Hardwood flooring adds unique and beautiful appeal to your home. Hardwood has been a preferred flooring material for centuries, and in all that time it has not gone out of style. This timeless and classic flooring material creates a rich backdrop that can enhance any space in your home. It also can increase your home’s value — but only if the wood flooring is properly cared for. Regardless of the species or color of wood in your home, it’s important to properly maintain and care for your hardwood flooring to bring out its natural sheen and ensure its longevity.

With routine maintenance, hardwood flooring can last a lifetime. In this guide, Modernize covers the basics of routine hardwood floor maintenance. We also provide insight into deeper cleaning methods depending on the condition of the hardwood flooring in your home. With just a little work and the right cleaning supplies, you can keep your hardwood floors looking beautiful and avoid unsightly scuffs, scratches, and waxy buildup that can detract from the wood’s natural appeal.

Table of Contents

Routinely Caring For Your Hardwood Floors

Hardwood flooring is undeniably beautiful, but that charm comes with a price. Hardwood flooring requires a bit more routine care than other common types of flooring. This is partly because dirt, dust, grime and pet hair have nowhere to hide, like they do with carpet and similar flooring types.

Removing Dust

Routine hardwood flooring maintenance starts with daily dust mopping, sweeping or vacuuming with your machine on the bare floor setting. While brooming is a tried and true cleaning method, consider using a dedicated dust mop with a microfiber cleaning pad. The synthetic microfiber strands generate a static charge that attracts dirt and dust to the fibers, so they are more completely removed from the floor.

Sweeping, on the other hand, simply pushes dirt from one spot to another. It can also kick the dust up into the air and spread it around your house. If you do use a broom, make sure it has soft bristles and an angled head to better collect and control dust, debris and human/pet dander. However you decide to tackle the job of dusting your hardwood flooring, it’s important to hone your cleaning technique so you get the most effective results for your efforts.

Mopping

Everyday living can be tough on any type of flooring, especially in wet months when your home’s residents are more prone to tracking in mud, snow, and dirt. Proper hardwood floor maintenance also includes regular mopping, especially in heavily trafficked areas such as entryways, hallways, staircases, living rooms, and main living spaces.

You have several options when it comes to mopping. You can go with a standard bucket and mop setup, but just make sure to wring as much water as possible from the mop head — it should be damp, not wet. Never let standing water pool on your hardwood floor, even if it’s durable engineered hardwood. Over time, excess water could damage your flooring.

Another option is to use a mop with disposable wet pads, or a dry mop with a spray-on floor cleaner. With the latter, only use products specifically designed to clean hardwood floors. Hardwood flooring cleaners have the ingredients to remove dirt and scuff marks without harming or dulling the wood’s finish. Use a modest amount to avoid over-wetting the floor. If your cleaner leaves streaks (which are easy to see in well-lit rooms) you may have to lightly buff the surface with a dry mop, or place an old towel over the mop head after cleaning to ensure you’ve removed all the cleaning product and moisture. Some mops have an internal spray system, but you may have to go behind it with a towel to ensure you don’t leave streaks.

When using hardwood floor cleaners, a good rule of thumb to remember is “less is more.” A tiny bit of cleaner is usually effective, while applying too much product creates buildup over time that can result in a milky or cloudy surface appearance.

Should You Dust Hardwood Floors Every Day?

Depending on where you live, you might not need to dust every day. The key is to avoid letting dust build up, since it can lead to scratches and surface damage on your hardwood flooring. Setting a regular maintenance schedule is one way to help you stick to the task of routine cleaning. This is also the best way to protect your investment in hardwood floors.

Beyond Routine Maintenance

Over time, hardwood floors can become damaged and sometimes cannot regain their luster by simply dusting, sweeping, mopping, and using cleaning products. If your wood floors have become discolored, scratched, or damaged, you may need to take additional actions to reinstate their quality.

Refinishing

Many homeowners decide to refinish hardwood flooring, in order to revitalize their beauty and avoid having to do a complete flooring replacement. Keep in mind before deciding to refinish your wood floors that the process is not typically quick and easy. You must remove all the furniture from the floors, and then sand, stain, and seal the hardwood – which can take several days.

If you do decide to refinish your flooring, you may want to consider a non-toxic sealer or finisher.

Flooring Replacement

You always have the option to do a complete flooring replacement if you believe your flooring is beyond repairing. While a flooring installation will cost you some money, it also completely refreshes your home’s look and boosts your home’s value. Explore what to expect from a flooring installation as well as how to establish a practical budget.

The Bottom Line

To ensure your flooring stays in pristine shape over time, we recommend following these takeaway tips:

  • Dust every day. The best way to maintain hardwood floor’s appearance is to dust every day. Regular maintenance also helps prevent scratches and prolongs the natural luster and sheen of your hardwood flooring. Discover the unmatched cleaning power of microfiber when dusting to improve the process and reduce cleaning time.
  • Wet mop at least once a week. Routine wet mopping with a hardwood-friendly floor cleaner helps remove allergens and irritants that typically accumulate on a home’s floor. Just make sure you use products that work well with your hardwood flooring’s finish.
  • For laminates, routinely dust and mop. For engineered and laminate hardwood, the best maintenance technique is routine dusting and mopping. Don’t use any type of floor polish or wax on laminate hardwood flooring — you’ll just be creating unnecessary product buildup.
  • For real hardwood floors, stick to wood cleaners. Real wood can be a bit more sensitive to cleaning processes and require a bit more care. Stay away from steam cleaners and multi-surface cleaning products and use products that are specifically designed for wood surfaces.

Overall, to best care for hardwood floors, remember that regular cleaning helps preserve your hardwood flooring’s beauty and keeps it looking new. Deeper cleaning measures enhance your daily cleaning efforts and help ensure your hardwood floors remain free from dirt and grime, which can lead to scratches or premature wear on the wood’s finish.

If you believe your home truly needs a flooring renovation, get in touch with a flooring professional to discuss costs and come up with a plan. Modernize can help by connecting you with flooring installers in your area that can work with you to complete the project.