Caring for Hardwood Floors

Light maintenance keeps your floors beautiful.

By Tracy Leigh Ritts


Hardwood floors are gorgeous. When you walk into a room with one, there’s a warmth, richness, and beauty that just doesn’t exist in rooms with other floor coverings. Even better, no wood floor is exactly the same, as no two pieces of wood are exactly the same. Nature sees to that.

Hardwood floors are easy to care for as long as simple cleaning techniques are used consistently. With care, your floors will last for years.

If you already have a hardwood floor, or if you’tr considering purchasing one for your home, there are some everyday methods you should use to protect your investment.

Prevention and Care
Prevention is the most important step to keeping your floors beautiful; continual care is also a necessity. Keep the following in mind:

1.  You wouldn’t rub a piece of sandpaper on your floor, and dirt reacts in the same way. It causes dents, dulling, and scratching. Place floor mats at entrances to help prevent this damage.

2.  Never let water stand on a floor as this can damage the finish or even warp the wood. Whenever there is a spill, wipe it up right away.

3.  Don’t drag your furniture across a wood floor to move it. Pick it up to avoid scratching the wood.

4.  Sunlight is beautiful, but it can discolor hardwood floors. Keep your curtains or blinds closed during the day, or add sheer drapes to help protect from sun damage.

5.  While using oil soaps to clean your floor may seem to make sense, you actually want to avoid them. They’ll build up and create an issue for you when it’s time to put a maintenance coat on the floor. Look for neutral pH cleaners that are made specifically for wood surfaces.

6.  Sweep your floor regularly with brooms that have fine, exploded ends. This type of broom better traps dirt and dust, effectively removing it from your floor.

7.  When vacuuming your hardwood floor, canister models that have bare floor attachments are best. They are less likely to damage your floor and will also be the most effective way of removing dirt and dust.

8.  Damp mopping is the best method for deep-cleaning your hardwood floors. Be sure your finish is in good shape so the liquid won’t hurt it. Again, you want to use a neutral pH wood cleaner and water. When you mop, remember you don’t want the mop to be sopping wet. Wring it as dry as you can.

If you take these simple steps in caring for your hardwood floor on a consistent basis, your floors will continue to add warmth and beauty to your home.

Tracy Leigh Ritts is a freelance writer based in Ohio. Her book on wedding planning will be available later this year.