Maintaining hardwood isn't difficult, but when on a stairwell, it does require diligence over the years and a little attention to detail. Just like hardwood floors, hardwood stairs are prone to scratching, denting and other damage if you're not keen to proper care and maintenance. Here's an easy guide to caring for your hardwood stairs that only takes a few minutes a week:
Clean the Stairs Regularly
Ensuring that the stairs are well swept and vacuumed helps keep the wood finish in good condition. As a result, your stairs will last longer and look their best for many years to come. Use a bare-floor vacuum or attachment to clean the steps, and then use a mop with a soft head and a natural cleaner to gather any remaining dirt.
Clean Up Water and Spills Right Away
If you leave spills for later, you'll give the liquid a chance to remove the finish, which leads to more wear and tear on the stairs. Even walking up to your room in shoes that are wet from rain or snow can leave deposits on the steps that you're not aware of. This dirt and grime can penetrate through the finish, allowing moisture to seep through and leave noticeable water spots. Therefore, clean breaks when they happen and give your steps a wipe at the end of busy days.
Protect the Stairs
Stairs are high-traffic areas that take a beating every day. To preserve the finish, consider putting rectangular-shaped rug treads on the steps, preventing scratches from shoes, dirt and even the rare slip-and-fall that can penetrate the wood.
Deal With Dents
When examining your floor, look for common flaws that come from daily use. If you notice scratches or dents, address them right away. If the wood floor is waxed, apply another layer of wax on the dent or scratch. If the dent has scratched the finish, apply finish to the area to seal the wood.
Avoid Harsh Materials
Vacuums with a rotating beater bar can damage the wood, as well as moving furniture up and down the steps and walking in hard-heeled or pointy shoes. The National Wood Flooring Association warns that a heel nail can apply as much as 8,000 pounds per square inch of pressure, so remove your firmer shoes and cleats before using the stairs. Use a vacuum with a soft brush, or bypass the vacuum entirely and opt for a soft-head mop or broom.
The proper care and maintenance of hardwood stairs can maintain their strength and shine for years. Cleaning regularly, using gentle tools and quickly addressing dents and damage all go a long way to ensuring that your wood stairs can endure and drive the aesthetic of your home and its value over time.
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.