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How To Take Care Of Floors

Oct 12, 2007
House cleaning, if done properly, should take no great length of time, and leaves any house looking wonderful. To look its best a room must have a clean, softly lustrous floor whatever the finish or covering may be. Such floors are not difficult to achieve with the equipment and materials available at small cost to today's housekeeper.

For waxed wooden floors and resilient coverings there are long handled buffers and applicators of modest price, while electric polishers can be rented inexpensively from hardware and grocery stores. Self-polishing waxes make the care of many floorings easier and to apply them there are applicators with containers for the wax, controlled by a trigger.

WAXED WOODEN FLOORS predominate in all but the kitchens and bathrooms of most homes so we shall discuss them first. Wax is sometimes applied directly to softwood floors, but for these as well as for hardwoods a finish for the wood is highly desirable for appearance and ease of maintenance.

If the finish on your floors is badly worn away in traffic areas, or if the wood has never been finished properly, save yourself a headache by having it sanded down to clean wood and refinished. Electric sanders can be rented: sealers are especially easy to apply. So the job could be done without outside help.

FOR WOODEN FLOORS in good condition, whatever the finish, the routine care is the same if they are waxed. They should be dusted regularly with a vacuum cleaner, soft brush, or untreated mop. Once a month, or as needed, they should be polished with a weighted buffer or electrical polisher. At this time fresh wax should be applied to areas that look worn. About twice a year the entire floor should be rewaxed. A paste wax is the most durable and is recommended generally, though liquid and even some self-polishing waxes can be used if you prefer them.

BEFORE PASTE WAX IS APPLIED the floor should be cleaned thoroughly. For this purpose use a liquid wax, or one of the special cleaners made for removing embedded soil from waxed floors. In this category are Bruce's Floor Cleaner, Preen, and Beautiflor. Like liquid wax these special cleaners contain a dry cleaning agent such as naphtha, plus wax and other efficient dirt removers; they loosen the soil and remove old wax, yet leave a film of clean wax on the floor. Directions for using these products are given on the container. Read them carefully to obtain the best results. The general instructions are as follows:

First vacuum the floor carefully to remove surface dust and dirt. Shake the container to be sure the contents are thoroughly mixed before applying the cleaner. If it has been stored in a cold place and become thickened, stand the can in hot water for a while, or hold it under a hot water faucet, and then shake it. (Never heat any wax preparation over an open flame.)

YOU CAN STAND UP FOR WAXING. You do not need to get down on your hands and knees to apply cleaning wax to a floor. Use one of the inexpensive, long handled applicators that are made especially for this purpose. One kind makes use of steel wool pads that greatly aid the cleaning action. Pour a little of your cleaner onto the floor, and using the applicator, rub with the grain of the wood to loosen the dirt which will be picked up by the cloth pad, or by a cloth placed under the applicator pad. Change cloths as they become soiled and work until the floor has been completely cleaned.

WASHING A WAXED WOODEN FLOOR is seldom necessary, if it is well kept and if sticky materials spilled on it are wiped up promptly with a moist cloth. However, it can be washed without damage if you use a cloth well wrung out of mild suds. Wash a small section at a time and rinse each area before moving on to the next. The important thing is not to get the floor too wet. Buff the floor afterwards, when it has dried thoroughly. Rewax it if this seems necessary.

With these basic instructions, it should be a fairly easy task for the householder to get and maintain her floors in good order.
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