Scrub Solid Wood Flooring Successfully
As a fairly large percentage of London homes have retained their original solid wood flooring, it is always good to know how to scrub and maintain floors and keep them in optimum condition. This is especially true if you have inherited the floor from past owners and it is in need of a clean-up. This could lead to a game of ‘guess the stains’, and how best to remove them! Using the wrong method of cleaning can be disastrous to both hard and softwood flooring.
However once you have the floor properly cleaned it is a simple task to keep it in good condition, so if you are gazing at a wood floor right now and wondering where on earth to start – begin here by reading this blog.
The best way to keep a wood floor looking great is to clean up stains immediately, but if you have inherited a floor this may not be an option. The biggest stain problem is usually marks caused by water or liquid that has been left to seep through the floorboard gaps and puddle on the planks, causing warping and discolouration.
If the floor is in reasonably good condition apart from a few stain spots then it may be worth considering sealing the floor afterwards with a protective polyurethane-based sealant. This will add sheen to the floor, but that doesn’t mean you can forgo the maintenance and scrubbing. But it will add a protective shield to the veneer of the floor, making the finishing last longer. If a matt finish is preferred then change the polyurethane for a wax-based sealing product.
Light footprints, paw marks (not scrapes) and small dust particles can all be safely removed with a slightly moist mop. Never mop floors with an overly wet mop or leave water to dry into the wood.
Untended grit and small stones trekked in from outside will leave tiny scores on the floor’s smooth surface, rather like skate marks on ice. These can be extremely difficult to eradicate, but can be minimised by the use of hallway mats, feature rugs and avoiding wearing outdoor shoes inside.
In the cases of mildew presence or a musty odour you can introduce a little white vinegar to the cleaning water.
Successful stain removal
Ground in or untreated stains may require a little more work though and in such cases you can (gently) use a lightly moistened scrub pad or steel wool. This should only be used with patience and care, and avoid rubbing into the veneer.
Gums, paint and crayon scores can be removed with a careful application of white spirit on a lint-free rag.
Common stains made by wine, grease, oil or detergent can be removed with a white toothpaste applied with a child-sized toothbrush.
If there is a smell of old pet urine but you cannot locate the actual spot, work on the general area using a warm damp cloth and a little bit of mild household scourer. If you intend refinishing the flooring in any case then remove all traces of urine with a ratio of one-tenth bleach to tepid water and apply with a mop.
Whatever the stain always remove all traces of the cleaning solution and dry thoroughly.
If your floor is badly stained, has rust marks or is stained across large areas your best bet is to call in a professional floor sanding company for an initial assessment and expert advice.
Once your floor has been made beautiful again it will be the focal point of any type of room, and therefore worth spending time on.