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How to Clean a Wooden Parquet Floor

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Lenore in New York listens to The Money Pit on WABC and we’ve got a cleaning question. What can we help you with?

    LENORE: I live in a rent controlled apartment building. I have wooden floors which are beautiful. They’re parquet. But they are filthy. They’re a disaster. And they …

    LESLIE: First of all, lucky you with the rent controlled apartment in New York City. (Tom and Lenore laugh)

    LENORE: The floors are parquet. They’re a disaster and I have too much furniture to have somebody come in and scrape them.

    TOM: OK.

    LENORE: Somebody told me to use Mex – M-e-x – with hot water. Have you heard of it?

    TOM: Hmm. No, I’m afraid I haven’t. To clean them?

    LENORE: Yep.

    TOM: Well, first of all, parquet floors are rather delicate; especially as they age. The little pieces of wood tend to get loose.

    LENORE: Yeah.

    TOM: And so you have to be very careful.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Well and also because they’re parquet you’ve got all those little openings for excess water to filter into and when you’re cleaning a floor you always want to make sure you keep the amount of moisture that you use to a minimum as much as possible.

    LENORE: Yeah, mm-hmm.

    TOM: If you can clear away the majority of sort of the middle area of the room where you have furniture, there is a way to improve the look of these that doesn’t involve sanding.

    LENORE: Yeah.

    TOM: What you could do is you could use a floor buffer and something that could be rented very inexpensively. And on the bottom of the floor buffer, instead of having a buffing pad, you want to get a sanding screen. It looks like sort of a piece of window screen-like material but it’s abrasive.

    LENORE: Yeah.

    TOM: And it works very, very slowly. And what it does is it sort of cuts off the top dirt that’s on the floor itself.

    LESLIE: Without actually getting into the finish?

    TOM: Right. Without actually getting too far into the finish.

    LENORE: (chuckling) There isn’t a finish. (Leslie chuckles)

    TOM: There isn’t a finish. Well, maybe you need to get into the finish a bit. But once you get that off, then you could refinish it in just that area. But there’s no easy way to do this with floor cleansers and that sort of thing, which I think is what you’re thinking about doing. Because what you’re going to find is that you’re just going to be adding to the dirt and everything that’s on top of that. Now, what you want to do is not add. You want to take away, Lenore. And that’s the kind of tool you need to do that.

    LENORE: OK. I’ll try that; let you know how it goes.

    LESLIE: You know, if I was her I’d be running to do this project because Manhattan apartment pricing is just out of control. So with rent control, get the – do it. Hire somebody. You’re saving all that money. (chuckling)

    TOM: Worth the cost of moving the furniture out, Lenore. (laughing)

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