Keeping your antique wooden floors looking as beautiful as the day they were first installed can seem like an uphill battle. It often feels like your floor is a magnet for dust bunnies, scraps of food, and pet hair.
At E.T. Moore, we often get asked, “how to clean reclaimed wood floors?” The short answer is that maintaining an antique floor is very similar to traditional wood floors.
However, there are a few things that we advise our customers to do to ensure the longevity of their investment. Read on to learn more about how to clean antique wood floors.
Preventative Care for Reclaimed Wood Floors
Preventative care is the first line of defense for maintaining investment, and it’s part of how to protect reclaimed wood. The finish and unique patina are susceptible to damage from a wide range of elements. Here are several tips to take into consideration: Humidity
Certain types of reclaimed wood, such as antique heartwood, have excellent moisture resistance and “move” very little with seasonal changes. Other wood species require that indoor humidity levels be kept at 30% to 50% and temperatures from 60° to 80°F, which helps prevent warping and movement throughout the year.
Food, Wine, and Liquid Spills
Clean up food and liquid spills as soon as possible. If necessary, use a slightly damp mop and gently wipe the wood floor dry of any residual water or liquid. The less time the liquid spends on your ground, the better, and the less likely for long-term damage to the wood.
Candle Wax and Chewing Gum
If you notice chewing gum or candle wax on your antique floor, take a few ice cubes and freeze the entire mass. Once frozen, use a credit card or plastic scraper and gently scrape it away bit by bit. You should be able to remove the wax or gum without leaving a permanent mark or stain.
Rugs and Carpets
UV rays from the sun shining through the windows can slightly alter the color of the wood over many years. It’s essential to occasionally move rugs and carpets to avoid getting different rug-shaped spots over time.
Try to avoid using plastic, rubber, or foam-backed mats as they could cause discoloration. Instead, use a high-quality vinyl rug underlay to prevent rugs and carpets from slipping when you walk over them.
Apply soft felt pads on the feet of your furniture and chairs to avoid scratching the floor finish. Make sure the pads are free from harsh chemicals or any “wonder materials” that could wind up ruining the rich patina.
Reclaimed Wooden Floor Maintenance
There are several crucial things that you should not do when it comes to cleaning your reclaimed wood floors:
- Avoid using Swiffer cleaning products on reclaimed hardwood floors, as it makes it almost impossible to refinish the wood.
- Do not use hardwood flooring cleaning machines or steam cleaners.
- Do not use 2-in-1 cleaning solutions with polish that may contain acrylics or urethane polish to restore gloss.
- Do not use oil soaps, liquid or paste wax products, or other industrial cleaners that contain citrus oils, lemon oil, tung oil, silicon, or ammonia.
Daily and Weekly Cleaning
Regularly sweep your floors with a soft-bristle broom. Fine sand, dirt, or grit particles from Fido’s or Mitten’s paws—or the kid’s soccer cleats—will act like sandpaper and create fine scratch marks in your floor’s finish. You may not notice it immediately, but these fine lines will catch the indoor light and seem like they’re magnified 10x in size.
You can also place doormats at the various entry points into your home. This will help remove some of the dirt and debris—but not all. This is why it’s advisable to ask family members and guests to remove their shoes, sports cleats, and high heels before walking on your floor.
Tiny grains of dirt, gravel, and sand particles can get trapped in the soles of shoes and create long scratches as that person walks on your floors. The same advice pertains to sharp animal claws—be sure to regularly trim your indoor pet’s nails to avoid damaging the finish or patina.
Renewing Your Antique Wooden Floor
After a few years of use, you might want to renew the look of your antique reclaimed wooden floor. There is a wide range of approved finishes, stains, and sealers that will allow you to protect your investment while bringing out its natural beauty.
If you’re the DIY type, contact the flooring experts at E.T. Moore for customized advice on how best to apply and use renewal products.
Antique and Reclaimed Flooring from E.T. Moore
At E.T. Moore, we’re one of the largest reclaimed wood manufacturers on the Eastern Coast. Founded in 1969, we strive to provide our clients with a wide range of beautiful antique heartwood and other types of wood flooring.
Our facility, large inventory, and proprietary reclamation methods ensure that we have what you’re looking for and can match any sample that you provide. Click below to learn more.Reclaimed Wood Flooring