Got salt damage on your hardwood floors? Can it be prevented? How do you fix the damage once it’s done? Those beautiful hardwood floors are what inspired you to purchase your home. Now you’re not so sure. In the middle of winter, they can be a real nightmare to keep up. You purchased throw rugs and outdoor mats. Unfortunately, they don’t stay in place. Meanwhile, your family keeps tracking in salt from the driveway and front walk. What can you do?
Cleaning salt from hardwood floors:
Hardwood floors require special care. Unlike your kitchen tile, they can’t simply be mopped with soap and water. Purchase special cleaners for hardwood floors, or make your own non-toxic alternative. Be sure the product you use contains conditioning oil to keep wood from drying out. Then, simply mop or hand scrub the salt damaged area. Salt dissolves quite easily, if cleaned up promptly.
Repairing severely salt damaged hardwoods:
Salt left too long on hardwood floors may require extra conditioning. You don’t always have time to clean up salt when it’s first tracked in. Use the directions above to thoroughly clean residual salt from your hardwoods. Follow up by soaking a soft cloth in olive oil and polishing the damaged area. If it’s still discolored, take the steps below.
*Sand the damaged area
*Stain the damaged area
*Re-coat with protective finish to match the rest of the floor.
Regularly condition hardwood floors.
Hardwood floors are an asset that requires protection. Weekly maintenance should include regular conditioning. This will keep wood from absorbing damaging salt. To condition your hardwoods, first clean them. Then, saturate a clean dry mop with olive or another vegetable oil to polish them. Not only will your floors shine, they’ll resist salt and water damage.
Note: The protective finish on hardwood floors is not permanent. Applying a protective coating, such as polyurethane every few years will protect against salt damage and normal wear.
Do purchase those rugs and mats.
Just try another kind that stays in place. One trick is to use rugs designed for the bath. They usually have a rubber back that discourages slipping. Some craft stores carry a brush on rubber coating you can use on your living room rugs for the same benefit.
Don’t just have a “no shoe” rule. Enforce it.
You had good intentions when you purchased your home. For the first few months, everyone was great about removing their shoes at the door. Unfortunately, rules like that sometimes fall by the wayside. Time to get them back on the board. Clean, condition and re-finish those salt damaged hardwoods. Then, sit the family down and make it clear the “no shoe” rule is back.
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