Enter just about any home these days and you’ll probably find a combination of flooring styles, including carpet, tile and hardwood. Each of these flooring types has traditionally called for its own specific cleaning requirements. At least, that’s been the generally accepted conventional wisdom.
There are specific cleaning guidelines for different flooring types when doing deep, restorative or maintenance work on your floors. But for general daily floor care, like cleaning up the pet hair and normal dirt and dust that gets into our homes as part of our daily routines, what you need is the best vacuum for hardwood floors.
Using Your Vacuum on Your Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors give your home a warm, distinctive look that many equate with a delicate nature. That is not the case in reality, however. A modern hardwood floor, one that is not covered in a wax finish but a sturdy polyurethane coating, is actually very easy to maintain. That doesn’t mean you can clean it with a scrub brush and a gallon of bleach, however. There are a few easy-to-follow guidelines that do need to be observed to keep your hardwood floors looking fantastic. Here’s a few examples:
- Make it a habit to take shoes off upon entering the door. Cultivating this simple habit can go a long way toward virtually eliminating all of the tracked-in dirt and dust that can dull and scuff a wood floor’s finish. The fine scratches that these abrasive particles can leave in your floor will diminish the luster of your floor’s shine over time.
- Take care of spills and scuffs as soon as they happen. If you leave a spill to dry, it will not only dull the finish but will become an attractant to additional grit and grime. Use an absorbent cloth to blot up spills immediately. To make certain you remove any residue, follow with a damp paper towel then buff dry. If you notice a scuff, buff it out with a fuzzy tennis ball or a sock. If that doesn’t remove it, try using a damp paper towel with a little baking soda and rub the scuff gently until it is gone. Follow with a damp paper towel to rinse, then buff dry.
- Make sure you don’t apply too much water. If it becomes necessary to do wet cleaning, make sure not to let water puddle.
- Vacuum often. Dirt and fine debris gets into the natural cracks and crevices that are part of a wood floor. Nothing gets it out like a good vacuum. The secret to effective vacuuming without scuffing your floor’s finish is to turn off the rotating brush before cleaning the wood floor.
Choosing a Vacuum for Your Hardwood Floors
When it comes to vacuuming your wood floors, paying more may not mean you are actually getting the best vacuum for hardwood floors. If you choose a machine that is not designed for hardwood cleaning such as an auto detailing vacuum, there can be a risk of damage to your flooring. There are certain guidelines to which your vacuum should adhere if you’re going to use it on your hardwood floors. A few of those features are:
- Does the vacuum have beater brushes? Rotator brushes on the head of the vacuum will be covered in thick bristles. These are designed to dig into the fibers of carpets and are not needed when cleaning a hardwood floor. If there are better brushes included, make certain there is an on/off switch.
- To make sure that the machine will not accidentally scratch your floor, look for rubber or felt strip padding.
- Strong suction power is as necessary for hardwood floors as it is for carpeting. Small particles of dust and dirt can become lodged in the cracks of fine wood floors. Nothing gets that out better than a vacuum with powerful suction.
- While it isn’t absolutely necessary, it is a bonus if the machine you use on your hardwoods is lightweight and compact. You’ll find such a machine is easier to maneuver and will reduce the possibility of accidentally scuffing or scratching the wood.
Selecting the Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors
There is a huge selection of vacuums on the market today, many of which will work extremely well on your hardwood floors. Before buying one, however, it is a good idea to compare available selections to be sure you’re getting the best hardwood floor vacuum for your specific needs.