Photo by Salt Water New England

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Reader Question for the Community: Caring for wood floors?


Reader Question for the Community:

Dear Editor, 
 
How do your readers care for your wood floors?  Our 1890 multi-story home has gorgeous original wood floors and a great deal of decorative woodwork.  It used to provide great enjoyment and relaxation to carefully hand-clean all the wood in our home.  Now, with COVID, everyone is home, all the time.  The spouse, kids, and dogs are everywhere (increasing filth and eliminating the peace that made enjoyable cleaning possible).  Are RoboVac machines acceptable?  What are your routines?    
 
Thank you for your kind time and attention. 



12 comments:

  1. If the floor is greasy , I use detergent in hot water which is wiped on with a string mop . Let it dry well before walking on or it's foot print Hell . For dust I find the towel-style strip bars sufficient to gather up dust . Those machines you mention are slow , noisy and a rather pathetic use of technology looking for a purpose . LOL .

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  2. Although our house is only about 40 years old, we have a wooden kitchen floor, which I imagine is a little unusual. We had it put in when we had the kitchen remodeled something over ten years ago. It was prefinished and has held up perfectly well--for a kitchen floor. We do very little frying, so there's no grease problem. But spots appear nevertheless from things dripping. After vacuuming or sweeping, the spots are easily removed with something like Windex and elbow grease(!). But it's just the two of us now and there's no heavy traffic. I don't know what the wood is, some kind of South American hardwood, I think. The other floors are oak, which get vacuumed once in a while.

    We were a little hesitant about a wood floor in the kitchen but it's held up perfectly well. It has faded a little, just like they said it would. Previously, the floor and the countertop was tile and nothing bounces on tile. But then, nothing does on granite, either.

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  3. I get down on my seventy-one year old knees, spray Bona, and wipe with an old dishrag. The floors are swept weekly and as needed. The rugs are vacuumed as needed. Since our beloved English setter died in May the need has been less. We are getting TWO rescue setters next week. Hallelujah! Dogs are many times over worth the added work, and for anyone who has never had the pleasure, English setters are the absolute best creatures. Such goofy dears.

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    Replies
    1. A house with 2 dogs and a man that cleans. I would buy that book and read it over and over again.

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  4. Any recommendations for treating scratches in the wood? Our new home has original hardwoods in the kitchen, hallways, and dining room, and our dog’s nails are taking a toll on the wood.

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  5. I’ve been using Howard’s products for years and they are the best for scratches and perking up dull wood. Restor-A-Finish is a unique finish-penetrating formula that restores wood finishes while blending out minor scratches, blemishes and abrasions
    Available in nine colors to match almost any wood finish tone; Neutral, Maple-Pine, Golden Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Mahogany, Dark Walnut, Dark Oak, and Ebony Brown
    With a simple wipe-on, wipe-off process, most finished wood surfaces that seem to need a complete refinishing job can be restored in a few minutes
    Removes white heat rings and water marks, sun fade, oxidation, smoke damage and most other blemishes
    Restor-A-Finish restores the finish without removing any of the existing finish
    Before you go to the extreme of stripping it, restore it

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  6. Although I really love, respect, and admire the original 18"-20" w. pine board floors in the two big front rooms of my 1721 house, it's a big chore to clean them.

    Over the years, they've been painted with walnut brown semi-gloss, which shows all the dust, random ash from the huge fireplaces, old plaster fallout, pet hairs, etc.

    The boards shrink and expand, depending on the temperature and humidity, but there are always gaps between them. So, first, the floorboards get a once-over with a dry Swiffer. Then, all the gaps have to be laboriously vacuumed out with the narrow nozzle attachment of the vacuum cleaner. THEN, I use a wet (battery-op) Swiffer up & down each board, one by one, because it's flexible enough to accomodate the uneven irregularities of the old boards. If I used a wet mop & bucket, the damp grunge would accumulate in the floorboard gaps.

    Obviously, doing these floors is my #1 most-procrastinated household task.

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  7. I am grateful for all these ideas. I live in an old late 17th-early 18th century house which I inherited from my parents. And I am at a loss what do do about the floors. I can hear in my memory bank my mother's friends oooh and ahh over her floors and ask "how do you do it?" She usually smiled demurely but I knew better. She worked her tail off with products I don't think any one uses any more. Certain wooden (chestnut? oak?) floors (like the bathroom) she oiled on hand and knee with lemon oil. Others she dusted with a rag mop (no additives) and then a couple times a year used butcher's wax on them and a electric polisher. I am always looking for short cuts. Washing them with Murphy's Oil Soap and water has proved disastrous causing them to lose their patina. Swiffer mops or squirted mop and dust products provide a short-lived solution. Maybe there's no substitute for hard work. It kept her healthy late into her eighties. Time to take a lesson???

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  8. When I turned 12, I inherited the chore of taking care of the wooden floors in our house. This meant getting down on hands and knees to clean them with very light coating of varsol (!), letting it dry and then hand waxing with "bowling alley wax". Buffing with a heavy duty machine borrowed from a family owned business was the last step. Twice a year. I still love the smell of that wax but have decided the varsol may be have burned off a few brain cells.

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like readying an old wooden 12 meter for a Cup defense! A ton of work.

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  9. I use a Bissel stream mop, which uses plain water. The very hot steam does a great job, far better than the chemicals I previously used. I am an oil painter and it even steams off specks of oil paint on the wood floors in my studio.

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