Hardwood floors are beautiful, durable, and add a lot of value to a home. And, yet, many people are scared of them because they have a reputation of being high maintenance. One of the biggest complaints people have is that their once shiny hardwood floor has become dull and dingy.
There are a few different reasons why hardwood may lose its shine. Most of the time, a simple fix or change in your routine will take care of the issue. Hardwood is great and if you take care of it properly, it will shine for years.
Does the Floor Need to Be Refinished?
The finish on hardwood floors does not last forever. It is possible that your floors need to be refinished. You can extend the life of a floor finish by making a no shoe policy, clipping pet nails, and using furniture protectors. Even with these precautions, a hardwood floor will eventually need to be refinished.
If droplets of water bead up on the most worn parts of your floor, then your finish is likely intact. If, however, droplets of water soak into the floor, turning it white or gray, your finish needs some attention.
If you regularly use wax on your floor, it may need to be stripped off. Over time, waxing actually dulls the finish of your floor. Waxing should only be done twice a year, but a lot of people end up doing it more often.
The solution is to find a commercial product that can help you remove the wax buildup from your floor. Once you get that job done, stick to the two waxings a year rule.
Are You Mopping a Dirty Floor?
Another common cause for dull hardwood is mopping a dirty floor. You may not do it intentionally or think that you're sweeping correctly, but it can be an issue.
Before you attempt to use any wet mop, the floor needs to be thoroughly swept or vacuumed. Leaving dirt and particles on the floor to be mixed and shuffled around with a wet mop will leave streaks, scratches, and residue on the floor. If you decide to sweep, use a dust mop rather than a broom to avoid scratching the surface.
Using the Right Product
There are a lot of products that market themselves as hardwood floor cleaners. Unfortunately, many of them simply don't measure up. You may need to search out the appropriate cleaner for the exact type of flooring you have.
A good place to start is finding out what the floor manufacturer recommends. Be warned that they may suggest their own product. It will, however, give you a good idea of the type of product you should be looking at.
You are not doomed to buy expensive hardwood floor cleaner for the rest of your life. However, it may take a little experimenting to find a cleaner that leaves the wood the way you want it to look.
Using Too Much Cleaner?
Knowing how much of any cleaner to use is an important skill. It's tempting to add a lot of it, thinking it will help you get that desired shine. In most cases, this doesn't work out well at all. Remember that more soap does not equal a cleaner surface.
Floor cleaner is rarely used liberally. Instead, it is used in small amounts. This is especially important for hardwood floors that can become damaged if they get too wet. Use products and water sparingly and wipe up spills right away. Protect the floors, and they will keep their beauty.
Are You Buffing Your Hardwood Floors Dry?
One other trick that can help restore shine to your hardwood floors is to buff them after mopping. Some swear by clean cloth diapers to buff her floors to shine. Others use microfiber cloths or flat mop heads to get the job done.
Failing to buff a drying floor is begging for streaks that will keep your floor from looking shiny. Take the time to buff the floor dry and enjoy the shine.