Homeowners value engineered hardwood flooring for its easy installation, years of durability, and—of course—the elegance and style it adds to a room. However, there’s no such thing as a mess-proof floor. Even your brand-new engineered hardwood flooring is going to show signs of life: pet hair, scratches, dirt, and more. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a professional cleaning service to keep your floors looking great. Once you know what to do, which tools to use, and how to minimize mess and damage, you can settle into a care and maintenance routine that works for your life and your home. To help you achieve that routine, here’s our guide to engineered hardwood flooring care and maintenance.
How to Clean Your Engineered Hardwood Floors
Every floor collects messes—it’s just a part of a lived-in home. Unfortunately, engineered hardwood floors tend to show off dust and dirt more than others. With no grooves or fibers for the debris to hide in, it becomes obvious when your pet sheds or your kids track in dirt from playing outside. While this can certainly get obnoxious, it also makes it easy to know when it’s time to clean the floors. Instead of letting dust, hair, and dirt remain in your carpet or tile for weeks, you can quickly take care of any messes. Not only will your home look cleaner, but it will also contain fewer allergens and other irritants that can cause health issues. Your cleaning routine doesn’t have to be a hassle, either. Once you know the steps and build a habit, it’s easy to deal with the messes and keep your floors gleaming like the day you installed them.
Fortunately, the most common step to cleaning your engineered hardwood floors is also the simplest: get familiar with your broom. Sweep regularly to keep loose dirt, dust, pet hair, and other debris under control. You can also use a lightweight vacuum, but avoid using one with a rotating bristle bar, which can damage your floors. If your vacuum has a beater bar, be sure to set it to a bare floor setting or use a floor-brush attachment instead. How often you sweep or vacuum changes depending on how much traffic your floors see. For more active areas like hallways or entryways, you might have to sweep every day or every other day. Areas with less foot traffic might only need your attention once a week.
Use a Damp Mop
It’s also important to mop your floors periodically. Again, how often you do this depends on the activity your floors see. Rooms with higher foot traffic could use a mop about once a week, while less-used areas probably only need it once a month. Additionally, if your engineered hardwood floor begins to dull, it’s time to bring out the mop. Always keep your mop or cloth slightly damp rather than wet. While engineered hardwood flooring is more water-resistant than solid hardwood, you should still take care to not let moisture seep into the wood. Avoid creating standing water and instead use just enough that it will evaporate within a few minutes. After mopping, check your floors and dry off any remaining moisture.
Deep Clean Occasionally
Even with a regular cleaning routine, dirt and grime can build up over time—that’s just part of using your floors. There are a few deep cleaning products and methods to use on occasion with your engineered hardwood floors. Make sure the cleaning agent you use is designed specifically for engineered hardwood flooring—such as From the Forest’s hardwood flooring cleaner. Avoid cleaners with harsh chemicals, as these can damage the finish on your floors. Apply your cleaning agent with a rag, mop, or sponge. Like with regular mopping, it’s important to keep your mop or rag damp but not wet. Once you’ve applied your cleaning product, rinse your floors with water, then wipe them down with a clean, dry towel to eliminate any excess moisture.
Taking Care of Scratches
Apart from a cleaning routine, you also have to protect your floors from dents and scratches. While it’s impossible to have a truly scratch-proof hardwood floor, there are a few tricks and solutions you can use to keep damage to a minimum. If your hardwood floors suffer from scratches, there are several ways to make the damage less noticeable—and less likely to cause further issues. Use a scratch concealer to eliminate the obvious white lines that come from scratches. This will also seal the area, preventing further scratching and keeping moisture from seeping into the wood.
Things to Avoid
Part of proper engineered hardwood flooring care and maintenance is simply knowing what not to do. As mentioned above, it’s important to avoid cleaning products with harsh chemicals, such as ammonia. You should also steer away from wax-based cleaners and oil soaps. Use only soft materials to apply your cleaners—never use a steel wool brush or scouring pad to buff out marks or scratches. A microfiber cloth or mop works great to collect dust and debris without damaging your floors. Because excessive moisture can damage your floors, avoid using floor steamers, wet mops, or other cleaning methods that would allow water to seep between the planks and cause warping or other damage.
Other Tips and Tricks
Dirt, scratches, and other minor damage is an inevitable part of living with engineered hardwood floors. However, several tricks and tips can help you prevent potential damage—no matter how many pets, kids, or unexpected events your floors face. Do your best to stay on top of messes. Wipe up any spills immediately, before the moisture has a chance to get into the wood and cause damage. Floor mats near doorways are a great way to trap dirt, gravel, and other outdoor debris that might make its way inside. You can also get a floor rug or runner for your entryway, hallway, and other high-traffic areas. Avoid using mats with latex or rubber backing, as this can damage the finish on your floors. You can also place protective mats under chairs or tables with wheels to prevent scratching. Similarly, make sure all the furniture in your house has felt padding on the bottom of the legs. This will help you avoid damaging your floors whenever you move or rearrange furniture.
Taking care of your engineered hardwood floors might seem like a hassle at first, but once you build a routine, you’ll have the reward of gleaming floors and rooms. From the Forest is here to help by providing quality, nationally sourced maple, walnut, hickory and oak engineered hardwood flooring, along with the cleaning products and information you need to make them last. With a little care and effort, you can maintain the luxurious and traditional style that drew you to these floors in the first place.