Caring for Hardwood Floors | Best Pick Reports

Sweeping and vacuuming. Over time, dirt can damage hardwood floors, so experts recommend sweeping and vacuuming regularly. Always use vacuums with a soft brush attachment, as this will minimize scratching.

Preventing water damage. Because water can damage hardwood floors, it is essential to clean up spills immediately. This will prevent discoloration of the wood and keep floors from warping. If warping does occur, consider waiting a few months before doing repair work because, once the moisture content has returned to normal, wood floors will sometimes return to their pre-warped condition.

Cleaning. When cleaning hardwood floors, use a dry or slightly damp mop. If floors have a penetrating seal or wax finish, mops should be completely dry. Make sure to use cleaning products specifically designed for wood floors and finishes. If uncertain of the best choice, ask the manufacturer to recommend specific cleaning products based on the type of floor and finish.

Protection. Small rocks, dirt, or mud can be tracked inside from the bottom of shoes, bringing in items that can potentially scratch hardwood floors. Doormats at each entrance can lessen this possibility. Removing shoes before coming inside is an even better alternative. Shoes with small-tipped heels should never be worn inside, because they can create small dents on the surface of hardwood floors. Furniture can also scratch floors, so it is wise to use felt protectors at the bottom of the legs. To protect high-traffic areas, rugs are a great asset to hardwood floors, and they add unique, decorative style.