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Hardwood floors are beautiful, resistant to staining, and easy to clean. And in many cases, they add value to a home.
But it’s easy to assume that your hardwood floors are totally clean just because they’re free of excess dirt and debris. In reality, your floors may be overwhelmed with bacteria, viruses, and other microbes that can impact your health. With proper sanitation procedures, you can clean your hardwood floors more thoroughly – and protect your entire family in the process.
The Benefits of Cleaner Hardwood Floors
If you’re like most homeowners, you take the time to sweep your hardwood floors periodically, getting rid of crumbs, hair, and dust that accumulates on a regular basis. You might even mop on occasion to get rid of tougher stains. But your efforts likely end there.
More thorough cleaning, in an effort to sanitize your hardwood floors, is more beneficial. While surface cleaning your floors can reduce the number of germs present, it won’t completely eliminate them – opening the door for those germs to multiply and spread. In sufficient quantities, these germs can easily spread sicknesses like the common cold.
This is especially important during periods of high infection, such as flu season. If you don’t take the time to eliminate pathogens from your household, they can easily jump from family member to family member and infect everyone living with you.
How to Sanitize Your Hardwood Floors
There are several steps you’ll need to take to more thoroughly clean and sanitize your hardwood floors:
- Sweep thoroughly. First, you’ll want to make sure your hardwood floors are free from loose dirt and debris; otherwise, you’ll have a hard time sanitizing the actual surface of the floor. A basic broom or vacuum will do a fine job here.
- Wash thoroughly. Next, you’ll want to wash the floors, getting rid of stains, spills, and any dirt you missed with the broom.
- Apply a sanitizer. Washing your floors will clean them well, but you’ll still need to go through the process of killing germs on the ground. There are many sanitizing products that can help you here. For example, you might purchase sanitizing wipes that kill the majority of pathogens, or invest in a disinfectant spray you can apply from a distance.
Here are some additional tips to help you get the most out of this process:
- Clean every nook and cranny. Don’t get lazy when sanitizing your hardwood floors. It’s important to get every nook and cranny if you want to do a thorough job; that means wiping down and sanitizing corners and areas underneath pieces of furniture as well. Consider moving your furniture temporarily to give your floor a true deep cleaning.
- Read the directions carefully. Different cleaning products and sanitizing agents have different directions for responsible use. Make sure you read them thoroughly before attempting to use them.
- Avoid mixing cleaning products. Intuitively, it might seem like combining cleaning products will lead to better results; if two products each claim to kill 99 percent of germs, they should kill all germs if used together, right? This instinct is wrong. In fact, mixing certain types of household cleaners can be extremely dangerous.
- Stick to a consistent schedule. You don’t have to fully scrub and sanitize your hardwood floors every day to mitigate the risk of infectious diseases, but it’s a good idea to stick to a regular schedule. For example, you can commit to sanitizing your floors once a week during peak cold and flu season.
Complying With Other Best Practices to Mitigate the Spread of Diseases
In addition to thoroughly scrubbing your hardwood floors, there are some other best practices that can reduce you and your family’s risk of contracting an illness:
- Disinfect common surfaces. Take the time to disinfect surfaces that are commonly touched by people; for example, it’s important to clean door handles, faucets, and countertops on a regular basis.
- Wash your hands routinely. Everyone should be washing their hands at least a few times a day, and after any activities that could introduce them to new germs. A basic wash with soap and water, for 20 seconds, can dramatically cut the risk of spreading germs to others.
- Limit contact if you’re sick. Limit physical contact with people who feel unwell. If you’re sick, stay home and try to avoid direct contact with others.
With cleaner floors, a cleaner house, and better practices from you and your family, you’ll have a much more comfortable home (and lower susceptibility to illness for everyone who enters it). Don’t let a dirty floor keep you down.