Once your oak flooring has been installed, knowing how to correctly clean and maintain it is incredibly important, although very simple. This is not just to ensure overall cleanliness but also to avoid accidental damage to your flooring by using inadequate or unsuitable cleaning products and techniques. One of the biggest challenges that can contribute to the deterioration of the appearance and performance of your beautiful oak flooring is gravel and dirt. Even seemingly innocent and tiny pieces of dirt can cause scratches and leave lasting damage to the flooring unless properly and quickly removed.
Oak flooring actually requires lower levels of maintenance than most other flooring types such as carpets. When you consider how carpets attract and then enable perfect living conditions for dust-mites and spores deep within their pile, it’s no wonder that many allergy sufferers choose oak flooring for their homes. It is simply easier to keep clean and thus creates a healthier living environment.
Installing oak flooring instead of carpets will benefit anyone within the household who suffers from a dust-related or breathing allergy, since it makes internal environments far more clean and breathable.
In order to keep on top of your oak flooring, it should be dusted and swept once a week, depending on its usage. In addition, whenever the flooring is exposed to dirt or grit it should be cleaned quickly afterwards.
Tips To Take Care Of Your Oak Flooring:
- Do not use regular household cleaning and dusting utensils: More often than not using these products will actually cause damage to your oak flooring. When cleaning these surfaces you should only use products that have been specifically designed for use on them.
- Never mop oak flooring: Using water to clean your oak flooring can cause permanent damage, not just to the surface but also via the fact that it wants to soak up any moisture it can find. Using a slightly damp cloth to clean the surfaces can be a good way of cleaning oak flooring, however avoid pouring water directly onto the surface.
- Don’t use ammonia on oak flooring.
- When moving furniture on oak flooring never drag it: This will scratch the surface of the oak flooring damaging it permanently. Where possible always lift furniture when moving across oak furniture. Better still, fix felt protector pads to the bottom of all the legs of furniture in order to prevent the occurrence of gouges and scratches.
Ongoing Tips To Protect Your Oak Flooring And Increase Longevity:
- Use a vacuum to clean your oak flooring: Using a vacuum to clean the dust, dirt and grit from your oak flooring is preferable to any other contact based cleaning method as it means that all the particles on the surface of the floor can be effectively removed. In some cases it’s OK to use a soft brush to gather dust and dirt into areas for vacuuming but always be careful that the dust does not contain anything that will scratch the surface of the flooring during the brushing process. When using the vacuum method, make sure that you use the bare floor attachment, as other fittings can cause damage to the flooring.
- Protect your oak flooring from direct sunlight with blinds and sheers: Extended periods of direct exposure to sunlight can cause oak flooring to change in colour. In order to prevent this from happening, use blinds and sheers over the windows. Because oak is a natural product that has been cut from a growing tree, some colour change is inevitable over time but when direct sunlight is allowed to shine onto small areas only, this can result in a ‘patchy’ appearance.
- Be careful of which shoes you wear on your oak flooring: The best policy is to remove all shoes at the door and to wear slippers in the home. If this is not an option, ensure that heeled shoes are kept in good condition and that you use a door matt to remove all excess grit and dirt from shoes as people enter the home. High heels and stilettos should be avoided at all costs.
- Keep the nails of all pets well-trimmed.
- Use rugs and mats to protect your flooring in areas of high traffic: If possible and practical, move the rugs around the interior occasionally, so the gradual discolouration that occurs from aging remains consistent throughout the whole floor surface.
- Be careful when using rubber and vinyl mats with your oak flooring: This is because these mats can trap moisture under them, which can cause problems.
- Clean all spillages immediately: If and when spillage occurs on your oak flooring, use either paper towels or a dry cloth to immediately dry them. If the spillage is sticky then use a slightly warm and damp cloth, however the flooring should then be cleaned and dried immediately.