Many old houses have parquet floors that are regarded with disdain, partly because the cost of having them professionally sanded and varnished is no more appealing than their replacement with tiles or synthetic wood. This leaves many owners of old homes stuck between a rock and a hard place.
What really makes parquet floors dull and difficult to maintain is the build-up of polish over the years. Whereas a good polishing may provide a day’s worth of shine, the floor soon returns to its dull state. Here’s my simple solution: clean it with turpentine. Pour a small amount directly on to a dry mop and wipe the floor. With each sweep, the turpentine will remove the accumulated polish, nourishing the wood at the same time. -KELLY RICHARDS, BELLVILLE