Cleaning Wood Floors
Tips and guide to cleaning hard wood floors and wooden flooring.
Old floors are to be cleaned before varnishing or waxing. If nothing but shellac or wax has been used on them, the wax may be cleaned off with a cloth wet with turpentine, and the shellac will wash off with a strong solution of washing-soda (carbonate); in fact, this will take off wax also. But if an oleo-resinous varnish, or a paint, has been used, it is removed with a liquid varnish remover, which softens it so that it can be scraped off with a scraper; it may require more than one application. After the removal of the paint or varnish the floor is sponged off with benzine; care must be taken that there is no fire of any sort or description in the room or in any adjoining room. The varnish remover consists chiefly of volatile and inflammable liquids, and too much care cannot be taken. Stains may then be taken out with a hot ten per cent solution of oxalic acid in water; after the stain is destroyed, wash with hot water and let it dry, then lightly sandpaper the spot.
It is possible to clean a floor of paint or varnish with caustic soda; put the contents of a can of "concentrated lye" in a couple of gallons of warm water and wet the floor with it. After a time the old paint will be attacked and can be scraped off, and then the floor may be washed perfectly clean. Of course the caustic soda will sink into the wood, and it will be impossible to varnish it soon; but repeated washings, at intervals, for six months will take out the last of it, and then the floor will be in very good condition for varnishing.
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