8 Wood Floor Maintenance Tips to Protect Your Investment
These easy maintenance tips will keep your wood floors looking like new for years to come.
Vacuum your wood floor every week
You probably do this already, but it bears repeating. The reason? Underfoot, the fine grit in dust is just like sandpaper and it will slowly but surely wear through your wood floor’s finish. One of the best ways to clean hardwood floors is to give it a good vacuuming, which protects the finish as well as keeps up its appearance. Use an attachment with a brush or a felt surface that runs along the floor. Attachments with rotating brushes or a beater bar can scratch the finish. Disengage the beater bar on an upright. If you don’t feel like hauling out the vacuum, a dust mop or one of the newer microfibre sweepers (such as Swiffer) will work just as well.
Find out more places you should be vacuuming—but aren't.
Watch the hairspray and the furniture polish
Both of them can cloud your floor’s finish. Wipe them up immediately with a damp cloth. For a more thorough cleanup, spray with non-ammonia window cleaner.
Learn how to make your own DIY cleaning products.
Keep out the rain
Water doesn't only ruin the finish on a hardwood floor but also can penetrate deep into the wood and stain it. Close windows when you’re expecting rain. Put trays under potted plants and, of course, immediately wipe up any water you see.
Got to the water too late? Find out how to remove water stains from wood.
Remove residue with no-wax wood floor cleaner
Keep a no-wax wood floor cleaner in the hall closet or another convenient location so that you can quickly clean up small problems before they become big ones. Wipe up spills and dirt immediately; then use the wood floor cleaner to remove the residue. Dirt can damage the finish or get ground-in. Liquids can damage the finish or stain the floor.
Know the rules about using waxes and restorers
You can rejuvenate a wax finish with more wax, but make sure you never use wax on a surface finish such as shellac, varnish, or polyurethane. It not only makes the floor far too slippery, but it also interferes with subsequent finishes. If the finish is polyurethane, use a polish made for polyurethane. If it’s another type of surface finish, get a general-purpose floor restorer; test the restorer on an inconspicuous area to make sure it won’t peel off.
Find out more mistakes to avoid during a home remodel.
Use an extra-long “walk-off ” doormat
Ideally, people should always remove their shoes when they come inside. This way, dirt, water, salt and ice won’t be trekked onto the wood floors. But, since shoes don’t always get removed, doormats—inside and out—earn their keep and then some. Get a 4- to 6-foot-long “walk-off ” mat for the front door. The longer the mat leading up to the door, the more people will rub dirt and moisture off their shoes as they walk in, even if they don’t stop to wipe them.
Protect high-traffic zones with area rugs
Walking across an area several times a day eventually wears down a wood floor’s finish. Nice-looking throw rugs are the easiest way to reduce the wear. But make sure they don’t have a backing. Vinyl or rubber backing traps humidity, which can ruin your floor’s finish and stain or damage the wood.
Invest in furniture pads
Even if you don’t rearrange your furniture a lot, constant shifting will cause the legs of your furniture to scratch the wood floor. Put furniture pads on all the legs of your furniture to keep your wood floors looking new. Also, adding pads makes moving your furniture much easier.
Next, find out how to clean vinyl floors.