Hardwood Floors & flooring

How to Simplify Hardwood Floor Care

by Anita Alvarez

Hardwood floor in kitchen

Hardwood floor care isn't difficult, but keeping your flooring in good condition does require a little know-how and elbow grease. Here's a guide to caring for hardwood floors that you can use to make sure your flooring stays shiny and in good condition no matter how many times you drop your keys on it or your kids run inside with their winter boots on.

Clean With Care

Regular cleaning helps to keep floors in good condition, but clean them with caution. A vacuum that's heavy or has an awry wheel will scratch the floor. You may forego using a vacuum altogether and instead opt for a soft mop or Swiffer-style tool.

Avoid Moisture

With most hardwood floors, you should avoid mopping with a sopping-wet mop head. Leaving too much water on the floors will eventually weaken the seal. Always mop the floors with a damp material that allows the floor to dry quickly.

Choose Supplies Carefully

For your family's health, you may choose to go with a nontoxic or natural cleaner, which doesn't use harsh chemicals, or an eco-solution like vinegar (if you can withstand the smell).

Clean on the 'Spot'

When somebody spills something on the floor, clean it up right away using a soft cloth or microfiber rag. Don't give the spill time to soak through floor stain and eat away at the finish.

Protect It

Although you'll want to put most of your glistening floor on display, it's also wise to protect it by using floor mats. According to the World Floor Covering Association, good places to employ mats include in front of the kitchen sink where lots of spills and messes happen and in front of doors that lead outside.

Things to Avoid

Keep in mind that sand, dirt, and other harsh materials are a hardwood floor's number-one enemy. If sand is left on the floor, for example, it can become ground into the floor as people walk over it. Eventually, the sand can damage the floor and its finish becomes lackluster. For the same reason, never use an abrasive tool on the floor like steel wool or astringent-based cleaners. Avoid the use of "free oils" or artificial detergents to freshen up the floor as well, as this material actually has a damaging effect, softening the finish and accessing the wood. When this happens, the wood becomes very difficult to refinish down the road.

With strict adherence to expert hardwood floor care tips like these, you'll keep your flooring in great condition, and enjoy its luster and shine for years to come.