<font size="3" color="#990000"><strong>Debunking common floor care misconceptions</strong></font> <p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt">(ARA) – Whether it’s the dog tracking in mud or the kids carrying in dirt and leaves, there are many ways floors can become dirty and unattractive. Unfortunately, for many people the process they use to clean their wood flooring might be doing more harm than good.</span></p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt"><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">"There are a lot of misconceptions about floor care that lead to premature deterioration," says Tom Sullivan, founder of Lumber Liquidators, the largest retailer of specialty hardwood flooring. </p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Some cleaning techniques to avoid, because they can damage hardwood flooring, are:</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>* Vacuuming.</strong> Contrary to the belief that vacuuming is the best way to rid wood flooring of dust and debris, it’s actually harmful. The hard bristles on the rotating brush can scratch the wood, and small amounts of damage to the wood over time will make the surface look worn and uneven.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>* Damp mopping.</strong> Many people think that damp mopping is a quick way to clean wood flooring, but the water in the mop causes deterioration of both the wood and the floor’s finish. This increases the likelihood that the wood will warp or squeak in the future.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>* Cleaning with vinegar and water.</strong> While many people clean wood flooring with a homemade mixture of vinegar and water, the acidic nature of the solution actually eats away at the wood finish. Corrosion of the wood finish detracts from its healthy appearance and increases vulnerability, making the wood more prone to wear and tear.</p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"> </p><div style="text-align: center"><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="282"><param name="movie" value="../images/banners/12a.swf" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="../images/banners/12a.swf" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="282"></embed></object></div>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>* Applying oil soaps.</strong> Although oil soaps are a typical way to clean wood flooring, these soaps and detergents can leave a harmful film. Eventually, this film causes the wood finish to yellow, "alligator" or crack, requiring refinishing.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Instead of using one of the above methods to clean hardwood floors, it is recommended that homeowners follow a few simple cleaning guidelines. </strong></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">* Lightly sweep wood flooring with a soft-bristled broom twice a week. This is a quick and easy way to clear away debris particles so that they do not build up. </p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">* Clean wood flooring once a week with a terry-cloth mop and a cleaner specifically made for wood flooring, like Bellawood’s soy-based hardwood floor cleaner. This will get rid of the heavier dirt build-up that can cause a dull appearance.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">"Soy-based products clean and shine hardwood flooring without being harsh on the finish and without producing harsh fumes that can irritate your family and pets," says Sullivan. "It doesn’t take a lot of effort to give your floors the maintenance they deserve, and in doing so you’ll not only improve the look of your home, but extend the lifespan of the flooring."</p>  <p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt">Courtesy of ARAcontent</span></p></span>