To reduce the amount of dust and grit brought onto your floors, install mats at all outside entryways. Make sure these mats are kept clean and in good condition as well. Be aware that oil from driveways and/or roads can stain quite easily. Make sure shoes are clean before walking on the floor.
Another note about shoes: High heels (particularly stiletto), work boots, shoes with cleats, and hard soled shoes can quickly damage your floor. Avoid walking on your floors with these types of shoes as much as possible. If you must walk on your floors with high heels, make sure the heels are in good repair to minimize damage to the floor. Also, check any shoe for rocks, pebbles, etc. lodged in the sole before walking on your floors.
Make sure dust and grit are cleaned up daily or at least as often as needed. When walked on, dust and grit act like sandpaper. This can and will quickly damage your surface. A soft bristled broom, dust mop or vacuum with an attachment for cleaning bamboo (or hardwood) floors is the recommended tool for frequent cleanups.
Make sure all spills are cleaned up quickly. If necessary, a lightly damp mop or soft cloth can be used to clean up wet or sticky spills. Make sure you dry the floor completely with a clean soft cloth afterwards.
Use area rugs to protect high traffic areas or areas that are prone to liquid spills. In the kitchen it is suggested to have a rug in front of the stove and one in front of the sink. These are both places that see a lot of traffic and are highly likely to experience liquid spills on the floor. Make sure the rugs are kept clean so dirt and grit do not get trapped underneath. Also, make sure the backing is not too rough, which could damage the finish.
Protect your floors from dents and scratches from heavy furniture. Place soft protective pads under the feet of all furniture. Make sure the pads are kept in good condition and replace as necessary. Never drag heavy furniture unprotected across your floors. If furniture has casters, make sure the casters are made of soft, non marking materials such as rubber. Hard casters made of metal or plastic will quickly damage your floor.
Clean your bamboo floors as necessary with the manufacturer’s suggested no-wax, non-alkaline floor cleaning product. Although, more resistant to moisture than wood flooring, bamboo can still be damaged by too much water. If the product requires mixing with water, follow the label directions exactly. Also, do not let the cleaner (or any other liquid for that matter) to pool on the surface of the floor. This could result in damage to the finish or bamboo itself.
To prevent shrinking or swelling of your floor, use a humidifier or dehumidifier to maintain relative humidity of 30-50%. Excessive humidity can cause your floor to swell, while a lack of humidity can cause the floor to contract (shrink). This can eventually lead to an uneven floor and/or gaps between the boards.
As much as possible, limit your bamboo floor’s exposure to sunlight. Use good quality drapes or blinds and rotate area rugs. If the floor is exposed to too much sunlight, the floor may darken in some areas and lighten in others.
If you notice the finish of your bamboo floors has lost its sheen, or you notice lots of scratches and nicks, it may be time to re-coat or restore the floor’s finish. Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for what product to use to restore the shine.
Never use abrasive cleaners or tools such as scouring powder or steel wool on your bamboo floors. If you have stains remaining after general cleaning, first attempt to remove them by rubbing a clean soft cloth moistened with wood floor cleaner. If the stain is still visible, try another clean soft cloth moistened with mineral spirits. Make sure you carefully read and follow all directions on the cleaning product label.
Damion Rutherford is President of Free-Flooring.com. Free-Flooring.com is based out of Virginia Beach, VA. To find out more call 888-743-7464, or go to the website at www.free-flooring.com