Updated: Jan 14, 2020
The best way to clean hardwood floors is to follow a schedule:
Dust: This is one of the most underestimated and easy steps in the process. Dust daily to keep dust and dirt off the floor. This will prevent scratching and essentially extend the beauty and life of your floor. Daily dust-mopping will also significantly reduce allergens in the home. More effective than traditional methods, a microfiber material uses a static charge to attract more dust and allergens. These smaller fibers reach into floor pores to lift dirt more effectively.
Clean: There's a right way to clean floors, and there's a wrong way. Too much liquid can damage floors, while the wrong formula may not work. Look for pH-neutral, nontoxic and biodegradable formulas to clean effectively and keep your home and environment safe. Vinegar, for example, can eat away at finish, even when diluted with water. Use a washable microfiber pad, which will remove bacteria and keep waste out of landfills.
Avoid using water and vinegar, soap-based cleaners, wax or steam cleaners on your hardwood floor. Vinegar and water will dull the floor’s finish over time, while soap or wax will leave a residue. Steam cleaners put heat and excessive water on your floor, which can lead to cupping and long-term damage.
Use a natural, rubber rug underlayment with a waffle pattern in the entry ways or high-traffic areas; use felt floor protectors on furniture and avoid high heels. Regularly dust and clean your hardwood floor to keep it looking like new.
Use the proper tools to clean your floor: a mop paired with a machine-washable, microfiber pad for dusting and cleaning. Avoid string mops that put excessive amounts of water on the floor, which can be damaging, and push dirt around, instead of picking up and removing dirt.
Wipe up all spills immediately to avoid permanent stains.
Keep pet nails trimmed.
Maintain a comfortable environment and temperature — no extremes in humidity.
Use your Vacuum or sweep your floor regularly with a soft-bristled attachment or broom, especially in high-traffic areas and entry ways. This prevents gritty dirt and particle buildup that can scratch the wood’s surface. Don’t use vacuums with a beater bar or power rotary brush head. After vacuuming your floors you may use a
Use protective window coverings to block fade-causing UV rays and excessive heat from direct sunlight. Most wood types will gradually age when not covered, so it’s a good idea to rearrange rugs and furniture periodically to help it age evenly.
TIPS FOR PREVENTING DAMAGE
Keep pets’ nails trimmed and their paws clean. Pets can track in substances that cause scratching and stains.
Use a humidifier during heating seasons to help reduce wood shrinkage and humidity between 35% and 55%.
Keep your crawlspace or basement between 35-55% Relative Humidity and make sure your space is properly ventilated. Your floors may cup or show gaps if lots of humidity is present.
Use ice to harden tough substances like wax or chewing gum, and then gently scrape with a plastic scraper or a credit card. Be careful not to scratch the surface and wipe the area clean with a soft, slightly damp cloth.
Invest in high quality floor mats and protective pads on heavy furniture for an extra layer of protection on your hardwood floors. Place floor mats at entrances and exits—they collect and trap corrosive substances that can be tracked in, like dirt, sand, oil, grit, asphalt, or even driveway sealer. Placing mats in high-traffic areas—in front of vanities, kitchen sinks, and stoves—is an effective way to reduce wear.
WHAT TO AVOID
Avoid walking on your hardwood floors with spiked or damage-heeled shoes.
Resist wet-mop, damp-mop, or cleaning your hardwood with water or other liquids.
Don’t use oil soaps, liquid or paste wax, or other household products containing lemon, citrus, or tung oil, or silicon to clean floors.
Stay away from harsh cleaning aids like steel wool pads, any scouring pads containing metal, or scouring powders.
Don’t use 2-in-1 cleaners that contain acrylics or urethane polish to restore gloss.
Don't use any tape on your floors. Even blue tape can remove your finish, especially if your floors have been recently refinished.