Hardwood floors are beautiful and project an upscale image of your home, but there is some maintenance required if you want to keep them looking good long into the future. How much maintenance your floors will need depends on several factors; the number of people in your home, if you own pets, and how much wear and tear you subject them to in general. Here are some tips on how to clean hardwood floors:
To start, sweep or dust mop your floors regularly. Some people prefer to use a vacuum on the "bare floor" setting. Whatever your choice, removing dirt and grit will prevent scratches and dents in your floor.
On a monthly basis, clean the floor with a hardwood floors cleaner. Always follow the manufacturer's cleaning recommendations on how to clean hardwood floors, or talk to a local flooring specialist. Waxing your floor can give it a nice shine, but can make the floor slick and builds up over time to dull the finish of the floor. So if you wax, you will need to buff the floor once or twice a year to reduce buildup and bring back the shine. Never use wax on a floor with finishes like varnish, shellac, or polyurethane.
Also, do not use water on your hardwood floor. Mopping or steam mopping wood floors also dulls the finish and can damage the wood. This is also important to remember if you have hardwood in your kitchen; place a rug near the sink to absorb spills and splashes.
When cleaning no longer does the tick to restore your floor's shine, recoat it with a surface finish.
You can extend the life of your hardwood floors by placing throw rugs in door ways to prevent tracking in dirt and debris that can scratch the floor. High traffic areas can also benefit from the placement of throw rugs. Furniture has also been known to scratch floors so use stick-on felt protectors under the legs of furniture.
And finally, weather can be hard on a wood floor. Use a humidifier during the winter, especially if you use wood heat, to help prevent the wood from shrinking and developing cracks between the boards.