There is little doubt that hardwood floors present a chic, urbane, and classy appearance. Rivals, such as marble or rare stone, can come off as gaudy, whereas lower flooring forms, such as vinyl or carpet, can look tacky. However, if you already possess hardwood floors, there is no doubt that you are well aware of these truths already.
Once acquired, hardwood floors do require a certain level of maintenance to ensure maximum functionality and beauty. Depending on the species of wood you own, how much surface area it covers, and the time you have to clean it, the way in which one should approach this care varies somewhat. However, there are some general principles and rules concerning the upkeep of hard wood flooring and the application of a hardwood floor cleaner.
You should always sweep or vacuum first.
This is important to note because one can actually HARM their hardwood floors badly if this is not done before other cleaning steps. This is because if you go to wipe it down with a floor wax and there is surface dirt, food particles, and/or mildew sitting there, chances are you are going to scrape the wood as you mop by running them into the grain. Furthermore, you will likely lock in these unsightly and harmful elements under that wax, securing them to the floor. Then as people walk over the floor, the filth and soil get imbedded in your wood altering its ambiance and allure. So, just do a fast pickup of exterior soot and you can obviate these potential problems.
The second major step is to wash the surface with a wood oil. The oil is often applied to a mop and then spread about where cleaning is needed. Once this is done, let the wood oil sit for whatever period of time the instructions say. Then, get a clean dry mop and remove the fluid.
The last main element is to wax your hardwood floors. However, for general maintenance the first two processes mentioned are often all that is needed. Waxing is only necessary about every 2 to 3 years or so, depending on the foot traffic in the home and on the durability of the particular species of wood. For more on waxing your floor browse the Hardwood Plaza.