There are all sorts of “recipes” for cleaning solutions on the Internet. A quick online search found one that says, “…steep one bag of tea in two cups of boiling water and leave until it comes to room temperature. Remove tea bag and soak the cloth in the liquid, wring out then wipe the floor clean. Dry with a soft cloth. The tannic acid in the tea will help bring wood to a shine.” According to Brett Miller, VP of Education & Certification for NWFA, among many other concerns, this recipe could also pull the naturally occurring tannins in the wood to the surface, through the finish, leaving tannin stains in the wood.
Oils are also part of many of these concoctions. One blog post recommends using vinegar, water, and essential oils, stating “essential oils come in a variety of fragrances, so choose a few drops of your favorite one to add to your solution for an added sense of clean.” Another suggests mixing equal parts vinegar and vegetable oil, saying that the vegetable oil “helps condition the wood, so it doesn’t dry out, which keeps it shiny.” Miller noted that although many of the natural oiled floor finishes do require regular “oiling,” it is never a good idea to use any oil other than the specifically designed maintenance oils recommended by the manufacturer for its finishes.
The NWFA’s own consumer research study revealed that only one-fourth of homeowners know the correct way to clean wood floors.
However, the same survey found that homeowners perceive wood floors as being easy to clean, and that is also one of the top factors they consider when choosing a flooring surface. So, it’s crucial to share how easy caring for wood floors is with a consumer as they are making a decision about their flooring and to ultimately provide them with a source for where to buy the correct cleaning products.
“We always say only to use professional products recommended by your flooring contractor, flooring manufacturer, or finish manufacturer,” said Miller. “Don’t use steam mops and never use anything from the store that claims to polish, restore luster, or add shine. Using the wrong type of cleaning product could prevent the floor from being recoated, cause damage to the finish, and possibly damage the wood.”
Providing homeowners with accurate information about how to properly care for their wood floors is one of the reasons the NWFA’s “Real Wood. Real Life.” campaign was developed. Resources are available to help members share tips on maintenance, including the Homeowner’s Handbook to Real Wood Floors, digital ads, trade, and home show signage, social media posts, key messages, and FAQs. All of these materials are part of the campaign’s marketing toolkit and may be downloaded for free by visiting nwfa.org/ consumer-outreach.aspx.
The “Care for Your Floor” section of WoodFloors.Org walks readers through how easy it is to care for wood floors, providing details on how to follow a simple cleaning and maintenance routine. It also provides details on ways to prevent everyday wear and tear, moisture management, and how to know when it might be time for a maintenance coat or complete sand and refinish.
The “Real Wood. Real Life.” campaign materials and WoodFloors.Org also help homeowners with guidance on how to choose the right wood floor and why they should use a professional for the job, all while showcasing the characteristics and benefits of real wood floors. The NWFA is asking its members to continue spreading the word. You can see below examples of the different ways the marketing toolkit materials have been used.
Be sure to check the “In the News” section on WoodFloors. Org, which is updated regularly with blogs, press releases, and news stories that you can post on your website and social channels.
Contact the NWFA with questions about how you can participate in the campaign and send us examples of the ways you have used items from the marketing toolkit.
Libby White Johnston is Director, Media & Advertising, for the NWFA. Reach her at email@example.com or 337.794.9232.
The NWFA recognizes the following partners for sponsoring the consumer campaign: