wood floor maintenance (photo by https://www.flickr.com/photos/plutor/)

Wood floors are beautiful and durable, but as a natural material, they can be damaged easily. Too much moisture, shoe debris, and pets can make your floors look rough. But with proper care and maintenance, you can keep your floors looking great for decades to come. Follow these tips to make sure you’re giving your wood floors the TLC they deserve.

  • Sweep regularly: Avoid letting dust and dirt build up, sweeping with a broom regularly or using your vacuum to pick up dirt. It’s important to get debris off of your floor as buildup and small, sharp items like sand and dirt can scratch the wood’s surface. Be careful not to use a vacuum with beater bars or hard heads, as these can damage your floor.
  • Clean with a damp mop: Using a damp mop that is well squeezed along with a floor cleaner designed for wood floors, clean your floor occasionally to pick up stuck on messes. Be careful about the amount of moisture you use; wet mopping is not recommended for wood floors as it can dull the finish and damage the wood. Be sure to thoroughly dry your floor after cleaning.
  • Avoid using cleaners that can harm wood floors: Bleach, oil soaps, vinegar, abrasive products and other cleaners should be avoided on your wood floors. Never use steel wool or scouring pads. Only use cleaners that are specifically formulated for wood flooring.
  • Always wipe up spills: Moisture is the enemy of wood floors, so any spills on the floor should be mopped up immediately. This will help you to avoid warping.
  • Carefully remove tough spots: If you have gum, candle wax, or other tough spots on your wood floor, be careful when removing them. First, use ice to harden them, and then gently use a credit card to scrape it off. Be patient and take care not to scratch the surface.
  • Use a humidifier when it’s dry: Although too much moisture can damage your wood floors, too little moisture can be a problem as well. During the winter months, turn on a humidifier so that you can cut down on any gaps or cracks that may occur as the floor contracts. The relative humidity in your home should be between 35% and 55%.
  • Avoid direct sunlight: Install blinds or shades on your windows to keep direct sunlight from hitting your floors. You may also consider installing UV filters on your windows.
  • Rearrange furniture and rugs: With exposure to sunlight, your flooring with naturally change color over time. It’s a good idea to periodically move furniture and rugs to new spots to allow your flooring to fade evenly.
  • Avoid spiky heeled shoes: Stilettos, cleats, and other shoes with spiky heels can leave indents and scratches on your floors, so remove them before walking on wood floor. It’s best to avoid wearing any shoes on wood floors, as all shoes have the potential to drag sharp objects on the floor.
  • Keep your pets’ nails trimmed: Long and rough nails on your dogs and even cats can leave scratches and marks on your wood floor. Protect them by regularly trimming the nails of any household animals.
  • Place pads under furniture contacts: Use floor protectors under furniture legs to avoid indentations and scratches during moves.
  • Place a mat at your door: Stop dirt and moisture from coming in to your home by placing a mat at every entrance door. It’s a good idea to put a mat both outside and inside the door to have two opportunities to catch dirt before it’s tracked in. During the winter months, place a boot removal area near the door where wet boots can be placed—instead of directly on your floor.
  • Place mats in high traffic areas: Hallways and other high traffic areas can wear out more quickly than the rest of the floor. Use area rugs with slip resistant backing to protect these parts of your floor. Rugs should be a breathable material to avoid trapping moisture.
  • Always place a mat at the kitchen sink: With the likelihood of splashes and wetness, it’s a good idea to put down a mat at your kitchen sink if you have wood floors in that room. It’s also smart to place mats at stoves, vanities, and under pet bowls.
  • Pick up furniture to move it: Instead of sliding furniture on wood flooring, pick it up to prevent scratches. Or, use moving pads underneath the furniture to protect the floor.
  • Revive floors: Most properly maintained floors should be waxed and buffed once or twice per year. Use a wax that is designed for wood floors, but avoid using was on a floor with a glossy or urethane finish. If the floor becomes dull with wax, try skipping the wax and simply buffing. It’s also a good idea to avoid over waxing under furniture and low traffic areas: simply apply wax half as often in these spots as you do in other high traffic areas.
  • Screen and recoat or finish: If your floor begins to look rough, it may be time to screen and recoat with fresh coats of urethane. Extensive damage may require sanding and refinishing.
  • Silence squeaky floors: After cycles of shrinking and swelling, your wood floors may squeak. You can fix them with powdered graphite, powdered soap, or talcum powder between the boards that are rubbing together.
Edison, NJ 08837
1090 King Georges Post Rd.