The Corrosive Nature of Road Salt and Hardwood Floors
With snow and ice it is inevitable that you and your family will track in road salt and other dirt from outdoors. As we all know, road salt is used to keep us safe and prevent slips and falls and keep our roads clear. What we all may forget is how corrosive road salt can be not only to our cars but also to our homes particularly our wood floors.
Most of the products used to melt snow and ice contain calcium chloride or salt. Our boots end up tracking in essentially salt water. Anyone who has spent time by the sea knows that appliances and vehicles rust more quickly due to the salt. Have you ever noticed pitting on your garage floors? Often this is due to the corrosive nature of the salts contained in de-icers.
Have you given any thought to what the salt does to your hardwood floors? Over time the corrosive nature of the road salt will break down the finish on your wood floors and can cause stains and or damage.
What can be done to prevent damage from road salt? Many of us seek frequent car washes to maintain our vehicles integrity and seal garage floors. Hardwood floors require similar treatment to prevent damage from the elements.
The first line of defense is to capture the culprit before it enters your home. Walk off mats and shoe removal can minimize road salt and debris entering into your home. Even taking these preventative steps your floors still need attention and prompt cleaning from the pet not following the rules or when a spouse or child forget to take off their boots. Promptly clean your floors.
There is some debate over what product you should use to clean road salt off your hardwood floors. I am not going to discuss the chemical properties of road salt and cleaning products. As a homeowner or business owner, the message is to clean up as quickly as possible. The longer the road salt is able to sit on the floors, the more likely damage can occur.
When cleaning your hardwood floors remember to never wet mop a hardwood floor. After dirt and debris has been vacuumed or swept, wash your floors. I recommend using the Bona Wood Floor Cleaner (Not Polish). To clean your floor it is as simple as spray and wipe with the mop. If wanted, you can spot clean areas. Click here for a video on how to clean your hardwood floors.
Keeping the integrity of the finish on your hardwood floors is paramount. Just like waxing your car or sealing your garage floors. The protective coating, usually polyurethane, goes a long way in protecting your wood floors.
It may be time to refinish or disc and coat your hardwood floors when they lack luster and glow. Contact your local hardwood flooring expert for advice.