Caring for Hardwood Flooring

Tips for effective hardwood flooring maintenance

Hardwood floors are very attractive, and they can add a great deal of value to your home -- but only if they're properly maintained. Hardwood flooring maintenance is an ongoing task, as these floors regularly need to be treated with special products to protect their finishes.

Hardwood flooring care tips can be separated into two categories: "dos" and "don'ts." It's equally important that you know what not to do to your hardwood floor in order to prevent damage.

Caring for Hardwood Flooring: Dos

Always follow these hardwood flooring tips:

  • Shield your floor from direct sunlight
  • Wipe up spills promptly
  • Sweep, vacuum or dust your hardwood floor on a weekly basis
  • Use mats and area rugs made of breathable fabrics in front of doorways, near sinks, and in high-traffic areas
  • Do not allow pets with long nails or claws to walk on hardwood floors
  • Use furniture rollers or appliance lifts to move heavy items in and out
  • Place protective padding underneath all furniture legs
  • Maintain optimal indoor humidity levels throughout the year (30 to 60 percent)
  • Use specialized soaps and cleaning products to clean and protect the floor surface

Caring for Hardwood Flooring: Don'ts

Here is a list of things you should never do to your hardwood floor:

  • Clean with bleaches, detergents, waxes, acrylic finishes, and ammonia-based products
  • Use plastic or foam mats; they trap moisture
  • Drag heavy furniture or appliances across the floor
  • Walk on the floor with cleats, heels or spike-soled shoes
  • Allow water to stand; always wipe it up immediately
  • Use damp mops on your floor

Repairing Hardwood Floors

One of the primary advantages of hardwood flooring is that it can be sanded down and refinished if its surface ever starts to show signs of wear and tear. Proper sanding and finishing/varnishing techniques depend on the exact type of wood your floor is made from, so be sure to check with your local home improvement retailer if you have any questions about the suitability of a particular product or varnish.

Following these hardwood flooring tips will ensure your floor maintains its beauty and value throughout its life. You've made a significant investment in your hardwood floor; protect it by maintaining it properly.