My home is approaching the decade mark. And, I remember how much I wanted beautiful hardwood flooring throughout my home. Now, ten years later they still look amazing. How did we do it? Here it is my best advice on how you should clean, care, and maintain your hardwood floors.

Sweep and Vacuum Regularly

If you have hardwood floors, your broom should be your best friend. It’s best to sweep your floors at least once a week to remove surface dust and dirt. Also important is to vacuum around once a week as well to remove dirt from between your floor boards. It’s best to use a vacuum that doesn’t have a spinning brush (or has a brush that can be deactivated) because the bristles can damage your floor. Plus vacuuming will remove particles and everyday dust, which will making mopping easier.

Damp-mop vs. Wet-mop

Most hardwood floors these days are refinished floors and can be damp-mopped but not wet-mopped. With damp mopping, you apply water and cleaning solution to the mop and wring it out so that the mop is only slightly wet. However, wet mopping leaves lots of excess liquid in the mop and can be risky because water can seep between the boards and start to ruin the wood. If your floors are waxed, never wet-mop them, as the liquid could damage the wood. Never allow puddles of liquid to pool on your hardwoods.

Use Only Certain Cleaning Products 

Wood floors can be damaged by things like silicone-based polishes, oils, wax and ammonia. Most cleaning products specifically designed for hardwood floors will not have these ingredients, but it’s a good idea to check the label to be sure. The best way to keep your hardwood flooring looking great is to mop with a good cleaner (specifically designed for hardwood floors) about once a week. Make sure to follow the instructions on the cleaner you purchase, and make sure it’s intended for the type of wood you own. It’s a good idea to go over the floor a second time with water to avoid a filmy build-up.

Never Use Vinegar!

It’s never a good idea to use vinegar on wood floors. Vinegar is acidic so it will eat away at the sealant, leaving your floors exposed to further damage.

Clean Up Spills Swiftly

Bits of food and liquid can warp and stain your wood, so be sure to clean them up as fast as possible. Use a damp cloth or sponge for this, and be sure to dry the area thoroughly afterwards.

Prevent Scratches 

A very effective ways to protect your hardwood floors is to place felt pads on all of your furniture legs. It’s also smart to place rugs over areas that get a lot of traffic like entryways and also in front of any sinks to protect against dampness. Avoid rubber-backed mats which could damage your floor.

Repair Scratches

No matter how careful we are scratches will happen. But, there are is a quick and simple fix. Simply rub the flesh of a nut (walnut pecans, almonds and Brazil nuts work best) directly into the scratch so that it fills the area. Let stand for 5-10 minutes, that way the oil from the nut will soak in and will repair the scratch. After, simply buff the area with a soft cloth.

And in The End – Refinish

And, if your hardwood floors have been really worn down (or damaged), refinishing it will be the only way to restore its original shine. Let me tell you, this is a strenuous and costly process that involves a lot of sanding, staining and drying time. Or, if you want to have a professional refinish your floors, they can do everything from a simple recoating to a full refinish (which involves sanding and several coats of finish). The exact cost is based on the square footage of the room, so it can fluctuate quite a bit and may cost $2,000 or more if you have a lot of space to cover.


caring for hardwood floor