Regular maintenance of your hardwood floors keeps them in good condition. Occasionally, however, you may want to give the floors a deeper cleaning. Renting hard-surface floor cleaners offers homeowners a way to access the heavy-duty equipment, which is generally costly to purchase, to really get at built-up dirt and grime.
It's possible to rent all kinds of floor cleaners, but always consult your flooring manufacturer when considering which type of cleaning machines are safe on your particular hardwood floors. Here are some tips to consider when renting a floor-cleaning machine:
Don't Go Too Heavy-Duty
Avoid machines that will damage the floor like a commercial buffer or tile-floor machine. This type of equipment can inflict too much force on your floor and will damage the finish. In addition, these machines require the use of harsh chemicals, which may or may not be safe to use on your hardwood floors. Look for a machine that's meant for in-home use.
Avoid Machines That Use Too Much Moisture
Never choose equipment that uses lots of water to clean your floors, such as a steam cleaner actually meant for linoleum or tile. Steam cleaners use only hot water to remove grime with no added chemicals, and can leave your wood too wet in the process. Moisture is hardwood flooring's worst enemy, as it will penetrate through cracks or strips of wood and damage the flooring beneath the finish. Make sure you choose a machine that will not leave too much water behind.
Choose Your Cleaning Chemicals Wisely
If you choose a machine that employs harsh chemicals that aren't safe to use on your flooring, they will strip the finish. You will want to rent a scrubber that uses the right kinds of chemicals that have been deemed safe for hardwood floors.
Buffers Are a Safe Bet
If you're not sure where to start, a floor cleaner that's generally safe to use on hardwood is a buffer. A low-speed, gentle-buffing machine will polish the floors, remove small scratches and dents at the very top of the finish's surface and leave the floors shiny and looking like new. They are not too rough on your floors, and don't employ chemicals or moisture that will damage your wood.
Once you've chosen and rented the best floor cleaner for your hardwood needs, also make sure you take steps to protect it from further damage. The National Wood Flooring Association recommends placing area rugs in high-traffic areas and applying protectors on furniture legs. In between machine cleanings, you should use a safe natural product like Murphy® Oil Soap to make your hardwood floors shine, and to keep your home looking like a page out of "House Beautiful."
This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Murphy® Oil Soap. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.