Hardwood flooring is the most highly requested flooring type for homeowners across the U.S. It’s an easy way to add beauty to and improve market value on your home, but one thing we’ve noticed over the years is the lack of knowledge people have for caring for their wood flooring.

With average wear, flooring will lose some of its luster or sheen, but a deep clean or professional refresh job called “chemical refreshing” can restore the finish. Having this option to improve shine and enhance the finish is excellent, but should only be done every three to five years. In between, homeowners should utilize certain tips and tricks to avoid damaging their hardwood floors.

At Hearthwood, we have years of expertise under our belt when it comes to installing and maintaining beautiful wood floors. So, we decided to round up our top “dos” and “don’ts” to help you keep them looking as beautiful as the day you put them in.

Hardwood Flooring Don’ts

The first thing is selecting the right floor based on the activity level and habits of your pets.

DON’T: Wet mop. The worst thing you can do for your hardwood floors is let water to sit on the floor for longer than one minute. Anything longer is going to damage the finish and the wood. It’s very similar to putting a sweating glass on a table without a coaster.

DON’T: Clean with hot water. If letting water stand on wood flooring is bad, using hot water to clean does the same amount of damage. Hot water can dissolve over time the luster of your floors finish and penetrates the wood a lot easier than cold.

DON’T: Use oil, wax or citrus based cleaner. Gone are the days of using Murphy’s Oil, Pine-Sol, or other cleaners. Different types of wood flooring respond differently to treatment, but Hearthwood Flooring doesn’t work well with previously mentioned cleaners.

DON’T: Use steel wool. In the event of a stubborn stain, don’t reach for the steel wool. Hardwood floors are delicate and abrasive materials like steel wool will only add scratches to the surface of your wood flooring.

DON’T: Leave damp rugs or towels on the floor. If there is ever a nasty spill on a rug that covers your wood flooring, remove it and let it air dry outside. If it’s saturated with moisture and sitting on top of the wood, it can eventually cause permanent damage.

DON’T: Use Vinegar or ammonia. Vinegar and ammonia have a long-standing reputation for being excellent household cleaners. If you have wood flooring installed anywhere in your home, you will want to avoid using these as they are too abrasive and will tarnish the finish and damage the wood.

DON’T: Wear Heels. If it’s at all possible, try to not wear high heels or sports shoes with spikes inside the house. High-heels can create small scratches and knicks into the flooring that aren’t easy to cover up. The same with any athletic shoe.

Hardwood Flooring Do’s

DO: Add protectors. Keeping your floors looking new, make sure you have felt floor protectors on the bottom of your furniture. This is especially important for chairs and stools that get moved around a lot. Without them, they can scratch and scrape the wood if not covered.

DO: Use Mats. For anyone who has wood flooring near entry points, use walk-off mats by the doors. They act as a barrier between the floor and the water you might be tracking in from outside. Additionally, you should add a mat where you stand at the kitchen sink.

DO: Sweep Often. Regularly sweeping the grit off your wood floor removes the opportunity for your feet to rub in abrasive material. Rocks, dirt, and debris dragged in from outside can cause unnecessary damage if you aren’t regularly sweeping.

DO: Use gentle cleaning tools. The softer and gentler the cleaning tools the better, and we actually like the idea of using a Swiffer. The only thing you have to be concerned about is its ability to saturate the floor during the cleaning process. Pro tip: if it does, you can go back over the area with a towel until it’s dry rather than using multiple Swiffer pads.

DO: Use cleaners approved for prefinished hardwood. You can use Bona, Shaw, Mohawk, Armstrong, etc. – anything that comes in a spray bottle and that has an evaporative quality. These are readily available at Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, and many local grocery stores.

DO: Protect from Sunlight. Sunlight is incredibly strong and bleaches your hardwood floors if they are left exposed for long periods of time. The best protection involves light/sheer drapes to maintain a uniform finish on your floor.

DO: Keep a steady temperature. Dramatic swings in temperature cause the wood to expand and contract. Sudden or drastic changes can cause cracks in the wood that are permanent.

To learn more about the benefits of installing hardwood in your home, contact Hearthwood Flooring today by calling 888.415.9496.