This blog post is part of our home maintenance for first time homeowners series. Read the previous post on how to get rid of household mold for more helpful information!
Hardwood floors have been one of, if not the, most popular flooring choice for homeowners for decades, and for good reason: they’re durable, they look great, and they are the preferred flooring for those who suffer from asthma or allergies. That doesn’t mean, however, that hardwood floors are maintenance-free—and in fact, hardwood floors can be trickier to keep up with than carpet or tile flooring.
Whether you inherited the hardwood floors in a home you just bought or you’re about to install them throughout the living area, there are a few key things to remember when you’re learning how to take care of wood floors so that they continue to sparkle and shine for years to come.
1. Don't Wear Heels Indoors
There’s no need for you to be one of those no-shoes households if you’re resistant, but you should still avoid walking with heels on wood floors.
That clackity clack sound of your heels hitting the hardwood floors is more than noisy—it also slowly causes damage to the floors and can leave dents, marks, or holes that will be difficult to remove.
2. Clean Up Spills as They Occur
Whether it’s wine, milk, coffee, or a pet accident, when there’s a spill on your hardwood floors you should clean it up immediately. These accidents won’t necessarily leave any long-lasting stains on your floors, but they could contribute to wood warping, splitting, or gapping if they sit for too long.
Luckily, there’s no need to get fancy when cleaning. All you need is a damp cloth to wipe up the spill. Be sure to add a dime-sized amount of regular soap if the spill is sticky.
3. Use Furniture Pads or Rugs as a Buffer to Protect Wood Floors
Scratches are inevitable on hardwood floors, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions to prevent them. One of the best ways to do this is by using furniture pads underneath couches, tables, and chairs when they sit directly on top of your hardwood floors.
You can also add in an area rug and place your furniture on top of it so that there’s more of a buffer between your furniture and the floor.
4. Sweep Up Dust as Soon as You See It
One of the most annoying things about having wood flooring in your home is the fact that you’ll find dust everywhere. Unlike carpeting, which tends to mask dust and dirt better, you’ll likely see a tumbleweed of dust at any given point during the day with wood floors. If you have pets, you’ll find that pet hair and dust have a special affinity for hardwood floors, and like to hide in corners or against the wall.
In order to keep your hardwood floors as clean as possible, you should sweep up dust as soon as you see it, which could mean doing this task daily. The easiest way to eradicate dust quickly without pulling out the vacuum every day is to purchase a Swiffer. The Swiffer will pick up dust and small particles off the floor, and should keep your floors clean enough so that you don’t have to do a full vacuum.
If that seems like too much for you to do at the end of a long day (we totally get it), then consider investing in a Roomba or another robot vacuum that will take care of dust for you automatically.
5. Use Recommended Cleaning Agents When Deep Cleaning
There are thousands of products that all promise gleaming hardwood floors and a nice lemon-y scent, but before you add one to your cart, make sure that it’s compatible with the type of flooring that you have.
If you’re unsure of what product to use, you can read about what types are recommended in your manufacturer’s instructions. Otherwise, it’s generally best to avoid anything overly abrasive and any products that are vinegar-based. We recommend the Method Squirt + Mop Wood Floor Cleaner for a great, non-toxic, all purpose cleaner. Pair that with the machine washable Bona mop, and you’re good to go!
When cleaning your hardwood floors, we also advise that you never use a steam cleaning method. Steam cleaners can make wood floors too moist and can potentially warp the wood.
6. Get Your Hardwood Floors Refinished Every Few Years
Even after all of the dusting, sweeping, and cleaning that you do on your hardwood floors, you’ll still need to get them refinished by a professional every few years. Professional refinishing will eliminate any deeply set-in scratches or stains and touch up the glossy top coat.
When you hire a professional to refinish your floors, they will remove the old protective finish with a floor buffer, smooth out the wood, and then apply several coats of finish to make it look shiny and beautiful once again.
7. Trim Pet Nails Regularly to Reduce Surface Scratches
If you have pets, make sure to keep their nails short. Long pet nails can scratch up wood floors quickly, especially if your pet loves to run and play around the house.
The other option is to purchase soft nail caps for each nail. Nail caps protect your floors from pet scratches, and are a great option if you have wood floors that are especially prone to damage.
Call in a Professional to Help Maintain Your Hardwood Floors
If you want to get your hardwood floors refinished, have a spot you’re concerned about, or think your wood floors may be suffering from water damage, you should call in the professionals to help.
If you’re located in the Dallas and Los Angeles metro areas, Puls can help. We’re here to make your life easier with our handyman services.
The life of a new homeowner is filled with all sorts of tasks—from taking care of the hardwood floors to figuring out what that buzzing noise is coming from the refrigerator.
Our installation and repairs come with a 90-day guarantee, which means that you can rest easy as we help you tackle that next thing on your ever-growing to-do list. Book a handyman service or appliance repair now, and get something fixed or installed by this evening.