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As I have mentioned here several times before, hardwood floors can be a real selling point in the eyes of some home buyers. They have a charm and appeal that is hard to deny, for sure. But only if it’s properly taken care of.
In some homes the hardwood flooring is brand new, recently laid and finished with all kinds of modern varnishes and protectants. In others it’s that lovely older stuff that has taken on a very special charm of its own over the years. Whatever kind of hardwood flooring you have in your home in order to maintain its aesthetic charm it does need a little extra TLC, especially if you are planning to sell the home and hope the hardwood look will add extra allure for potential buyers.
Caring for Hardwood on a Regular Basis
For many homeowners, aside from its good looks one of the most appealing aspects of hardwood flooring is how simple the basic daily maintenance is. A once over with a broom and most of the dust, dirt and allergens are swept away, no hauling out of the vacuum required.
There is a little more to hardwood floor cleaning best practices than that though. Every day sweeping is an excellent idea but inevitably some of that dirt and dust won’t make it into the dustpan but be driven down into the joins between the individual hardwood planks instead. Over time that build up becomes grimy to look at and rather unsanitary to boot, which is why scheduling a visit from a company offering professional hardwood floor prior to putting your home on the market for sale is a wise investment.
As such a service, which will get all of that debris out of those difficult nooks and crannies and truly refresh and rejuvenate the wood in general, is only really called for once when preparing and staging your home for sale what can a homeowner do going forward to keep their hardwood floors in great shape? And perhaps more importantly, what shouldn’t they be doing? Here are some useful pointers:
Wet Mopping is a No No
You have a showing booked and the Realtor will be over in an hour. You’ve just wet mopped the tile floor in the kitchen so why not just give the hardwood floors in the
living room a once over in the same way to save some time? Well because it’s a terrible idea.
The one thing that hardwood flooring really does not do well with is an excessive amount of water. Even if you are fairly diligent about drying the floor off there will still inevitably be some excess moisture left behind which could lead to hard to clean off – and rather ugly – water staining and even, over time if you do it often enough, mold and mildew in the flooring seams which is a much more serious problem that may eventually require expensive professional remediation that could delay, or even kill, a potential sale.
Be Careful with Hardwood Floor Cleaners
If you head to the average grocery store right there in the cleaning products aisle you will find all kinds of ‘specialist’ hardwood cleaners. While the occasional use of the right product once in a while will help the floor look shinier, the right product is the operative word.
Harsh chemicals are never a good idea for use on hardwood flooring of any type – and certainly not on a softer option like cherry – and so even if a chemical product says it is suitable for hardwood cleaning proceed with extreme caution. Some of these products can permanently discolor hardwood which is something that even a professional cleaning can’t fix, leaving you faced with an expensive sanding and refinishing job that you never needed before making a product mistake.
To be safe stick to a product like Murphy’s Oil Soap which cleans well and even smells rather nice and don’t overuse it or a nasty sticky film may still build up.
Simple Stain Removal
Stain removal for hardwood floors is not a subject generally discussed that often because it takes quite a lot to stain a well finished hardwood floor. Most simple spills can be taken care of with the prompt use of a clean rag dampened with a solution of warm water and mild detergent, making sure to completely and thoroughly dry the area with a dry rag or paper towels immediately after.
What if the spill is a little nastier though? A bottle of nail polish or oil that is accidentally tracked in from outside? These are a little trickier. If you catch the spill right away when still tacky carefully applying mineral spirits (a mild, petroleum-based solvent that painters sometimes use instead of turpentine to clean paint brushes) Dried stains are tougher and sometimes have to involve sanding away the stain so you may be best advised to consult with a professional if the stain is a larger one to avoid permanent damage to the floor.