Hardwood floor creates a warm and inviting atmosphere in any room. It is a classy and eco-friendly covering made of natural materials. However, in order to preserve its quality and color, hardwood floor needs constant cleaning, care and protection. This is especially important during the winter months, when dirt, moisture or dry air can damage or contaminate the wood. Here are some of the problems that might occur during the cold months and a few tips you could use to avoid damage.
- Excess moisture
Moisture can cause serious damage to wood surfaces. Apart from staining and warping them, it might cause them to lose their original color. In addition, humidity facilitates the development of unpleasant mold and mildew colonies.
Together with moisture, winter shoes can bring in a lot of contamination. Sludge and mud are indispensable part of the winter season. We need to be careful or we will need to do a huge amount of hard floor cleaning.
Each winter, tons of salt are spread over the icy streets and sidewalk. Its main function is to prevent freezing and slipping. Despite its positive effect on the streets, we should be aware of the damage it might cause at home. Road salt consists of Calcium Chloride crystals. They can cause chemical damage to the floor, but also scratch the wood surface.
- Dry air
During winter months, homes are heated and indoor air is dry. The low levels of humidity cause the wood to dry out and shrink. As a result, numerous cracks and gaps are likely to appear in the floor covering.
- Regular cleaning
With all the moisture and contamination in the winter, hardwood floor would require regular cleaning. Be particularly careful with the entry hall, as it usually gets the most action during the day. Sweep it and vacuum it regularly. Encourage other members of the family to clean and wipe the floor every time they enter the house with wet shoes.
- No shoes
Apply the no-shoes policy in order to save yourself time and effort. Ask family members to take their shoes off before they enter. (Tell them they can choose between that and constant floor cleaning!)
- Clean pet paws
Since pets cannot take their shoes off, you will need to clean their paws. Put a basin with water near the door, so that when the dog is back from its daily walk, you can immediately make it clean and prevent dirty footprints on the floor.
- Floor mats
Floor mats, floor mats and more floor mats. That is the best solution against dirt and sludge in winter. Place a few right in front of the entry door. Thus, even if somebody forgets to take their shoes off, they will step on the mat and protect the wood.
- Constant temperatures
The frequent raising and dropping of the temperature will make hardwood covering vulnerable and cause it to crack easily. Check your thermostat and make sure it maintains regular temperature at home. Avoid turning the heat up and down constantly.
- Reduce ventilation
Avoid excessive ventilation at home. That will protect your floor from cracks and gapping. In addition, it will reduce the amount of energy you use and avoid unnecessary heat loss.
- Add moisture
What is meant here is adding moisture to the air, and not directly to the wood surface. You can do that by turning off the bathroom fan, leaving the dishwasher open after each cycle and even hanging the laundry to dry inside.
- Get a humidifier
That is another smart solution to air dehydration. Install a humidifier and it will restore the normal levels of moisture. You can choose between a humidifier for a single room and one for the whole house.
- Buy a winter formula spray
Check the local store for a winter formula spray. Make sure it is one designed for hard wood surfaces, so that it won’t damage it. Use it during weekly cleaning to protect the wood from scratches, mold and contamination. There are also sprays that will maintain the normal levels of moisture and prevent the surface from cracks.
- Preserve the luster
Every once in a while, polish the wood floor. It is best if you use natural products, such as olive oil in order to restore and preserve the luster of the covering.
If you have any troubles or doubts, turn to a professional maintenance and cleaning company. Try to find one that specializes in hard wood surfaces. They will demonstrate and advise you how to protect the wooden floor. In case you don’t want to handle that on your own, ask them for regular cleaning service. Thus, you will preserve the vintage looks of your wooden floor and save yourself time and energy.