With today’s trends for cream carpets and solid Wood Flooring it can often be a nightmare to protect and keep clean carpets and floors without becoming obsessive. Although many of us will fork out hundreds of pounds for beautiful flooring, when it comes to its maintenance, the chemicals and methods we use can actually be more damaging than we know. In fact, the best way to protect solid wood floors from damage is to prevent it in the first place so we have compiled the top five tips below for keeping your flooring in the best condition possible – and for keeping those mites at bay of course!
It may be pretty obvious, but the longer a liquid sits on the surface the more time it has to penetrate the fibres so that no matter how hard you clean, you have passed the point of retrieve. Beware that wood flooring can be easily spoiled by liquids, even water, and so always ensure that your vases, glasses, mugs and burning candles are placed on protective coasters, as near as possible to the room’s walls to avoid accidental knocks.
When spills do occur, immediately wipe and dry the area. A key pointer to note is that even flat head mops which use wipes can stain wood flooring if left concentrated on one surface area for too long, i.e. propped against a wall.
Keep High Usage Areas Covered
For areas where there is a lot of activity, such as hallway landings and by the front and back door, place attractive rugs or door mats which should help in removing some of the outside debris before it gets walked through the house. They will also protect the flooring where people tend to stand for longer.
Don’t be embarrassed to ask guests to remove their shoes either – narrow heels can be disastrous on flooring and even flat shoes collect stones which can scratch floor surfaces. You can always make your shoe removal request tongue-in-cheek by purchasing some silly slippers or socks for those who don’t like having their feet on display.
Hoovering and Sweeping
The simplest way to keep larger particles of obvious dirt from you flooring is to hoover or sweep it at least once a week. For wood flooring sweeping or vacuuming is actually a safer option than mopping because it lowers the risk of dirt and grit scratching the wood, which is more common when mopping. For carpet cleaning it is sometimes a nice touch to use a scented powder carpet freshener like Shake N’ Vac on the carpet before hoovering to create a pleasant smell and liven up the air a little.
Did you know that in 1m² of carpet there are approximately 100,000 dust mites? The simple fact is that wood flooring does not collect as much dust, germs or bacteria as carpets. Many asthma and hay fever sufferers and people with animal allergies can actually have their symptoms triggered by harmful allergens in their carpets. For example, asthma suffers are sensitive to the droppings of house dust mites that build up in carpets, hay fever sufferers to the pollen deposits and animal allergics to pet hair. Heating, air conditioning or dehumidifying the air (below 40%) will help to minimise dust mites in that room, but not eliminate them. Therefore it is extremely important to arrange for carpets to be chemically cleaned by a professional at least once or twice every year.
Flat surfaces such as wood, marble and lino are much simpler to keep hygienic as chemicals can be purchased with ease at local supermarkets to kill germs and keep pollen, animal hair and dust mites from clinging to the flooring. If you are cleaning marble or wood flooring, avoid multi-purpose cleaning agents and instead opt for a high alkaline cleaning product which you can water down so as not to alter the appearance of the flooring. For an extra high shine try using distilled filtered water as it does not leave hard water strips on the floor.
Where possible, always lift and never drag your furniture when moving as this can often damage the floor surface, whether it rips threads in the carpet or scratches wood flooring – you would be surprised how often people forget about the floor when doing this! For heavy items why not use felt pads or feet coasters as further cushioning between the furniture and floor to further reduce the chances of damage.
Think about chairs which you move regularly too – often dining chairs are pulled in and out from the table and we overlook the effect this has on flat surfaces like laminate, tiles or wood. Placing felt pads underneath each of the four chair legs can help reduce the wear on your flooring. Finally if you have any pets, don’t forget to regularly trim their claws to further protect the flooring.
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