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How to clean hardwood floors

Over the years, home interior trends have continued to change. What's popular one year might seem dated the next. Hardwood floors, however, are one popular trend that has managed to maintain its popularity.

Renters and homeowners alike are head over heels for hardwood floors, enjoying their aesthetic appeal and their tendency to never go out of style, particularly when compared to other flooring alternatives. Hardwood floors can also be much easier to maintain. Whereas carpets are susceptible to hard-to-remove stains and dirt that might never go away, hardwood floors can be very easy to clean, maintaining their "good as new" look for years if homeowners take simple steps to keep them clean.

* Be diligent on a daily basis. Hardwood floors are typically easier to maintain than carpet, but that doesn't mean homeowners should be lax with regards to hardwood floors. Some daily maintenance can significantly increase the floor's life expectancy. Should any spills occur, clean up after them immediately to avoid warping. In addition, address any scuff marks at night after dinner. When it rains or snows outside, make sure no one wears their shoes around the home inside. Place a mat near the entryway and instruct all family members and guests to remove their shoes before walking on the floor. This will greatly reduce the likelihood of water damage.

* Sweep or mop on a regular basis. A dry microfiber mop will keep the floor clean and looking good while ensuring there is no water damage. It might not be necessary to mop every day, but homeowners who want to extend their floor's life can use a broom or vacuum to keep their floor dirt-free.

* Periodically give the floor a thorough cleaning. It isn't necessary to give the floor a thorough cleaning every night before going to bed. However, every so often thoroughly clean the floor beyond dry mopping or vacuuming. Check with the manufacturer before doing anything, as the type of floor will dictate which is the best approach. Some manufacturers suggest certain polishes or cleaning solutions, while others advise against such options.

If there are no manufacturer instructions or if you're a tenant and the landlord doesn't have the manufacturer's instructions, a damp cloth is almost always a viable way to clean a hardwood floor. Dampen a cloth and scrub the floor but be sure to avoid soaking the cloth. A soaked cloth will likely cause water damage, while a damp cloth will pick up dirt and debris without harming the floor. Once finished, go over the floor with a dry rag to reduce the risk of water damage.

When purchasing a care kit for wood floors, be careful to read the ingredients first. Some kits contain ingredients that can be very harmful to floors. Renters or homeowners unsure of certain ingredients should consult a wood floor specialist before applying any solutions to their floors. Renters who damage the floor could lose their security deposit if the landlord determines the floors need to be replaced or fixed by a professional.

Wood floors remain one of the most popular flooring options to homeowners and renters alike, and some simple maintenance can keep hardwood floors looking good for years to come.