Cleaning and Maintaining Hardwood Floors

Your hardwood floors are one of the main things that make your home special. But, think about all of the abuse they take literally lying down. Grit, dirt, dust, food, spills, the bottoms of your pet’s paws, just to name a few, all get pounded into the surface of your beautiful floors—oh, the poor planks.

Fortunately, there are ways to give it the extra special, and pretty simple, cleaning treatments and easy maintenance tips. Read on for tips on how to care for your hardwood floors.


The Right Tools for Cleaning Hardwood Floors

First and foremost, you will need a hardwood floor, of course. Before you can clean it, it’s important to know what kind of hardwood floor you have. Not all hardwood floors are created equal. While there are general guidelines when it comes to hardwood care and maintenance, the specific type of hardwood and finish you have may require special considerations. Then, of course, you need actual cleaning tools.


One of the easiest and most popular ways to keep your hardwood floor clean is to use a vacuum. But, it’s important to make sure it’s one that’s designed for hard surfaces. Also, it should be lightweight, have wheels that won’t scuff or scratch the finish and have adequate suction to easily capture all the dust and dirt.


Then there’s the classic tool, the broom. There’s nothing wrong with using a good old-fashioned bristle broom and dust pan.

There’s also the microfiber gem, the dry dust mop. Microfiber does a great job of attracting and picking up dirt, dust and hair instead of just pushing it around the floor into a pile. Which leads us to the next tool.


For spots that are beyond the quick little cleaning, you’ll need to wash your hardwood floor with a damp mop to get rid of that extra grime.

And then of course, microfiber comes back into play. There are a couple benefits of a damp microfiber mop. The first being that it attracts the dirt, which we know. The second is that it doesn’t hold onto as much moisture as a regular mop does. You’re able to clean your hardwood floor without saturating it.


How to Clean Hardwood Floors

Now that you have all the tools you need, let’s get into the right ways to use them to keep your hardwood floors nice and clean. 

Vacuum Your Hardwood Floor Every Week

The reason for keeping up with this is because the fine grit and dirt under your feet acts like sandpaper slowly wearing off the hardwood finish.

If you don’t feel like pushing the vacuum around, then the microfiber dust mop will work perfectly, too.

Mopping When Wood Floor Looks Dingy

You should damp-mop your wood floor with a flat-head mop and microfiber pad or a microfiber string mop that has been thoroughly wrung out. Move with the grain, and control the amount of cleaning solution by using a spray bottle, aiming for a heavy mist or a gentle squirt of about a half teaspoon per 2 square feet. No need to rinse.

 Removing Stains on Hardwood Floors

Start by dusting the surface to remove any dust particles, then fill a bucket with the homemade vinegar solution (1/2 cup of vinegar in 1 gallon of lukewarm water). After that, use a flat mop with a microfiber cover, dip it into the water mixture and begin cleaning. As you clean, it’s important to remember never to get wood floors too wet because it can seep in and remove the finish or potentially cause warping or deterioration.

Keep in mind that finished wood floors don’t necessarily need to be cleaned with vinegar. You can use just water, but again, be careful that too much doesn’t seep in it because it can remove the finish. Unsealed wood floors are different from finished hardwood floors because water can be easily absorbed through the wood, having a greater impact on the condition of the flooring.


What NOT to Do When Caring for Hardwood Floors

Now that you know the steps of how to clean your hardwood floors properly, it’s also important to understand what not to do.

Don’t keep up with cleaning. Hardwood floors should be cleaned at least four to six times a year.

Ignore wet or sticky spills.  Spills don’t clean themselves up. Even something simple as an ice cube dropping on the floor, make sure you pick it up.

Bring in heavy equipment. You can damage the finish by using a broom meant for the garage or a floor-cleaning machine designed for tougher flooring

Scrub and steam clean.

Never on wood. Save it for tile, linoleum or vinyl. You never want to use a scrub brush, Brillo pad or steel wool to clean your finished floor. It’s like taking sandpaper to your hardwood.


How to Maintain Your Hardwood Floors

Once your hardwoods are fresh and clean, it’s important to keep it that way with these simple ideas.

Protect high-traffic zones with area rugs.

Walking across an area several times a day eventually wears down a wood floor’s finish. Area rugs are the easiest way to reduce the wear. But make sure they don’t have a backing. Vinyl or rubber backing traps humidity, which can ruin your floor’s finish and stain or damage the wood.

Invest in furniture pads.

Even if you don’t rearrange your furniture around a lot, constant use will cause the legs of your furniture to scratch the wood floor. Put furniture pads on all the legs of your furniture to keep your wood floors looking new. Also, adding pads makes moving your furniture much easier.

To learn more about how to protect your hardwood floors, check out our other blog here.

Your hardwood floor is a long-term investment that, with the right amount of care, will last for years. So, with cleaning, like all good things, a little here and there goes a long way.

*DISCLAIMER: We highly recommend that you consult with your specific flooring manufacturers’ instructions for care guidelines in order to not void any product warranties. For additional information, visit our Help Desk or contact our customer support team today via email or by phone at 856.644.5700  

At Avalon Flooring, we want to make sure you’re happy from your first step in our showroom to your first step on your new flooring—and as your partner in home design, we’ll be there every step along the way. Consider us your “One-Stop Shopping” destination for all things flooring…(and window treatments)!

Our design consultants are equipped with the knowledge to guide you through the wide selection of products we offer, and our expert installation team is professionally trained to make sure everything gets installed the way you envision. We know your home is an expression of your sense of style, and we’re here to make sure you’ll be proud of it for years to come.

If you have any questions, please email us.