Hardwood offers a lot of value in terms of durability and aesthetics. Learn how to clean and repair wood floors to keep them looking their best.
Stop Floors from Squeaking
Before doing anything drastic to squeaky floorboards (like replacing them), try sweeping some talcum powder into the joints between the boards. That may ease the rubbing that’s causing the noise.
If the squeaky boards happen to be over the cellar, quieting them may be as simple as driving a wooden shingle between the boards and the floor joist. Sometimes that simple step will keep the boards from moving and will thus eliminate the squeak.
Clean Blackened Floors
If your floors are old, grimy or blackened, you may be able to save them. Try stripping them of their finish, then scrubbing them with a stiff-bristled brush and repeated doses of extremely hot water and ammonia (an ounce or two per gallon of water). When they’re treated this way, floors may reveal a pleasing color and grain and provide you with years more of service.
Another way to attack an accumulation of dirt or grime on old wood floors is with a combination of 1 gallon of extremely hot water and a few ounces of TSP (available at most hardware stores) or another product that contains trisodium phosphate.
Remove Scuff Marks from Wood Floors
If shoes leave scuff marks on your wood floor, don’t waste time or money searching for commercial cleaning products. Instead, just grab a pencil and use the eraser to eliminate the marks lickety-split.
Remove Sap from Wood Floors
You love the fresh evergreen scent that a live Christmas tree brings to the house but not the sap it leaves on the living room floor. Luckily, there is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to get rid of it. Apply a little vegetable shortening to a cloth and rub it on the sap. Then wipe the area with a paper towel. The sap should come right off. If you don’t have any vegetable shortening, dampen a cloth with a little rubbing alcohol and try that for sap removal. (Don’t try this on carpet.)
This post was first published in 2014 and has been updated.