1. High humidity in rooms that have hardwood floors
Not only can water damage hardwood or laminate floors, but high humidity can as well by causing the materials to swell up and bend over time. If you live in a humid environment and the level of humidity indoors reaches over 55%, consider investing in a dehumidifier to protect your floors from long-term damage.
Many people also use an air humidifier in the bedroom for health and wellness reasons these days, which can also damage floors over time. If that is the case with you, crack the window open in the room throughout the day to air out the room and make a rule for yourself to always turn off the air humidifier in the morning and only use it while you’re sleeping.
2. Be careful with house plants and pet bowls
Another often overlooked source of water damage on hardwood and laminate floors are house plants and pet bowls. Potted plants, especially those that are on the floor, can start leaking if you overfill them, which can permanently stain and damage the floor. Water the plants gradually and carefully to prevent leakage, or use a pad to protect the floor. If you know that your pets spill water from their bowls, consider getting an elevated bowl and lay a protective pad underneath to protect the floor. Spills can still occur, so make sure to clean those up with a dry cloth as soon as possible.
3. You sweep the floors in your home instead of vacuuming
Many people don’t know this, but using a broom instead of a vacuum on hardwood floors can shorten their longevity. This is because sweeping actually causes microscopic scratches on the floor as you move the dirt particles around before collecting it all in a dustpan. Over time, these scratches accumulate, damaging the floor. This is also why you should always vacuum the floor before mopping it, as mopping a dirty floor, too, can lead to scratches.
Vacuuming, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same effect because the dirt is picked up by the vacuum right away and not moved on the floor as in sweeping. Using the good old broom to clean up a small accident is still fine, but avoid using it during weekly cleaning.
4. You scrub the carpet to get rid of stains
Battling carpet stains is a tough job, as in most cases, you can’t just throw it in the washer, but we still urge you to never scrub a carpet with a brush or cloth. Scrubbing can ruin the pile and ultimately make the place where the stain occurred even more apparent. When dealing with soft carpets, you can even end up ripping out a few pile knots and render your carpet patchy.
Instead, always treat the stain immediately if possible. Blot the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel, rinse with water, and blot again, repeating the process as many times as necessary. You can also use a little amount of carpet stain remover with stubborn stains but make sure to blot it away instead of scrubbing and rinse with water afterward. For more information on carpet stain removal, read The A-Z of Carpet Cleaning.
5. Not using furniture pads
Have you always wondered why the bottom of furniture has those soft little pads? Then we’re here to let you know that they’re essential to protect your floors from scratch marks and carpet dents. So, make sure you have those on the bottom of all your furniture. If not, you can simply glue a small piece of preferably thick fabric like felt on the bottom of the furniture, especially on the items you move more often like chairs and tables. To prevent carpet dents from forming, you can also move the furniture around from time to time as opposed to keeping it in the same place for years.
6. Leaving wet towels on the floors and wetting the floors when you get out of the bath or shower
Water damage is harmful to all floors, not only hardwood - tile and carpet included. If you’re in habit of getting out of the bathtub or shower before drying off, or you habitually leave a wet towel or kitchen rag on the floor, you could be encouraging mold growth, stains, and rot throughout your home. Try to get rid of these harmful habits.
Furthermore, if you ever see that your bathroom rug is damp or you find any other wet items in your bathroom, hang them out to dry immediately, as even such a minor thing could cause a lot of damage to your floors.
7. Wetting the floors too much while mopping
In line with the previous argument, water damage to laminate and hardwood floors can occur even if you simply wet the floors too much while cleaning. In fact, mopping with too much water too often is known to stain and warp floors, so much so that it’s often the cause for flooring replacement. To avoid this harmful mistake, simply use as little water as you can when cleaning the floors. That means wringing out the mop thoroughly before starting to mop and repeating every time during the cleaning process.
8. Varnishing hardwood floors with high-gloss polish
One can't deny the fact that high-gloss varnish can make the hardwood floors gleam like nothing else at first, but this impressive effect typically doesn't last long, and in truth, it could potentially cause more harm than good. This is because the high-gloss polish is much thicker and stickier than regular floor cleaners, and it is bound to attract more dust and dirt that sticks to it and is very difficult to remove, especially if you have applied several layers of the polish. As a result, your floor will start looking dull and dirty, so we recommend staying away from it altogether.
9. Oversaturating the carpets with shampoo when cleaning
Washing your carpet once in a while is definitely a good idea, but what you don’t want to do is apply too much carpet cleaner because this could be difficult to rinse away. As a result, your carpet may turn sticky and unpleasant to the touch, and in the long run, you might even end up with a mold problem as a result.
Don’t apply carpet shampoo directly onto the carpet. Instead, use the amount recommended on the packaging and dilute it in a bucket of water. Don’t oversaturate the carpet with the solution, use it sparingly, mostly focusing on the areas of concern. Subsequently, rinse the product away thoroughly. If you’re working with a carpet you can remove from the floor and not glued carpeting, we recommend hanging it out to dry, if possible.
10. Cleaning laminate or hardwood floors with products that contain bleach
Bleach has experienced a real resurgence lately, with people using it to disinfect all sorts of surfaces in their homes. However, when it comes to your floors, it's best to use designated products, and not something that contains bleach or pure bleach. This is because bleach can and will stain and damage all kinds of surfaces - from hardwood floors to carpeting to laminate and tiles - and you might end up with a huge stain even in the most visible parts of your home as a result. Opt for specialized cleaning solutions formulated for the surface you want to clean to prevent staining and damage.
11. You forget to vacuum in all directions
Your vacuum cleaner, no matter how high quality it may be, cannot instantly pick up all the dirt and dust from a surface, especially if we're talking about a fluffy carpet. So, if you're only vacuuming in one direction, it will leave out some of the dirt and dust. Professionals recommend vacuuming in all directions instead: north, south, east, and west. This way, you can be sure that there is not even a morsel of dirt left between the fibers and all corners and crevices are dust and dirt-free.
12. Failing to protect the floors from sun damage
Both hardwood, laminate, and carpet floors are susceptible to another type of staining - sun damage. That's right, you can end up with streaks of faded flooring in areas regularly exposed to sunlight over time. Hardwood is especially susceptible to this kind of damage, so make sure to close the blinds in rooms you're not using, especially if you know they're on the sunny side of your home.
You should also opt for tight-knit curtain fabrics that don't let through a lot of light in rooms with hardwood or laminate floors if you don't like blinds. Lastly, consider closing the curtains and lowering the blinds when you're not at home during the day - this may seem like a minor thing, but experts assure that this easy habit will help expend the livelihood of your floors for years.