Caring for a parquet floor can sometimes be tricky, as you can’t use the regular cleaning products that you’d turn to for, say, linoleum or tiles. This type of flooring can also be particularly vulnerable to scratches and scuffs, which, if present over a large area, may need the attentions of a professional to remove. However, smaller scuffs can be treated by your very own hands with some surprisingly simple and commonplace equipment.
You’ll need a very soft duster and clean towels, as well as a vacuum cleaner (you can use a handheld vacuum if it’s easier), baking soda, a tennis ball (and maybe a white-soled tennis or squash shoe), water, white toothpaste and a gentle detergent. Don’t worry, you don’t need to use all of these in one go!
First of all, get rid of the dust
The first thing you need to do is to remove any existing dust, dirt or debris from the floor. Parquet flooring is vulnerable to abrasive material like this, so make sure it’s vacuumed or swept up.
Then, test a spot that’s usually out of sight
Once the floor is clean, but before you do anything else, test a small spot to see if it will stain or damage the floor further. Look for signs of lightening, bleaching or staining and if you see any, don’t go any further.
Use a pencil eraser
If there’s a black or dark-coloured scuff mark, then a simple rub with a white pencil eraser could well do the trick. Just rub out the scuff mark, then buff over the treated area to polish it up again.
Try a rubber shoe sole
Make sure the sole is uncoloured – a tennis or squash shoe is ideal for this – and rub it quite hard along the scuff mark.
Use a paste of baking soda
Make a thick paste of sodium bicarbonate with water and then apply it to the mark. Then, using a soft polishing cloth, rub with circular motions. Once you think the scuff has gone, use a damp – never wet – cloth to wipe away the paste, before buffing the floor.
Try using regular toothpaste
Use gentle toothpaste for this, and make sure it’s white. You don’t want fancy smokers’ toothpaste or whitening toothpaste with bleaching compounds in. Apply a splodge and gently rub the scuff with a soft cloth. Once it’s cleaned off, wipe away the toothpaste with a damp cloth and (if you hadn’t already guessed, buff the floor).
Try a tennis ball
It sounds crazy, but it can really work! Use a light-coloured ball and cut a portion out of it. The outer surface of a tennis ball will scrub without being abrasive – just use it like a sponge to rub over the mark and hopefully erase it.
Use a cleaner that’s recommended for parquet
There are specialist products out there that will clean parquet floors without damaging them. You should consult the people who installed your floor, or a local parquet specialist, for advice before you choose one.