the polished beauty of well-maintained wood floors. While everyday maintenance of wood floors should involve sweeping and protecting it from rough traffic that produces deep scratches, wood floors also need regularly cleaned with special products to retain its natural elegance. The best floor cleaners are especially created to properly clean your wood floors and are available at cleaning supply stores catering to small and medium-sized businesses.

1. Certain cleaners will leave a dull residue. For example, oil soaps will only dull the shine of a wood floor and make it more difficult to recoat.

2. No wet mops! Wood floors expand when exposed to moisture and may splinter or crack

3. To clean stains on wood floors with oiled, soft finishes, use a 000 steel wool pad and high-quality floor wax. If that doesn't work, let a bit of vinegar soak on the spot for an hour and rinse with a damp (not wet) cloth.

4. Remove heel marks with floor wax and a fine steel wool pad.

5. White stains or water marks can be eliminated using floor wax and 000 steel wool pad. For deeper stains, gently sand the spot and then clean with mineral spirits and a very fine, steel wool pad.

6. Use only professional hardwood floor cleaners to remove occasional scuffs and heel marks (just spray some cleaner on a cloth and rub the stained area lightly). Cleaning supply retailers carry spray cleaners designed for today's hardwood flooring.

7. Never use a wax on a wood floor with a urethane finish.

8. Don't use ammonia cleaners on a wood floor. They will dull the finish and affect your ability to recoat later, if necessary.

9. Sprinkle talcum powder into squeaky cracks to stop the annoying squeaks. It's just wood rubbing against each other and the powder removes the friction causing the squeak.

10. Remove tough scuff marks with 1/2 cup of a solution containing trisodium phosphate (TSP) and two gallons of hot water.

11. Never apply cleaning products meant for tile or sheet vinyl to wood floors. Self-polishing waxes like acrylic waxes make wood floors slippery and dull.

The National Wood Flooring Association recommends buffering your wood floors if damage cannot be removed by using professional cleaning products. However, sometimes buffering doesn't work because the floors simply need a complete rewaxing to restore its original, rich shine.

If you have questions about which products can be safely used on your company's wood floors, don't hesitate to ask the people who know more about wood floor maintenance than anybody else... the representatives at your cleaning supply store.

Written by Bryan Neves of
Bryan Neves is Veteran of the US Air Force and Owner of National Paper, a family-operated business that enjoys providing great service and low pricing on janitorial, foodservice and industrial items.

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