De-icing salt can be found just about everywhere in the winter--even on your hardwood floors! Unfortunately, salt crystals are abrasive. Over the winter, de-icing salt can contribute to the scratching and degradation of your hardwood floors. You can prevent this from occurring by minimizing the amount of salt that makes it past your doorway, and by using the proper cleaning habits. These tips will help.
Lay Down Extra Mats
You may already have one or two welcome mats at your front and back doors, but this may not be enough in winter. The more mats and rugs that you lay down in your doorways, the more chances people will have to wipe their feet. Cover your front stoop with extra long mats both outside and inside your door.
Make a New Rule: No Shoes in the House
Salt can get caught in the treads of boots and shoes. When people walk into your home and leave their shoes on, the shoes drag salt into your house, where it comes off in little flakes and chunks. To prevent this from happening, make a new rule requiring all people in your home to take off their shoes and boots at the door. To facilitate this new rule, provide a basket, box or rack where people can store footwear in an out of the way location.
Change your De-Icing Habits
A lot of the salt in your home probably comes from public roadways and sidewalks. However, if you use de-icing salt on your pathways at home, this will contribute to your problem. Shoveling your walkways before the snow can turn into ice will help you avoid the need for de-icing salt. Shovel regularly through snow storms to prevent the sludge from building up on your walkways. If you still need to de-ice your walkways after shoveling, use a liquid de-icer instead of rock salt.
Sweeping your floors will spread the salt around, scratching your hardwood in the process. Use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the rock salt and eliminate it from your home. Be sure to set your vacuum cleaner for a hardwood floor setting, as the carpet setting will be less effective.
Clean Stains Quickly
As the winter goes on, you'll probably start to see salt stains on your floors. Wipe up the salt as soon as you see the stains starting to form. Use a rag dampened with diluted vinegar to wipe up the stains as soon as they appear. Use a fresh rag for each new stain, as using the same rag over and over will only spread the salt around.
For more information about how you can protect your hardwood floors from salt this winter, contact a hardwood flooring expert in your community—like Heritage Hardwood Flooring Ltd wood floors or another location.