Cleaning and maintaining wood floors is important if they are to last for a while and to be kept good looking.
A wood floor can last for hundreds of years with the right care and acquire the lustrous patina of age.
Know Your Floor Finish
Apart from general sweeping and cleaning it’s important to know what finish you have on a Real Wood Floor. The options are usually wax, oil or a polyurethane varnish.
If it is wax or oil then it needs to be redone regularly, probably annually in a room that’s heavily trafficked. In both cases tend to stains before reapplying the finish.
Polyurethane varnish is much better as a protective surface but if it is damaged then it’s harder to repair. The area will need to be Sanded Down and the varnish reapplied and there’s a chance that the repair will show if the main coat of varnish has been down for some years.
One benefit of Re-applying a Finish such as oil or wax regularly is that you will spot all the knocks and dings that the floor has suffered since the last time.
It’s far better to prevent these in the first place so sweep regularly to remove any hard particles that can be ground in or scraped along by people’s feet.
Furniture feet should be protected by castor feet or furniture pads, and try to lift furniture when moving it rather than dragging it.
Repairing Dents in Wooden Floors
It is possible to lift small dents and knocks from wooden floors although the softer the wood the better the chance of success.
This is also a technique that will not work with a varnished floor, only one with an oil or wax finish.
Wipe the area clean then take clean damp (not wet!) tea towel or other cloth and press a warm (not hot!) iron on the affected area.
Start with short applications, ten seconds or so, and lift the cloth to check how it’s going and to watch for scorching. Leave it for successively longer periods, checking periodically.
If you are lucky the dent will lift out but make sure that you then turn the iron down low and run it over the area with clean paper towels to remove any moisture that the tea towel has left in the wood.
Then rub oil or wax onto the affected area as soon as it’s cool and dry.
If this isn’t successful then you haven’t really lost anything but you’ll eventually have to consider sanding back and re-finishing.
It’s not really worth doing that until there are a significant number of dents, stains and other damage though.
Take Care with Spills
Water ingress is the worst thing that can happen to a wood floor so it’s imperative to attack spills as soon as they occur.
Mop up with paper towels or other cloths but use newspaper only as a last resort. This is because the ink can stain badly, particularly if the spilt liquid is hot.
This all sounds a bit onerous but as we said at the beginning, regular maintaining and care is the key. Get into a routine and a wooden floor will last longer than any of us!