Hardwood Flooring Maintenance and Care

Solid wood and engineered wood floors are quite easy to care for by following a few simple tips for protecting and cleaning hardwood flooring.

Featured in this Hardwood Flooring Maintenance & Care Guide

Protecting Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood lives up to its name; it is tough and durable. However, you can do your part to prevent wear and damage with these tips for hardwood flooring care:

  • Place floor mats for wiping shoes when entering your home (or consider a “no shoes” policy)
  • Don’t use mats with rubberized backing because it can hold water against the flooring
  • Don’t place potted plants on the floor that might leak when watered
  • Use pads beneath furniture legs or place area rugs beneath large pieces
  • Place a small area rug in front of the sink or other location you often stand
  • Consider a carpet runner for locations that get heavy traffic
  • Remove sand and dirt from the floor regularly
  • Don’t drag heavy items such as furniture, bins and boxes over the floor
  • Don’t allow dogs to run and play on hardwood (ditto for kids and their hard toys too)
  • Hardwood floors are quite hard and durable, but
  • Dry the floor promptly if it gets wet

Cleaning Hardwood Flooring

A soft broom, like a Swiffer, is the ideal tool for hardwood floors. A cleaning solution recommended by your floor retailer can be used occasionally. Spot-clean dirt or food that is stuck on the flooring. Use a little water to soften it, and wipe it away.

If you’d like to vacuum the floor, turn off the rotating brush or purchase a lightweight vacuum with a soft head and no brush. Take care not to drag vacuum wheels across the flooring.

Hardwood Flooring Maintenance and Care FAQ

Here are answers to the most common questions we receive about hardwood care.

I love my steam vacuum for tile and vinyl flooring. Can I use it on hardwood?

Steam vacuums are popular, and they are perfect for some floor surfaces. However, they should never be used on wood because the moisture they dispense might penetrate floor seams and cause swelling and buckling.

Should I wax my wood floor?

Check with your flooring retailer. Most wood floors should NOT be waxed.

Can I use Murphy’s Oil Soap on wood flooring?

Again, check with your retailer. Most do not recommend it unless the floor is quite old and is nearing the point refinishing. Then, it can add shine back to a dull finish. However, it can also cause build-up that traps dirt, dust, pet dander and other debris.

Should I ever add a coat of stain without refinishing the floor?

If the floor is losing its shine, this strategy often brings it back. Clean the floor well, and apply the sealer/stain per manufacturer directions.

My floor is scratched through the finish. What should I do?

Your options include using a tiny brush to cover it with a stain and sealer product or get a scratch repair kit from a flooring store or online. Filling a deep scratch with wood wax is an option too. Finally, you can call a professional to assess the damage and recommend/make repairs.

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